One of the lowest hanging marketing fruits for Switchboards is email communication. The message can be simple/complex, weekly/monthly, etc., and the message can be delivered to the vast majority of your community in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Email communications yield the largest and most consistent adoption across Switchboards, and below are a few examples of successful emails for different stages of a Switchboard's life.
INTRODUCING SWITCHBOARD IN A SOFT LAUNCH
Initial communication about your Switchboard can vary. About 3 months after starting their Switchboard, University of Portland developed a simple email that clearly articulates what Switchboard is, how it works and what has worked thus far, and how to sign up. After this email went out, ~300 people signed up, 45 new posts were added, and 236 connections occurred in one month.
Introducing Switchboard in a hard launch
With a hard launch you're announcing Switchboard to everyone in your community. After months of slowly building momentum, Santa Clara University was ready to tell their entire community about Switchboard, and their email made a huge splash. By clearly explaining the purpose and value of Switchboard, providing a succinct, direct message to sign up and participate, and including helpful links and engaging video (originally produced by us at Switchboard), they adopted over 400 people, 60 new connections, and 32 new asks/offers in just 1 week.
LAUNCHING UNIQUE CAMPAIGNS
Another way to adopt new users is through an email like the one below from Willamette University. This email was sent as the start to a 3 week campaign celebrating the Thanksgiving season and using their Switchboard as a means to do so. After sending this email, the Willamette Switchboard saw ~200 new users sign up, 57 new posts, and 54 connections in the 3 weeks they ran the campaign.
Upon celebrating their Switchboard's one year anniversary, Oberlin decided to engage their entire community through a unique activity. Through clear, directive language, Oberlin's community stepped up and adopted 64 new users, had 60 new posts, and over 230 connections while directly helping soon-to-be alumni.
With Spring Break approaching and the end of the academic year not far behind, University of Portland (UP) created a Spring Break campaign calling on alumni to post offers that could help students with their Spring Break plans. In less than a month after sending out this email, UP adopted over 100 users, had over 60 high-value posts, and over 140 connections! Just in time for Spring Break, and, best of all, the majority of new posts came from members that had not posted before, thereby strengthening the UP network and Switchboard.
Denison University wanted to leverage the spirit and enthusiasm around graduation to bolster their Switchboard, so they created this email and sent it just before graduation to their entire alumni community. Before they sent this email, they also took some time to promote their Switchboard to their graduating class, and the combination of these two actions led to some significant adoption and engagement. In just one week, Denison added over 400 new members (a 64% increase), saw over 40 new high-value posts, and over 100 new connections, all of which added significant momentum heading into the summer break.
Santa Clara University wanted to celebrate their Switchboard's one year anniversary with a message that was slightly tailored to alumni who weren't on the Switchboard yet, alumni on the Switchboard, and staff/faculty that weren't on the Switchboard yet. They created a compelling infographic that anchored their message and sent the messages sequentially at the beginning of the academic year, and in just 2 weeks they adopted 520+ new users, inspired 100+ new connections, and 67 new posts.