Lately I have been seeing a lot of old faces coming around Ebpm and it is always really cool to catch up with them and see what is new in their life. I have formed many friendships through the site and the thousands of conversations I have participated in through the forums and chat room make up quite a large part of my life. However, I have come to the realization that a large percentage of the people who participate daily on the site and whom I have regular communication with are all very old-school members. Usually having been around for 6 or 7+ years.
Sure, people have always come and gone, and there are always going to be quite a share of “lurkers” about. But, I feel that I am missing something. The ability to connect with the people who visit your site is vital in my opinion. When people feel a good connection is made, they are more likely to maintain it, and you get lots of valuable feedback. It makes the whole experience of running a website a lot more fun when it becomes a collaboration between yourself and the members and models. If you take out the community interaction, it just becomes a one way content delivery system. Television is a one way content delivery system and we all know how old and busted TV is.
Years ago, I would have a huge pile of email every day. I got fan mail, hate mail, and of course a lot of customer support requests. Most emails resulted in an actual usually pleasant conversation. Even when people were canceling a membership. I would chat a bit with them to find out what they liked and didn’t like and find out what might make them stay longer. Sometimes it was something as simple as “X model is my favorite. If you get a new set of her let me know and I will sign up again.” I would make a note of it and be sure to let them know when that happened. Sure, the whole process was time consuming, but as far as I was concerned, it worked well.
But now, Things seem different. People almost never respond to my emails. For example. Password issues are common. Often it is a simple problem such as they are using the wrong password, forget about case sensitivity, etc.. Sometimes there is a glitch where maybe their new account doesn’t get recorded. They email me, I fix it, and respond nicely and ask to let me know if everything is working ok.
In the last 6 months, the only people who have responded to that email are the ones to tell me if they are still having trouble. In previous years. I would usually at least get a quick thank you email, especially since I tend to respond to support requests very quickly.
So what has changed?
Is it that people communicate differently now? Might they consider that real communication takes place on facebook and twitter and email is just for spam?
Are people more cautious of who they speak to now?
Do they feel that I am not “real”? Perhaps people do not expect actual communication because they might not experience it on other sites.
How can I better directly connect with the tens of thousands of people who visit Ebpm every month?
I am going to put together an experiment and try to reach out to a bunch of past and present users. Both those who have paid and who have not. My goal is 1000 to get a good sampling and then see how many I successfully communicate with.
I will report back on this. And since I am quite a geek, expect lots of graphs and charts and such.