How to Experiment with New Ideas Using a Trial Program, Part III

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In the first part of this series, you explored the benefits of using experimentation to discover new solutions for old problems. In the second part of this series, you learned some best practices around rolling out a trial program and soliciting feedback. In this third and final part of the series, you find out about taking action and turning your trial into a full-out launch.

Making a case for a full-out launch

If your trial isn’t successful, you can still gain value from the experience. In fact, you may walk away with some useful lessons about member behavior. Also, you have worked on promoting problem-solving in a way that was different than the status quo.

Alternatively, if your experiment was successful, it’s time to report your success and get the approval to roll-out your idea, product or solution to the entire membership. Include the following when preparing your case:

  • Goals you met according to the metrics you chose. 
  • Milestones you were able to reach and how.
  • Participant feedback and testimonials.
  • Comparisons to the norms. For example, the typical newsletter open rate vs. trial open rate.
  • Outcomes and predictions. For instance, being able to tell clients to expect a continued increase in open and click rates with the collection of more behavioral data.

The success of your trial program will be even more impressive when you can tie it to organizational goals, opportunities and revenue. For example, rasa.io provides opportunities to generate revenue from advertising and sponsored content.

Tweaking the program

During a trial, you will discover many new things about user behavior. Most importantly, you will learn whether or not your program provides enough value for members to continue using it. Also, you will find out how to improve the program. For example, in the case of rasa.io trials, we can decide to tweak several features according to user behavior, including:

  • News brief content sources
  • Terms to include or not in AI searches for content
  • Featured content from the association
  • Time spent
  • Template style
  • Subject lines
  • Footer information

You should address any issues and make the final changes before launching the program. If you’re working with a partner, be sure you know who’s responsible for what. In the case of rasa.io, we do the heavy-lifting, so implementation takes hardly any time for the association. Also, if the trial went as well as you expected, all we have to do is add new names to your distribution list.

Preparing for the launch

Remember, trial or pilot participants are your program champions when it’s time to turn your experiment into a reality. So keep them informed and engaged and they can help you get members excited about this new benefit. They might even put in a word with decision-makers if you’re having trouble getting approval for the program.

Be sure to thank participants publicly for their time and insight. Show your gratitude by referring to them as advisors or a similar title in all your program marketing materials. When rolling out the program to membership, follow the same onboarding practices you used for the trial group. Be sure to bolster your communication with testimonials from trial participants.

It’s important to share the story of how you wanted to solve old problems with innovative, new solutions. Your members will appreciate the value that the new insights, practices, or technology will add to their membership.

A retrospective on the process

Before you move on to the next project on your list, take time to do a project retrospective. Document how you went through the process and note areas of success and areas that need improvement. You can use this experience as a template for future pilots and projects as well as a case for continuing to promote innovation in your association.

Trial or pilot programs let you experiment on a small scale to discover solutions for big problems. One of the biggest problems all associations share is finding a way to bridge the member engagement gap. The engagement gap is the span of time between a member’s infrequent interactions with your association. Our association partners are using rasa.io on both a trial and permanent basis to help them deliver regular value to members and to ultimately solve the engagement gap challenge.

Experimentation with rasa.io

By harnessing artificial intelligence to find and deliver personalized content to every single member in a daily or weekly newsbrief, rasa.io bridges the engagement gap. Members eagerly anticipate these emails because they’re crafted just for them. Over time, as a member interacts with the news brief, rasa.io’s AI engine learns more about their interests, behaviors and personality, helping their content continue to intelligently evolve.

If your association has an “unsolvable” big problem, consider running a trial program to experiment with a new solution, technology, process or program. Taking a small calculated risk like a trial program will help build a culture of experimentation while revealing new ways for your members to build an association habit. Are you interested in experimenting with new ways to engage your members? Learn about how rasa.io can help.

This blog is the final in a three-part series on experimentation. Read the first part of this series on the benefits of experimentation and the second part of this series about rolling out a trial program.

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