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Linn's report of APS meeting in Portland  
 

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Posted 08/14/2016   06:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
The 8/22 issue of Linn's had a summary of the APS board meeting.

The more interesting comments parts to me where.

1. The concern that the number of show dealers is falling. This leads to who is going to help fund the shows. Maybe they need to raise exhibiting fees (my opinion since they consume a lot of floor space)

2. Education report - Scott had mentioned new plans to be revealed but Linn's did not report anything significant (brochure, already in process seminars, Master Philatelist program)

3. Executive Director's report - For fundraising Scott English was reported as saying: "I need help". The APS president had this that more fund raising was expected by the ED. I assume in part to cover part of the additional salary.

4. Recruiting - It seems most efforts are going after people who are not members but either attended the show or in clubs that are APS affiliates(?).

5. Special premium section in stampstore. I have visited the stampstore but not sure what extra is needed.

There was nothing reported on my concerns (Internet outreach, social media, web site).

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Al
Edited by angore - 08/14/2016 06:31 am

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Posted 08/14/2016   09:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Since I'm the membership chair I can speak to member recruiting. You're correct that at least the membership committee is focusing on ways to reach out to stamp club members who are not APS members. APS historically reaches out to people who attend APS shows and weren't previously known to APS. Part of the theory here is that someone who is already a collector is more receptive to APS membership than a brand-new collector.

We know that there are plenty of people out there buying stamps on eBay who aren't part of organized philately (clubs, shows, publications) but they are difficult to reach; prior efforts have had very low return on effort.

We're always open to new ideas.
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Posted 08/14/2016   4:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Al E. Gator to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
paper history--Can you expand on the theory of why it is felt those who already collect are more receptive to membership than brand-new collectors?
Thanks!
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Posted 08/14/2016   4:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mbloom0947 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
APS ran a pilot program called eBay Pathway to APS Membership (EPAM) in which we auctioned stamps owned by APS and included a targeted sales piece with each auction lot sold, based on the lot purchased. As Matt indicated, the amount of overhead exceeded the value of the few new memberships. I would love to hear more ideas on how APS can turn eBay buyers and sellers into prospects and new members.
Michael Bloom
APS Diector-at-Large
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Posted 08/14/2016   6:44 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The following are a few thoughts off the top of my head….

APS needs a more compelling, enticing, and proactive online presence. To make this happen, they need to re-evaluate the ‘web team' and outscoring the IT tasks. Internal IT resources must either be developed, hired, or donated.

The existing APS website has many things in great need to improvement. The biggest issue is that it is site is woeful when viewed on a smart device. It is likely that few APS staff folks even know what a ‘reactive' or 'responsive' website is and why it is important to have one. Current market research shows that 58% of American adults own a smart phone and almost 60% of all website traffic is from mobile devices. (Interestingly, there are now more mobile devices on earth then there are humans.) Much of social media is now done on mobile devices. 70% of online shoppers now use mobile devices. Responsive sites get prefer ranking for SEO purposes. A primary, responsive web site must be developed and implemented as the ‘front door' to the organization. It should be slick, modern, and eye catching.

The APS Store has a horrid opening page. The opening page should not be a complex search page that forces users to supply large amounts of info before seeing items for sale. If a user simply wants to spend a few dollars, they should be presented with a nice display of offerings. Check-out should be real-time, one step, and automated. Buyers should be able to view multiple images of what they are buying.

The APRL should automate the process of accessing and purchasing digital resources online. Users should be able to search, order, and receive the digital content in real-time and without human intervention.

The APS site needs to be multi-language; this is the world wide web. If they do not have the expertise to code it to support the most popular languages, then take a few 20 minutes and add a free Google translation control to the code. Show that you care about non-English speaking users.

The amount and quality of free content needs to be enhanced and improved. The objective is to attract users to the site and then keep them browsing the site for as long as possible. You don't send them off to You Tube as the APS site currently does now. (Once a person goes to You Tube, they stay and watch other videos, they rarely come back.) It is easy to embed You Tube videos so that users can view the videos but stay on the APS site (takes a few minutes).

If APS worked to become ‘the go-to' website for hobbyists than they would be in a great position to poll, get feedback, and understand what the online hobbyists value. First, the web statistics for the site should be tracked and analyzed. What is the top referring site? (Where are visitors coming from? What can be done to improve how visitors reach the site? Other SEO tasks and metrics.) What pages are not being accessed and can be considered dead wood? Second, develop some online surveys. You don't need a third party service for this, you already have everything you need with your current hosting service. It is simply a question of building a database, developing a few interactive web pages, and you are gathering data. (Would take about an hour to develop this.)

The APS web site should be the hub of the wheel moving forward moving into the next decade. How this can be done without any internal IT resources is beyond me. APS needs an internal web team, not a third party outsourced company who hangs a price tag on every modification, update, or improvement to the site that is desired. Ideally the web team would include a few high-level paid staffers and flushed out with APS members volunteers. The upper level paid staffers have to be champions of the strategic vision, the volunteers should be knocking down the tactical tasks.

Obviously a full plan should be developed stating desired objectives with milestones and metrics to verify progress. But ultimately APS has to understand that they cannot compete with the rest of the internet. The days of restricting access to info for pay (or requiring membership) have been turned upside down. The key in this day and age is to entice users to the web site and then offering additional value-added features. But you need to get them to the site and hold them there for longer than 30 seconds. The abysmal metrics that the APS site currently has (with the average user stay at <1 minute) is a combination of mobile users not being able to read and display the current design and other users not finding much free value.
Don
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Posted 08/14/2016   6:57 pm  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great thoughts Don. Lets hope the powers that be are reading this!

Peter
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Posted 08/14/2016   7:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
To respond to the earlier question about "the theory of why it is felt those who already collect are more receptive to membership than brand-new collectors?"....at least my view is that turning someone into a collector is a distinct job. A brand-new collector may not understand or need some APS benefits (expertizing, insurance, library), but more to the point it's harder to explain to a brand-new collector (who is more likely to want to spend their money on stamps) why they should spend $45 on APS dues. Historically, new collectors also have higher membership attrition rates.

Note that this doesn't mean we don't want to reach out to new collectors; it's just a matter of focus and emphasis when we have limited resources.
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Posted 08/14/2016   10:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Al E. Gator to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
paperhistory---"....turning someone into a collector is a distinct job." In my view, if you want to get a new collector to "catch fire" with collecting, you have to present them with what their most immediate and basic need is. Expertizing, insurance, circuit books, the library, are needs that would come much later--when they are a more seasoned collector. No one starts out as a philatelist--we are first collectors. You need to present them with a very good learning experience. I've been an APS member for a fairly long time, am also a member of the USSS, the USPCS, and a member of a stamp club. I also have 3-4 message/chat boards I read daily. Calling it as I see it, the APS has been the least effective in my learning process over the past years. Three of the on-line resources, this one in particular, over the past few years has been a very good source for me to enhance my knowledge.

Don has presented you with a very good accounting of the need for the APS to have a much stronger on-line position. Its imperative for the future of the APS that a stronger presence is needed. Is it not possible for the APS to have an on-line "Stamp University"? From beginner 101 to Master Philatelist number-whatever. Beginning collectors can quickly become overwhelmed by all the nuances involved in stamp collecting and need as much of information/knowledge as they can get as soon as they can get it from the least amount of resources. I don't really think the $45 dues would be an issue if they can see that there is access to the kinds of benefits they need now, not later when they become more "seasoned". Do you do exit surveys from those members who drop out, both longer term and newer members to get their reasons for leaving? If you don't you should consider doing so.

I also get Linn's, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector, The American Philatelist, The United States Specialist, The Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issue and more recently, Kelleher's Collectors Connection. For me, Linn's and the American Philatelist offer the least amount of knowledge to be gained on stamps and related subject matter. Its nice to get news about what's happening in the APS and in the world of collecting, but knowledge gained about those fields of collecting I'm interested in is far more important to me.

I know the APS has their summer seminars and traveling seminars, and I'm sure they are very good for the hobby and productive for those who can and do attend. There's little chance I'll ever be able to do so. I don't live where I can easily get either to Bellefonte or to those cities where APS shows are held. So, again, I think on-line is what would work best for many members.

I recognize that there is a cost burden associated with any/all methods of improvements that may be undertaken and that funding must be found.

Thanks for listening to an old mans prattle. I do wish for the APS to be stronger and more successful in the coming years.
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Posted 08/14/2016   11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 91stang to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ha! Just read the many posts--you wanna get more members? Have more summer classes anywhere but, state college, lived there, Bellefonte(pronounced 'Bell-font') lived there also. I worked at Cerro Metals across the street from the new HQ. If I just started out in stamps why would I want to also become a Library member/supporter? I just got my first pair of tongs, come on..Has anyone thought of as those stamp collectors walk through the door at the big stamp shows to give them 3 months free APS? Send them the Mag, email the heck out of them etc? Ok, For ??? $10.00 maybe? Excellent dea! On line classes--wow--there's a concept--Its 2016 right?? Nothing ventured is nothing gained, right? Or do we have to ask the board and they have to vote and they and then....many good ideas listed here and above--good luck
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Posted 08/14/2016   11:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 91stang to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just read 51studebaker's post again--That's the person/ideas we need as APS President right there--heck he summed up the outdated aps store page, what a drag you want my life story to buy a $3.00 stamp that I like because it has a 'ship' on it---13 points to you sir, and I agree--quit spending money on outsourced IT-alledged-help..outdated--old--redundant...APS you all reading this great stuff here or what???
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Posted 08/15/2016   08:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Al E. Gator - yes, a small survey of recently dropped members was just undertaken, and a full-scale member/non-member survey is getting started (and should be done and reported on at the Reno APS show).

Education is a significant area and one of the major points in the 2016 strategic plan. Expanded online education courses in various formats (in addition to in-person educational programming) is in the plan, as is building out a "master philatelist" program. These things don't happen overnight but it's being worked on.
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Posted 08/15/2016   11:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For younger members, I do not think the $45 is a deal breaker.

It is more about perceived need. Have you seen the prices for entertainment these days and realize they live using their smart phone so if not engaged there you cannot expect that much interest.
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Al
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Posted 08/15/2016   9:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 91stang to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
education is being worked on??--ok. Ever watch the morning brief on Linns? Theres a platform for 'master philatelist'--I'd like to enroll--
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Posted 08/15/2016   10:30 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The APS site needs to be multi-language; this is the world wide web. If they do not have the expertise to code it to support the most popular languages, then take a few 20 minutes and add a free Google translation control to the code. Show that you care about non-English speaking users.


There is no substitute for a real person to do translating - any of these software translators tend to produce some gibberish.
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Posted 08/15/2016   10:34 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
70% of online shoppers now use mobile devices.


I just got a "sales report" from paypal (which I use for eBay sales) and it reported that only 10% of my sales were mobile sales. Admittedly I did not sell a lot of stuff in June, but I really wonder how significant mobile is in stamp sales.
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Posted 08/16/2016   01:13 am  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

I just got a "sales report" from paypal (which I use for eBay sales) and it reported that only 10% of my sales were mobile sales. Admittedly I did not sell a lot of stuff in June, but I really wonder how significant mobile is in stamp sales.

I've placed bids on my phone before, but I pretty much always check out the listing on my laptop before bidding. Unless it's some relatively cheap, common stamp, I want to get a better look at it on a larger screen than my phone.
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