How to get your neighborhood online

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s relatively easy to setup a website for a small local community like a neighborhood. Neighborhood websites can provide incredible value for a community by increasing the convenience and frequency of communication. The problem though, is that neighborhood websites are seldom visited.

Even so, thousands of neighborhoods have setup websites to make it easier for them to communicate by posting news, events, and classifieds, essentially replacing their expensive paper newsletters. The value of a neighborhood website is clear, but only if neighbors are using it, which is why neighborhoods continue to build websites, some costing thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, they have no plan in place as to how to get the neighbors to use it.

Many of our potential customers have come to us with this story. “We built a great website, posted a lot of interesting articles, and even told people to go visit it in our paper newsletter, but no one visits the darn thing”. (This is not an exact quote 😉 )

If you’re in this boat, don’t worry, so is everyone else.

So how do you get your neighborhood online? You’ve tried to send out mailings, postcards, newsletters and even asked your block captains to get on the phone. Nothing seems to be working.

The first thing that you have to do is to put a velvet rope around the website. You know, like the ones you see at exclusive clubs. In other words, you are not allowed in unless you’re a part of the club (neighborhood). I know what you’re thinking, “no one is visiting my site and you want me to make it harder to get access?”

Absolutely. When it was publicly accessible it wasn’t special. Consider how you feel when you drive home into your neighborhood – there’s a sense of belonging…a sense of place. That same feeling has to be created online if you want people to participate.

The second thing is to track who registers and who doesn’t. When you do this, you’ll be able to measure your success, and more importantly, you can send out reminders to those people who haven’t registered.

All this sounds great, but it’s difficult for a neighborhood to create a private website that only allows residents in and no one else. It’s even more difficult to track who’s online and who’s not.

Thankfully, eNeighbors has created a unique PIN registration process by which we will register the majority of your neighborhood online. Without this process, it’s unlikely that you’re website will be visited.

It’s really simply actually, and we do all the technical stuff as illustrated in the picture below.

Step 1: Once you sign up with eNeighbors, the first step is to gather your resident information. eNeighbors requires the street address and last name of every resident in your neighborhood.

Step 2: When eNeighbors has your resident information, we can create your site. This process can be completed in less than an hour. Upon setup, the board members will then start to populate the site with its initial content.

Step 3: When the board members are ready for residents to start joining, unique PIN numbers and a welcome letter will be mailed to each neighbor.

Step 4: Using their PIN numbers, residents can now join the site and begin contributing content and socializing with their neighbors.

This process will typically register between 20-30% of your neighborhood with each mailing. By the end of three mailings we expect that 60% of your neighborhood will be online. Overtime, the site will grow virally in your neighborhood. Some of our best performing sites have reached 80% adoption rates.

For more information on eNeighbors, I would invite you to visit our Overview page.

One thought on “How to get your neighborhood online

  1. Pingback: eNeighbors to offer systematic mailings « Blog

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