How AI is Playing a Larger Role in Providing Personalized Content to Association Members

How AI is Playing a Larger Role in Providing Personalized Content to Association Members

Personalized Content Through AI Changes The Way Associations Deliver Benefit to Their Members

Personalized content through AI is changing the way associations interact with their members

An association’s members are its lifeblood. We all know this to be true. That being said, making sure that your association’s interactions with these members are positive ones is extremely important.

Members don’t want to feel as though they’re part of a digital marketing scheme working for the association’s bottom line. Members want to feel like they’re part of an association that cares about their business, career, and the things they want out of life.

So how can your association accomplish this in an era of split-second interactions and distractions coming from every direction?

AI Can Help Associations Personalize Their Content

This is where associations can benefit from a little bit of help from AI to ensure their members receive personalized content that resonates with them – even if the association’s communication team is stretched thin.

And personalized content with the help of AI is not just a fad. According to Forbes, more than half of all marketers plan to begin using AI software to help tailor-make their services. But this is not just for marketers attempting to make a profit. It is about creating an individual connection to each of your association’s members.

AI software for personalizing content is so much more than random streams of code

So, wait, how does AI work, exactly?

In layman’s terms, AI (artificial intelligence) software collects massive amounts of data and signals and sifts through all of it. While mining through data, AI searches for connections and correlations, challenges and opportunities, and identifies trends. People provide signals; they log in or they don’t. AI uses those signals and looks for patterns in their interactions. Through the power of these signals, AI is able to find common threads where people are most engaged on an individual basis.

your members, like these pictured, are looking for value from their professional trade association so consider help from AI to personalize content and don't only rely on events

AI, Associations, and Engagement

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to play a more significant role in how associations provide content that is not only relevant to its members but content that is personalized for them. We are already familiar with the way our human team members collect and interpret information to help give individualized subject matter to our members.

But frankly, that’s old news.

In this day and age, members’ expectations are different from even a decade ago. Associations have to be willing to change how they market themselves and the industry as a whole. It’s critical that associations adapt to this era of technology, and embrace it even.

AI Assists With Personalized Content and Engagement

AI is assisting with member engagement because as more and more data is collected, the more personalized the content becomes. After all, membership renewals and even referrals sent to peers from current members (email forwarding, anyone?) increase based on how engaged they are with the content hitting their inbox. If there’s churn it’s because member engagement has been lost at the most important touchpoints – email or social media.

If your association’s members aren’t actively engaged, how do you keep them? Well, you can’t. The value proposition isn’t there. But, thanks to AI, you can help identify where the barriers are, and how to fix the problem.

Let us explain.

What Can AI Do For Your Association?

If it seems like your association cannot avoid software, it's true. Consider what AI and other software can do to help your non-dues revenue.

The first step to understanding what artificial intelligence can do to deliver personalized content to your members is to identify what our human employees can’t do. AI can help to identify where members are passively engaged and those who are passively disengaged. AI creates an engagement tool for identifying potential challenges and risks, opportunities and trends.

Personalization software can easily scan the open sea of the internet, including social media, communication services, and local news outlets for mentions of your association by individual members or the community. This can help you create content for a personalized experience that will let your members know that they are important.

But My Members Like My Content, Don’t They?

Here’s the thing. Right now, 30-40% of association members are not engaged because the content they are being sent is not targeted specifically to their interests. It’s general, broad sweeping content, and not personalized content.

AI, when provided with your members’ interests, can deliver personalized content to your members. This is not only going to leave their queries satisfied but leave our members knowing that their individual interests matters.

What Are The Benefits to Using Content Personalization Software in Your Association?

Personalized content can help your members see the value of your association and it can be like a one on one dialogue as these people are having.

AI’s Prediction Methods Help to Find Solutions that Work for Your Members

In an article posted on SingleGrain.com discussing how AI is utilized by marketing companies, it states that AI software is helping to, “…predict the behavior of customers”. Prediction is something we should be very interested in when it comes to our members.

Predicting and anticipating what members want and need is going to keep your association relevant. Knowing what members want before they do, and providing them with it when they do know, is going to keep them engaged and interested in your association.

AI can sift through massive amounts of data and find correlations, connections, opportunities, and risks. When prospects or existing members interact with your content, AI looks at those interactions and finds the opportunities and the challenges. This method of “prediction” gives associations a chance to see what works and what doesn’t, and perhaps opportunities for new ways to create additional engagement.

Engagement is at the heart of any association, like these women relating and laughing together. AI can help facilitate engagement when it's not in a social setting.

Delivering the Types of Content that Matter to your Members

When you know what matters to your members, you’re in a better position to cater to them.

We currently live in a world where all types of information and services are just a click away, so you want to deliver personalized content that is specifically useful or important to your members. Personalized experiences are at the heart of connecting with your consumers, members, and prospects.

AI software gains more insight into these specific needs at a rate which would be impossible for humans to do on their own. By scouring the exponentially growing amount of data effectively, AI is able to cut the wheat from the chaff more efficiently. And by cutting away the information that is not relevant to your members, your interactions will be more effective in keeping them engaged.

What types of personalized content and information would be important to members of an art + technology association? Perhaps they would attend a presentation like the one here where an artist-in-residence is lecturing at a gallery nearby?

Driving Traffic With Personalization Strategies

AI’s ability to determine the values of our individual members gives us the means to pinpoint a much smaller target audience than ever before for our content and services. Being part of an association should make our members feel like they belong to something that appeals to their specific beliefs and needs.

If our content is a blanket statement to our audience of thousands, hundreds, or even just dozens of members, we are going to inevitably be leaving some people out of the equation. Utilizing the ability to look into the kind of minutia that AI observes allows us to direct traffic and information with a precision that was not previously possible.

And it’s just that: we should view AI as a utility. We have entered the stage where AI and machine-learning is the underlying plumbing for everything. Not just content, but everything you could possibly consider that relies on a massive amount of data to gain insight.

Personalized Content to Keep Up With a Fast Paced World

You don’t have time to fritter away on guesswork, and neither do your members. If you want to keep your members association-loyal, you need to keep them engaged with the services and information that only you can provide them with.

When it comes to revenue, associations live off of member dues and non-dues revenue opportunities. If members are highly engaged, they are most likely to attend your association’s annual conference. So, obviously, you want the maximum attendance at these events because it brings in huge dollars. Your annual conference brings members and industry leaders together; AI will help you to achieve this goal.

Associations bring people together, like these two at a business meeting, but what happens when they leave? AI is one solution to leverage personalized content to keep your members coming back for more, thus finding greater value in your association.

Personalize Now or Lose Relevance Tomorrow

Artificial intelligence is not about “the what”; it’s about when and where. Utilizing AI is no longer a choice for associations. It used to be that having personalized content or experiences was a kind of luxury if you will.

In today’s world, if you are not delivering personalized content, you’re on the road to oblivion. Members will disengage, overwhelmed with the noise of the internet and their inboxes, and your association will, unfortunately, suffer the consequences. It’s now or never: if you don’t adopt this technology now, you will head the way of the dinosaurs, or perhaps a better comparison would be the way of the printed newspaper.

Giving your members personalized information is a line of direct communication from the largest figurehead to the smallest demographic, the individual member. Your members don’t have time to sift through the entirety of what we can provide them with to find what they specifically want. You have a very small time frame where you can catch their attention (and, more broadly, their continued membership).

The amount of information available to your association will only continue to grow. Adopting AI services into your processes is going to be the best way to keep up with a world that continues to move, growing faster than we can all account for.

Associations Struggling with Member Engagement

for associations struggling with member engagement it's important to create practical strategies

Defining Practical Strategies for Increasing Member Engagement and Retention

When we speak with association leaders and subject matter experts about the most important challenges and the pain points they face, they will most often put member engagement at or near the top of the list.

Associations know how important engagement is in keeping organizations healthy and advancing their mission, yet many are struggling to use their digital channels effectively.

A recent association benchmarking survey quantified the challenge of engagement. This study showed that 55% of associations felt that engaging members is  a challenge.

Traditionally, member engagement meant participation in annual conferences, training programs, or purchasing publications. With the advent of email, social media, and scores of apps, digital outreach became a quick, easy, and less expensive way of connecting with members. These digital options also brought forth a substantial number of new competitors vying for members’ attention.

Oren Ahronson, CEO of InLoop points out that,

“With the huge volume of data and spam that we receive every day, a simple approach of posting content to a website, email, and on social media no longer achieves the goal of engaging members. This is especially true in trying to get members to engage with digital content. These responses elevate engagement levels which are crucial to increasing association member recruitment and retention.”

associations have to make practical plans in order to increase member engagement

The rules of the game have changed. Associations need a more strategic approach with specific objectives and metrics. We provide practical tips for increasing member engagement.

Defining Engagement

In a world where electronic communications transfer information in nanoseconds, bombarding your members with “information overload” engagement is not just the existence of a relationship between an association and its members. You also need members acting on those communications and renewing their memberships.

Engagement = Member Recruitment + Action + Retention

Since each association has different goals, the exact definition of engagement will vary across associations. But the primary objective remains the same… increase engagement by increasing member participation, acquisition, and retention.

However, Wendy Scott, a Partner at ReedScott warns that,

Associations often focus primarily on recruitment while tolerating a decrease in retention until it’s too late. Delivering valuable, customized content is one of the best ways to retain members and remind them of the value you provide to meet their current and, hopefully, unmet needs over time. Retention is crucial because it can cost up to six times more to recruit a new member than the cost to retain an existing one.

Indications of Member Engagement Issues

member engagement and retention goes hand in hand

How do you know if you have an engagement issue with your membership? According to ReedScott, there are several reliable indicators:

Warning Signs that You May Have a Retention Problem

  • your association has a retention rate that is less than 75%
  • attendance at conferences and meetings is decreasing
  • the number of members volunteering is decreasing
  • you are seeing a decrease in benefits utilization
  • your sales from multiple revenue streams are decreasing

Time and time again, we see that the members who are highly engaged are the ones always coming back. So how do we measure engagement? And why is it important to measure it?

Measuring Engagement

by measuring engagement, associations can focus more on member retention and member engagement

It is important to measure engagement for the simple reason that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Without data, you have no information upon which to make sound decisions about which direction to head with your content and communication strategies.

But, how can your association figure out how to measure engagement?

At a high level, measuring engagement is about aligning metrics to your strategic objectives. At a more detailed level, these metrics will be specific to each marketing channel. AI is playing a larger role in how we measure engagement by providing personalized content to association members.

Strategies in keeping members engaged rely solely on the content we send to members; content must be useful and unique to the personal needs of all members. We only have a short window to catch the attention of our members, so we have to be sure we take full advantage of all the resources available to us in this increasingly technologically-run world.