Finding similarities in others can help build a sense of belonging; so too can being in a similar situation – knowing we’re not going through something alone.
In fact, according to Beyond Blue, the idea of belonging to a ‘tribe’ or a ‘people’ has helped us to protect and define ourselves throughout history; and the lack of a sense of belonging can cause us to feel anxious, and isolated.
With human connection more challenging than usual, it’s increasingly our neighbours who are becoming our ‘tribe’ – the homes we’re passing, the faces we’re seeing and the dogs we’re patting.
Whether it’s finding local business recommendations, helping to keep each other safe, planning a local event, or just making new friends, Nextdoor has become the hyper-local neighbourhood networking ‘hub’ for more than 260,000 neighbourhoods across 11 countries.
When it came to launching the app here in Australia, Nextdoor turned to the intimacy of physical mail to drive online conversions and organic growth. An ‘invitation’ model enabled members to invite their neighbours to join Nextdoor, without them needing to already know each other.
This approach worked well in other countries and has achieved relatively quick penetration and growth here in Australia. “Nextdoor members have embraced invitation letters as an important community building tool” says Jennie Sager, Head of Nextdoor Australia.
More than 95% of Australian households are in an active Nextdoor neighbourhood. Sager suggests “in comparison, it took the US/UK about 3-4 years to get to the level of penetration we’ve seen here in Australia”.
Frank Flynn from Cape Paterson used Nextdoor to help grow his neighbourhood to where most of the full-time residents are now members.
“Pretty soon after the whole Covid 19 thing blew up, someone on Nextdoor suggested we distribute a handwritten flyer to all the neighbours who were self-isolating, offering to help with picking up groceries, or deliver a precooked meal, or just have someone to talk to” says Frank – further demonstrating the effectiveness of the letterbox to build connections.
Balgowlah Heights member Gemma Richardson used the Nextdoor App to introduce her and her family to their new neighbourhood “the day we moved in, I received an invite from a neighbour in the mail asking us to join, so I did!” she says.
The effectiveness of direct mail here in Australia is unsurprising given the results of a research report Australia Post commissioned Accenture to produce. The report explores mail's role in a digital age and shows how direct mail can grab attention and enable positive customer engagement.