Making things simple for audiences

Communicators are usually interested in motivating audiences to do something. We want people to buy our products, use our services, read our copy, and believe our claims.

To motivate audiences, communicators often work hard to make the proposed action as simple as possible. We construct messages and processes that make it easy to buy our products or sign up for our services. The more work we make our audiences do, the less likely they are to take the action we’re after.

That’s probably why I’m now a non-financial member of an international professional association.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the professional association, letting me know that my membership would soon expire. Fine, I thought. I’ll deal with that when the time comes. And I promptly forgot about it.

Recently, I had an email saying that I was no longer a financial member, as my membership had expired. Not to worry, the email pointed out, I could always renew my membership by going to their website, logging onto the members’ only section, and going to the membership renewal page.

Now, either I missed the message that included my membership invoice, or they never sent one. I’m now in a position where I have to take several steps (including finding my password!) to access my renewal information and pay my membership fee.

It’s probably important that I’m a member of this association. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t bother to renew. They mustn’t want my membership very badly if they expect me to go to so much trouble to re-join. Why not send me an invoice – one that I could print out without going to the trouble of finding their URL, finding my login name, remembering my password, and then navigating their website!