Membership Space Blog: Insights for Effective Management

Posted on August 17, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Many associations have struggled this year since events have been cancelled due to the lockdown measures.  While some associations have simply given up, others are working nonstop to gain interest from new and current members.  They also hope to elevate earnings by crafting innovative webinars designed to replace face-to-face interactions to which members have grown accustomed.  Though many people question whether or not webinars are the answer.  How can associations use them to recover from the devastation that has been brought on by the recent pandemic?

With the help of membership management software, associations from all over are turning their clubs into educational centers.  By creating webinars that are rich in content, these association have recorded a significant increase in activity among members.

Other associations can achieve similar results once they realize that people join with the expectation of gaining experience to apply to their careers.  A great way to advance most careers is to grow by adding some educational achievements.

Associations can also encourage their partners to sponsor some of their webinars.  Not only does this help an association’s partners generate engaging content for members to consume but it also enhances the revenue.  Ultimately, the key is to produce educational or valuable content rather than promotional content.

Before you start attracting new members, you should show appreciation to current members for their loyalty.  Webinars enable an association to do just that, especially if they are used to host periodic meetings that provide an avenue for understanding members on a personal level.  Identify the areas where membership management software has fallen short and use what you have learned to enhance their experience.  Often, the positive news an association generates throughout the process will attract new members.

Even though the quarantine measures of this year have made traditional networking all but impossible, there are still ways to recreate the benefits of face-to-face events by using webinars.  Some associations hold Q&A sessions for this very reason.
While physical interactions are far more effective than online engagement, the right webinars create a meaningful platform for members to network.  If you charge a small fee for these virtual events, your association’s non-dues revenue will increase!
Posted on July 26, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Many organizations have noticed a spike in the volume of emails they manage and this trend gained traction a few months ago.  In March, most places were forced to halt operations in response to the stay-at-home orders that the government issued.  Companies could no longer rely on membership websites to promote engagement which is why they turned to email communication.  Yet, in some cases, their efforts haven’t exactly delivered what they had in mind.
Target Audience

A significant portion of the emails that organizations sent out during the quarantine didn’t make it or disappeared to the spam folder since they were sent to the wrong place.  These are individuals that haven’t received emails from the companies in question for months or years.  This gap in communication has encouraged certain security mechanisms to interpret the email as spam.

In response, individuals have either unsubscribed from membership websites or blocked certain senders altogether.  The solution here isn’t to abandon email communication but organizations must learn to moderate the volume of emails they send.

While some organizations have merely raised the volume of emails being sent, others have increased the frequency by turning monthly or weekly newsletters into daily publications.  This is an indication of desperation that has also resulted in complaints from a few recipients who have redirected these emails to the trash folder.  Any organization that wants to increase the frequency of its emails should make this transition gradually until the recipients grow accustomed to the new schedule.
Email Scams

Organizations are starting to realize that it isn’t helpful to mention COVID in their emails.  The reason why is that coronavirus scams have become so common that certain security mechanisms have started flagging emails that mention COVID.  As a result, organizations are placed in a difficult position as a failure to address the pandemic tends to attract accusations of insensitivity.

There are no obvious solutions to this particular issue since most people have been advised to be very cautious of opening emails that mention COVID.  Ultimately, there are recipients who are choosing to ignore emails that feature virus content so organizations need to keep that in mind when drafting emails.
Posted on June 29, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
In the past, organizations dismissed club websites as a trend that did not deserve additional consideration or resources.  But that changed once they realized that communities had become an essential tool for success, and one that could enhance customer interaction and engagement.  Today, it’s nearly impossible to deny their importance.  Yet, many organizations are still struggling to profit from their club websites since they aren’t sure how to build their communities.

Most challenges start here as several organizations have no idea how to fit a community into their structure.  Some firms place them under the membership department while others have grouped them with marketing.  Aside from that, there are also those that treat communities as a product.

Administrators have been known to argue about this issue since they aren’t able to definitively identify which approach works best.  The position a community occupies within an organization will depend on the goals of the organization.  The same structure can’t be applied to every organization as some companies thrive by pairing their community with the membership strategy while others are better suited to gear it towards marketing.  It’s best to remain flexible where communities are concerned.

In order to keep members of the community engaged, you should try providing a personalized experience.  However, many organizations don’t know how to craft and deploy personalization strategies.  When building a personalized experience for your community, the first step is to collect only the data you need.  Members are sensitive where their data is concerned so ensure them you only request information you absolutely need to provide them with a better experience.

Even though a variety of communities need young audiences to thrive, organizations have no idea how to attract them.  Often, the youth just want to experience growth in their personal and professional lives.  Any community that wants to win their loyalty should encourage their engagement by offering them the connections they need to grow and advance.  Young audiences almost always respond to opportunities that enhance their prospects.
Posted on June 8, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Most interactions between customers and companies usually happen online.  The customer experience is so important if you want to be considered one of the best in your industry.  A disjointed and complicated online platform that frustrates consumers will eventually ruin a firm’s reputation.  One way to streamline the experience your customers encounter online is to direct them towards your community.  When it is backed by the right membership management software, the community can transform the customer experience by playing a number of roles.
Comprehensive Support

First off, realize that your community is capable of supporting any customer through every stage of their journey.  Once a visitor finally makes their first purchase, they could follow the community and be educated on everything you offer.  As their loyalty grows and they learn more about your association, they might use their new knowledge to guide others which is made possible by the community.

Online communities are appealing to many people since they connect customers with others that have the same interests.  Members typically want to talk with an actual person and this is why automated phone systems haven’t gained much traction.

Most customers reach out to companies because they want to talk with someone who relates to them and the community makes it possible.  It allows older clients to resolve the queries that new customers might have and the customer base can submit ideas for products and services.
Ideal Service

With membership management software, you can turn your association into the kind of place that gives customers all the support, engagement, and feedback they could ever want.  The best communities always boost the customer experience by having answers to a variety of questions.

This creates a sense of fellowship that makes newcomers feel welcome while also providing them with the resources they need to enjoy their time on your platform.  Many websites have tools that can perform some of these functions.  But, a community does all of them which is why it should take center stage for customers to have a great experience!
Posted on May 22, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Many membership websites that remain successful attribute it to their young professionals.  But how can you attract these kind of professionals to your association?  Often, the first challenge is to understand what these young professionals want and what matters most to them at the various stages of their careers.  If you know what drives them, you can take steps to create platforms and opportunities that appeal to them.
Target Audience

Before you start deploying strategies that will attract young professionals, you must first identify your target audience.  Most professionals join associations during the earliest stage of their careers, specifically within the first few years of being employed.  These are the people that many organizations tend to target.

However, it is just as important to reach out to students and recent graduates.  It helps when you expand your target audience so think about all the young professionals that you might be able to draw to your association in the future.  Of course, young adults with a few years of work experience are attractive because they are usually more dedicated towards improving the association.

Aside from widening your network, you need to ensure your association has the means to add value to the life of a young professional.  Members are more likely to dedicate their work to an organization if they know it will benefit them in the long run.  Very few membership websites offer the opportunity to gain the kind of experience that appeals to young professionals.

Some memberships don’t understand the needs of their target audience and it shows because they fail to offer an experience that appeals to the taste of young minds.  This is the case, despite the fact that the desires of young professionals aren’t that difficult to recognize.

They want job opportunities and tools that can assist them in their efforts to grow professionally.  In an effort to draw young professionals, keep in mind that these type of members need a reason to believe an association will improve their lives before they join.
Posted on May 11, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Club websites are thriving more than ever since most people are encouraged to isolate themselves with the current pandemic.  As a result, this has created a desire for more engagement in many communities due to an increase in online traffic.  The number of online discussions has grown exponentially.

Associations are realizing that they can use the community to provide an opportunity for connecting and educating individual members.  This is forcing club websites in many industries to reconsider their approach to members.
An Open Door Policy

If your association has yet to embrace this change, you should know that several communities are opening their doors to a wider audience.  Associations that were once quite strict about what was required for a membership are now welcoming outsiders.

The reason for such a shift in regulations is to embrace potential members who need support but don’t have an online community to lean on.  Associations that have taken this step have noticed an increase in the total number of registrations and logins.
Variety Of Conversations

Along with allowing potential members to participate in forum discussions, many associations have also allowed members to deviate from the usual subject matter of their communities.  Whereas attempts to introduce topics outside the range of the forum would have attracted penalties in the past, associations have decided to allow members to discuss matters that directly affect them during this time of crisis.  The goal is to support people in any area that burdens them right now rather than discuss topics that don’t help serve their needs.
Virtual Events

Associations that normally hold regular conferences and meetings have refused to reschedule their events.  Instead, they use technology to their advantage and hold virtual webinars and workshops.  Through this, members maintain a sense of normalcy as they engage with one another.
Contrary to what some people believe, clubs and associations don’t have to deteriorate during a time of crisis.  If anything, they should grow since they provide members with support to help them overcome a time of great uncertainty.
Posted on April 17, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Even though it may not be talked about, the success of an online community is important and it gets analyzed often.  While all communities are different in some way, they still use key performance indicators that work for them but might prove to be inadequate for others.  Fortunately, if you know the key performance indicators for your association, you can use them to measure the success of your community.

An association and its community share a purpose and values.  Therefore, the parameters that are used to measure the success of an association should also be applied to the community.
Association Goals

If you agree that an association and its community share a purpose, any attempt to measure your community’s success should start with a review of the association goals.  They provide a foundation from which the community goals will emerge and membership management software is the key.  Make sure the goals you set are specific, measurable, and attainable.
Community Growth

Once you decide on your community goals and set your key performance indicators, resist the urge to obsess over community growth.  Many people think that growth is the most important measure of success, but immediate growth of the community is far less important than sustained growth.  Rather than basing your measure of success on growth, place an emphasis on the types of customers your membership management software has registered and how interactions are between them.

Try to understand how your members measures success.  There’s no point in setting performance indicators that indicate a high level of success if most members are unhappy with the community.  This is why you should understand the meaning behind their behavior before setting KPI’s.

What do they like and dislike about the community?  How do they define value?  Always compare your measures for success with the opinions and perspectives of your members.  Their insights could go a long way towards transforming the way you perceive success!
Posted on March 30, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Some associations make mistakes with marketing automation and how they setup their membership websites.  Often, this is part of the learning process and mistakes happen along the way, especially in a field as unpredictable and experimental as marketing.  If you identify all the places where you went wrong, you can take steps to push your marketing automation strategy back on the right track.  The following mistakes are just a few of the most common ones that membership websites make.
Failing To Plan

Many people don’t realize that the best marketing campaigns are built on strong strategies.  They expect to succeed by simply gambling their way through the process, driven in many cases by passion and enthusiasm that is considered to be healthy.  It is imperative that you take the time to create and dial in your strategy.
Extending Too Much

Sometimes, those in charge of the membership think it is necessary to start with an extensive campaign.  This means they want to take on in-depth projects that explore a variety of paths because they feel like they’re under pressure to prove themselves.

Rather than losing yourself in the overwhelming workflows and hectic meetings, start with smaller projects.  Send out emails one at a time and make sure there’s an automated follow-up in place.  After that, expand your scope gradually and organically.
Obsessing Over Volume

In many aspects of memberships, quality is often more important than quantity and that holds true for marketing automation.  Some people think it’s best to always be doing as much as possible.  Instead of sending out one newsletter, they insist on following it up with a multitude of emails that cover one or two topics each.

Most of the time, this ends up being a mistake.  A better approach is to send a concise message that informs members about topics that interest them.  Try to evaluate your strategy each year as it usually reduces mistakes and helps everything fall into place.
Posted on March 12, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Many marketing experts think people are predictable over time and they also believe a large percentage of them can be easily understood why they make certain decisions.  That might sound far-fetched to most people, especially to those that think people are simply too indecisive for anyone to predict.  However, if memberships want their club websites to go viral, they might want to change their approach.
Increase Social Capital

If you want your community to go viral, you need to give people a reason to talk about it.  Often, people will spread the word about any community that makes them feel important.  You see this with some organizations that are so exclusive they discourage their members from talking about them.

Yet, such organizations tend to grow because people are quick to brag about the benefits they enjoy as members.  Club websites should consider using the same marketing tactics as people won’t hesitate to share content that brings value to their life or makes them feel special.
Create Triggers

A lot of people only talk about associations to their friends when they are thinking of them.  This is why triggers are important because they keep your association at the forefront of member’s mind.  One example of a trigger is a catchy slogan that reminds an individual of an aspect about your association.  Try to use a trigger that immediately brings your community to the minds of your target audience.
Tell Stories

Most people don’t have the patience for lengthy press releases or detailed newsletters.  If you want to relay an important message regarding the community, tell a story.  Entertain readers with a funny conversation that happened in the community or an incident which took place at a recent event that captured the audience’s attention.  You don’t have to reach a global audience to go viral, just set realistic goals and focus on achieving recognition within your targeted audience.
Posted on February 27, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Most associations realize that getting people’s attention is no longer enough, they must also find ways to engage with them.  Otherwise, search engines might penalize their website but it isn’t just the search engines that associations have to worry about.  A significant portion of members tend to leave associations because they feel like there isn’t enough engagement.

You shouldn’t rely solely on your membership management software to solve this problem.  You need to change the way you approach your members.  In order for your association to excel with engaging members, you must offer a personalized experience and deliver it at the right time.

The first step is to identify what is the right content to deliver and choosing the right place.  Often, the answer is to just talk to your members.  Ask them what their interests are and what changes they would like to see.  However, you can’t rely on this method since many members choose not to participate.

Even if they do, they may not tell you what you need to know.  But, this is a good first step in establishing some communication.  Always utilize your membership management software to help you collect and process the answers you receive.

If there are members that refuse to tell you what you need to know, observe their activities.  Take note of the people they talk to, the discussions they participate in, and the topic of the threads they start.  Their online behavior and habits are a good indication of what they want so use that information to personalize their experiences.

Obviously, it isn’t possible for all associations to give every individual a personalized experience as they lack the time or resources.  In some cases, it might be best to group members into segments based on their interests and then craft a personalized experience that targets those segments.  Many associations have embraced this concept as they know this is what customers prefer and they want to ensure most of them remain engaged well into the future!
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Since 2001, we have been helping association leaders more efficiently manage their day-to-day responsibilities and increase member satisfaction. Our membership management software automates common tasks and gives associations the tools, reporting and support they need.