I’m not a fan of romance novels, but I’ve read enough to know the formula. Girl secretly loves the object of her affection from afar and is surprised one day to find out the love is reciprocated. The couple has a joyous few days/weeks, but then there is a misunderstanding, which is no one’s fault but, divides the couple. Many pages go by as misunderstanding compounds misunderstanding, and tearful/angry conversations are had with sympathetic friends. Just as it seems as if there is no hope of redemption, the dispute resolves the reunited couple marches off toward the sunset to live happily ever after. Happily ever after.
The happily-ever-after storyline is so ingrained in our society that we sometimes secretly believe that our happily-ever-after is at the end of this next project. Everything will be SO much better after we do this next big thing. After we implement, this new technology members will come flooding in. When we complete this project, the membership will send roses and accolades. Or the moment we launch this new product, members will wonder where we have been all their lives, renewals will skyrocket, and generous revenue will follow.
But this rarely happens. Interest in our newest endeavor may be small, and participation may be minimal. There may be confusion and user errors which may result in negative feedback.
The tepid reaction is always disappointing and demoralizing. Sometimes your credibility is on the line because you’ve been selling your idea and you were pretty sure it would work. Not to mention the sheer amount of work; you poured your heart and soul and blood, and sweat and tears into this project, and members don’t seem to notice. What a bummer!
While we are hoping for the fireworks and mobs and members handing us fistfuls of money, here is what may be happening.
- Members haven’t noticed yet. They’ve not had the chance to hear about or experience your new thing.
- Members don’t understand or are fearful of interacting with your project.
- Or your project is not quite good enough yet. The messaging or product is not quite right, it doesn’t solve the problem the way members need it to, or there’s an issue that makes it hard to use.
Lulled by the happily ever after myth, we may not realize that we have done only half the work.
So what do you do? Don’t get discouraged. In associations, member interest and usage almost always starts slow and grows. Do not compare your most beloved benefit to the newest experiments. And stay curious. Find the few cutting edge members that did interact with your project and find out what they liked about it. What was their outcome? What was difficult about the experience?
If a few members start to find remarkable value, keep at it. Likely your project will attract interest over time.