The Member Journey and Content Personalization Software

personalizing your content to association members

A Personal Touch: Content for Association Members

Associations have the crucially important goal of connecting with members. This may seem like a simple task, but in today’s world, it takes a ton of time and resources. In the past, associations would reach out to members through the mail and on the landline. But then came the internet! And email became the most effective form of communication when reaching out to members.

Now associations are expected to reach out to members via phone, text, email, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn). The list of communication methods grows every day! It’s a lot to handle all at once.

Members expect constant and immediate communication from associations. The problem is, most associations don’t have the time! Automation has helped relieve the stress of 24/7 communication and member support.

Depending on how it’s used, sometimes automation can come off as impersonal to members. How can associations maintain constant communication without sacrificing the personal aspect of association to member relations?

What is Content Personalization Software?

what is the member journey

Content Personalization Software is the software that brings the personal aspect of membership back into the equation. Using this type of software, associations can streamline communications and keep it personal too. Using information about members such as age, gender, location, visitor frequency, and session behavior, associations can create and send content that is specific to the member.

A few examples of session behavior include:
  • Navigation clicks
  • Blogs/article views
  • Downloads
  • Time spent on each page

These session behaviors can tell you what content and pages members are interested in. With demographics and session behavior combined, associations can make informed decisions when segmenting members and creating content. A few examples of creating segmented content includes:

Email Marketing with Content Personalization Software

With this information, associations send specific emails tailored to each recipient. Add personalization tokens to emails with name, profession, and location included. Add a newsfeed to the email newsletter with industry related news in their area. Share content related to the type of content they typically search for, etc. Add images to the email that are similar to the ones they spend the most time looking at, etc.

The possibilities are endless! Sending emails that are specific to the recipient is important when creating a customer journey. As a result, your email open rates will thank you.

content marketing with content

Content Marketing with Content Personalization Software

Content marketing includes blogs, articles, downloadables, case studies, white papers, and ebooks. Certainly, written resources for members make up a lot of what an association does. With personalization software, associations create smart content tailored to a segmented audience.

Associations can create multiple versions of a blog post and show the member a specific version based on certain triggers. In addition, you can also create separate versions of the content for members and non-members. For instance, this could include “call-to-action” content aimed at catching the attention of current members, non-members, or prospective members.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

If the reader is not a member, add a CTA at the bottom of the blog post that says “Become a Member” with a link to the member application. Or if the reader is a member, the CTA could be to download member exclusive content. If the reader used to be a member but is no longer a member, the CTA could say “Renew Membership”.

Content Personalization within Content Writing

The writing itself can also be manipulated to fit the needs of each reader. If the reader is not a member, leave out “member exclusive” content like this:

(paragraph of the article) Read More
(Error message) Member Exclusive: Looking for more information on this topic? For an annual cost, you can become a member of our association and receive extended versions of industry content like this.

If the reader clicking on “read more” is a member, then the read more link should reveal exclusive content. If the reader is not a member, show the error message above. This both entices non-members to become a member and it emphasizes to members the exclusive benefits they get from being a member.

Web Personalization with Personalization Tools

website content personalization tools

In the world of digital marketing, it is extremely important to have a user-friendly website. Therefore, a great way to improve the member experience is by segmenting and personalizing the association’s website. For example, think about Amazon. When users are on the Amazon website, they see products and sales that relate to their search history on the website.

For instance, if say, last week, the user was looking at gardening supplies, Amazon takes this information. By using machine learning algorithms, Amazon places related products on the homepage of the website for the user to see. Apply this to web personalization for associations too!

Personalization marketing is a customer-centric approach to member acquisition and retention. Most importantly, it’s an approach that will engage web visitors. Associations can use web personalization to present newsfeeds on the homepage that are specific to the member visiting the homepage. In addition, it refines the association’s recommendation engines.

Social Media Marketing

This is specific to targeted ads on social media. For instance, they use information collected about members to direct advertisements about location-specific events, content that appeals to the member, and member-exclusive benefits. Many associations also use chatbots on social media to streamline fast response to inquiries and deliver personalized messages.

Many members access their social media accounts via mobile apps, so response time is therefore expected to be that much faster. Offering members real-time personalization is key to the engagement and benefits of membership within an association.

Do you Need Content Personalization Software?

this software benefits associations and businesses alike
“Content Personalization Software” is a broad term for software that helps businesses and organizations automate and personalize content and communications.

Clearly, content personalization software is a great benefit for associations. On the other hand, Association Management Software is software specifically meant for associations. For example, this can help associations use the power of information to create personalized content that is sure to delight members.

In a study done by Instapage, here were the top benefits of using content personalization software using customer data:
  • Increased visitor engagement (55%)
  • An improved customer experience (55%)
  • Increased conversion rates (51%)
  • Increased lead generation/customer acquisition (46%)
  • Improved brand perception (39%)
  • Increased e-commerce revenues (27%)
  • An increased customer lifetime value/loyalty (25%)
  • Increased value of other marketing platforms (24%)
  • Reduced churn and increased retention (20%)
  • Makes me/my team look good! (20%)

Overall, surveyed participants agreed that content personalization software improved engagement, user experience, conversion rates, and lead generation. Above all, here’s the reason that content personalization software is so effective. It combines efficiency and relationship building. In short, it creates a smoother customer journey, or in this case, member journey.

The Role of Automated Chatbots and Smart Content

the role of automated chatbots and smart content

Automation: Your Tool for Real-Time Member Communication

Creating a pathway for members to communicate is key when maintaining a successful association. The problem is, associations don’t necessarily have the time it takes to communicate 24/7 with members.

Generally speaking, associations have a few main goals. They want to retain members, bring in new members, and keep current members happy with their membership. Between writing and responding to emails, answering messages and comments on social media, and picking up the phones, this is very time-consuming.

So what tools can associations use to reduce the time spent on communication while still delighting members? The answer is automation. In the end, the purpose of membership is to grow professionally. Machine learning makes automating content simple, efficient, and effective for everyone involved.

automated website content

Here are a few ways that associations can provide the opportunities that members need to maintain their membership:

  • Host networking events
  • Invite members to industry events
  • Create discussion forums via social media
  • Engage with members with social media and email
  • Publish new and interesting industry insights
  • Create member-exclusive content

By and large, the key to all of this is constant, real-time communication with members. Understand their needs, what they like to see, and the events they would like to go to.

When associations take advantage of what explicitly programmed automated website content offers, time is better spent. Subsequently, member experiences and satisfaction skyrockets.

use automated chatbots and member communication

Automated Chatbots and Member Communication

Have you ever visited a website page and saw a little speech bubble in the bottom right corner pop up? That is likely a customer service chatbot. Using AI (artificial intelligence) technology, these chatbots answer simple customer support questions for the web visitor.

This is a valuable tool for answering questions such as:

  • Where can I find the member portal?
  • When is my membership renewal date?
  • When is the next association event?
  • How can I sign up for membership?
  • Where can I find (X) resources?

Associations can set up chatbots to answer simple questions. After that, it will direct the web visitor to contact the association for more complex inquiries. This saves associations a ton of time answering the same simple questions and most importantly, responds to the user faster.  

the coding behind AI software for associations

Likewise, chatbots can also be designed for social media. In today’s world, people expect to receive a response on the same day via messaging apps and platforms like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Chatbots can make this possible for associations to achieve! In short, here’s how you can go about setting up a chatbot.

Steps to Setting Up a Chatbot

  1. Create an internal team for the project
  2. List association FAQ’s
  3. Answer these questions
  4. Create a list of links to direct people to for each answer
  5. Find chatbot software
  6. Hire a chatbot specialist if needed
  7. Build out the Q&A’s
  8. Test it out internally (several times)
  9. Deploy for “beta testing”

After this, be sure to review answers from the chatbot to make sure it’s flowing well. Meanwhile, be sure to review the questions people are asking. After that, it will help inform future communications and marketing efforts.

create smart content to target your audience

Create Smart Content to Target your Audience

One of the main services associations provide to members is industry content. In the past, associations had the majority of authority when it came to industry insights. Today, members can find similar information on the internet at no cost to them.

Take a national association for doctors, for example. This association would have all of the exclusive content available on industry news. It would be difficult to find the same level of content anywhere else. Now, hospitals, private practices, and medical professionals have the same ability to publish high value and free, high-quality content.

Smart content has been an upcoming trend in content marketing automation over the past few years. Consequently, many businesses and organizations use smart content strategies to curate content, newsfeeds, emails, blog posts, and more.

A content management system allows associations to curate relevant content tailored to specific members. It gives members the personalization they’re looking for. And with less time spent on behalf of the association. Above all, it’ critical now more than ever for associations to use smart content to their advantage!

what is smart content?

Smart Content: Breaking it Down

You may still be wondering, “what exactly is smart content”? This specific type of AI is known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). It has developed significantly over the years. And, it’s becoming more and more in tune with what members are looking for. Using specific algorithms, NLP develops smart content with human-like accuracy. But, does it actually work?

To clarify, the results published by Associations Now are extraordinary:

“When associations use AI to personalize content, we see open rates of 40 percent or more. Furthermore, when you are looking at segments of a community that have interacted with AI-curated content, we see open rates as high as 60 percent and click-through rates as high as 25 percent.”

In other words, smart content is the future for associations. Associations can now spend less time curating content for members and more time building authentic connections with them. As a result, data shows that members enjoy smart content even more than the content that takes more time to deliver.

As many associations know, creating content is a long process. With little resources to keep up with the demand for daily content, associations may wonder how everyone else is doing it. So, either they have an insane amount of staff specifically there to create content… or they’re using AMS.

AMS for automated marketing

Association Management Software for Automated Marketing

Using an Association Management Software (AMS), associations can use the power of automation to elevate marketing efforts seamlessly. Here they can connect with members, provide valuable content, and encourage new members to join.

AMS software allows associations to take advantage of AI technology without having to hire several specialists to do the work. Moreover, it makes these concepts easy to apply with the state of the art analytics used to inform future marketing decisions.

Smart content and chatbots are only a couple of ways associations can use automation to power membership, certainly. Simply put, it’s a matter of efficiency.

The more automated tools associations use will allow for more growth and communication as an association. Businesses, organizations, and nonprofits all over the world are already implementing AI technology to streamline these processes.

In conclusion, it seems that there’s only one question left to ask. What can your association do with the power of automation?

what can your association do with the power of automation?

Member Engagement to Drive a Better Trade Show

member engagement to drive a better trade show

6 Trade Show Benefits to Retain Members and Keep them Engaged

Most of the time, associations see trade shows as an opportunity to recruit new members. These events are, by nature, an excellent networking opportunity to meet new prospects and build on member engagement strategies. Association executives take part in these events to inform people, socialize with industry professionals, and eventually to recruit members.

But what if associations saw trade shows as a part of a member engagement strategy and a retention strategy?

Associations tend to focus more on recruitment than engagement or retention. “McGovern, senior director, marketing and member services at ACA, says she knows why this happens: ‘Well, recruitment is sexy. Retention is hard work,” (Associations Now).

The truth is, it costs a lot more for associations to recruit a new member than it does to retain one. For every action taken by associations to bring in new members, there should be a secondary engagement strategy.

make members association evangelists

Benefit #1 – Members as Association Evangelists

For example, trade shows are also an effective way to retain members through event engagement. Invite current members to take part in association trade shows as an evangelist for the association.

Hearing the benefits straight from a member’s mouth appears more genuine to prospective members. Of course, the association executive thinks their association is the best of the best. But a prospect hearing a member making this statement? That’s priceless.

proving members with branded merchandise will help spread awareness

Benefit #2 – Tradeshows as Networking Events for Members

The reason why most people choose not to renew their membership is usually that they feel the value isn’t worth the cost. A lot of the time this isn’t because the association isn’t offering enough benefits to members. Associations struggle more often to find ways to show members all of the benefits available to them. In other words, by inviting members to participate in trade shows, associations provide additional value.

Trade shows are a great opportunity for members to network, learn more about the industry, and explore what their association does behind the scenes. Trade shows are like a backstage pass; showcasing the exclusivity and education that their membership offers them within their association. Bring branded swag to trade shows for members to keep and/or to give to prospective members. Encourage members to explore opportunities within their industry.

transform membership into an industry community

Benefit #3 – Transform Membership into an Industry Community

This is what it’s all about, right? The best retention strategy for an association is all about focusing on building a strong, engaged community for its members. Invite members to participate in trade shows so they can connect with one another and see the big picture of their membership. Create spaces for members to collaborate and network within the association. As an association, it’s important to learn from this community to see how the association can evolve and meet the needs of members.

use trade shows as a resume builder for younger members

Benefit #4 – Trade Shows as a Resume Builder for Younger Members

Most associations will say they don’t want one year members, they want 20-year members. The best way to do this is by putting a lot of focus into learning all you can about your members and compare it to your strategies for member engagement. Arguably, younger members have the most to gain from association membership. They are looking for opportunities to meet young professionals and industry leaders.

Young members join an association to build experience, gain knowledge, and receive opportunities to participate in their industry in a meaningful way. These members are enthusiastic and community focused, which makes them the perfect member to invite to trade shows. By seeing a fresh face at trade shows, young prospective members may be more compelled to explore association membership.

give members a face to a name

Benefit #5 – Give Members a Face to a Name

Lastly, inviting members to participate in trade shows gives associations the opportunity to meet their members face to face. Members will appreciate the personal touch and enjoy meeting the people behind the shared value of their membership.

Of course, many members get to know their association executives through the process of elections. Undoubtedly, meeting members face to face will give association executives the chance to show who they are as a person and as a professional within their industry.

get insight about member needs and wants

Benefit #6 – Get Insight About Member Needs and Wants

Another great benefit to bringing members to trade shows has to do with the information they get from the attending members. From this exchange, you can learn about your members’ habits, what services they want going forward, and how you can improve your member engagement strategies. Find insight on what you’re doing well… or, what you’re not doing well. The people willing to attend a trade show are some of your most engaged members. These are the “20-year members.”

Reward participating members by giving them what they ask for. Do they want a new resource on a specific industry related topic? Are they asking for more networking opportunities? Do they bring up a desire to learn more or get involved further? Document these interactions and do your best to make the necessary updates to delight engaged members.

traveling from trade show to trade show and discover the rewards of membership engagement

The Rewards of Membership Engagement at Association Trade Shows

Overall, trade shows provide over a dozen benefits to both association executives and association members. It’s a win-win situation. Make the most of association efforts by finding more ways to blend trade show attendance with your member engagement and retention strategies.

Optimize all of the work your association puts into attending and hosting events by reaching new members and retaining and engaging the current ones. If you do this, your association will have all the information and connections needed to build, engage, and retain its membership base.

Four Steps to Increase Member Retention at Your Association

InLoop has 4 steps to increase member retention at your association

Recognizing the Past, Current, and Prospective Barriers of Retaining Association Memberships

Retaining membership is often the highest priority for an association because it is the core of a successful association. In the past few decades, associations have witnessed an unfortunate trend of decreased membership; a decline in prospect members translates to a decline in member retention. This means that is more important than ever to maintain those long term association members and build a strong membership network.

On average, most flourishing associations will see a member retention rate of 75%. Does this sound like your association? If not, some changes need to be made to focus on member retention.

Members need to see the tangible value from an association in order to justify paying for a membership. Associations can provide members opportunities to build genuine connections through networking events both in person and online.

Simply put, the best way to improve member retention is by keeping members happy! Here are some strategies to help your association improve member retention.

1. Association Surveys

asking members to fill out association surveys is a great way to improve member retention

Sending association surveys to members shows them you care about their specific role in the association. It also provides you with specific ways to improve retention straight from the source! Send quarterly surveys via email to members (or even monthly) with every e-newsletter.

Read and respond to each survey, address their concerns, and share how, if possible, you will make the necessary changes.

You can also send an association survey to past members. Ask them why they left so you can improve for the next generation of members. Find out what they felt was missing as a member of your association. Addressing the specific reasons why members have left will help associations avoid making the same mistakes with current members.

2. Member Engagement Reports

collect data that measures member engagement and use that data to aid your efforts to increase member retention

You can consider this as the association’s version of a “survey response”. So, by collecting data that measures the member’s engagement, you can then provide your members with personalized opportunities for increasing their engagement habits.

In the report, present your members with data about how often they respond to other members; engage with emails and social media; how often they read association articles; participate in events, etc. Demonstrate the missed opportunities your members had to connect and take advantage of their membership.

By providing these reports, members see where they can improve as a valued member. Therefore, it puts the pressure on the member to become more engaged within their association. It allows for all of the opportunities that their membership grants them to really resonate.

3. A User-Friendly Experience for Members

Most members today will be using the internet to some degree. As a result, user members look up resources on your website, receive emails, and are following you on social media. Be sure that your association is providing member resources on a user-friendly platform. Consequently, it doesn’t matter if you have a ton of valuable content if your members have a hard time accessing it. Use your website, emails, and social media pages to engage members and ask for help from experts if that’s what you need.

user-friendly software will help your association with member retention

A few things that will make your associations’ software more user-friendly include:

Having an organized website homepage with information such as:
  • Member testimonials and survey responses
  • Upcoming networking opportunities
  • Article previews and resources for members
  • Quick links to all social media platforms
  • A newsfeed of any industry related news
Sending an e-newsletter that provides:
  • Industry and association updates
  • Ways to get involved and engage with members
  • A link to any live surveys
  • Details for any upcoming opportunities
Engaging with members through social media by:
  • Responding to comments and messages quickly
  • Prompting members to share ideas on social
  • Sharing events and news on social regularly

Most importantly, be organized and clear with members. Make sure all online resources are easy to read and have ample visuals. Members need clear and concise information that shares all the benefits of membership. Make it easy for members to contact the association with any questions or concerns and respond as quickly as possible.

4. Find the Right Members

find members with the same values and interests that your association offers them and you will increase member retention rates

In other words, to improve member retention, associations must reflect and focus on the beginning of membership. Find members that fit, not just ones who can pay for membership.

Meanwhile, the ideal member believes in your cause, cares about the industry, and wants to be as involved as possible. The perfect member has a genuine interest in connecting with other professionals in their field. They are knowledge seekers and are always looking for the next opportunity to learn and gain new experiences.

Utilizing AI technology and automated technology like customer relationship management (CRM) software is one of the ways that associations can track down the right members. In the same vein, by embracing the use of technology, associations can use member data to find out who the “right” members are. Greatest of all, you learn the most about who the ideal member is by listening to the ones you currently have.

Raise Member Retention for Your Association

To sum it up, be sure to keep this in mind: if member engagement is on the rise, member retention will follow. Find new ways to connect to your member base, aspire to growth, and meet your members where they are. If you do these things, worrying about member retention will be a thing of the past!

raise member retention for your association

Finding New Millennial Members Through Community Involvement

Every day, millions of young professionals take part in philanthropic efforts like donating and volunteering. Millennials are often referred to as being service oriented and giving. They also use volunteering and fundraiser events for professional networking. In general, millennials donate their time and money to help a good cause, meet other professionals, and add the experience to their resume. For this reason, community involvement is an excellent way for associations to connect with these young, prospective members.

By creating crowdfunding campaigns, hosting fundraiser events, building association volunteer teams, and being involved with the community, associations can recruit more young members.

Join Local Community Efforts

community involvement

According to an article written by Forbes, about 23.5% of adults volunteer with a nonprofit. These volunteers give 8.7 billion hours of their time annually. As an association, a great place to start getting involved is local. This way, associations can find more of the local professionals in their industry that may have an interest in membership. By showing potential members that your association cares about the community, you show that you care about members as well.

Local fundraising events tend to involve local business owners and figureheads of the community. These events are the perfect place to set up a booth and get to know everyone. Build awareness for your association and give yourself a chance to share the benefits of association membership.

Associations can involve themselves in the community by:

  • Creating an association team for charity walks/marathons
  • Signing up for a booth at career fairs, community development workshops
  • Volunteering time for community action projects
  • Donating to a nonprofit auction event
donating to nonprofits

Find opportunities in community involvement to meet potential local members. These members are often more engaged than the average member because they are close enough to participate in events in person.

As Millennials are towards the beginning of their career, they are preoccupied with two goals:
  1. To do good in the world
  2. To grow professionally

Give them the opportunity to meet these goals, and your association provides immediate value to prospective members. By understanding the mindset and goals of millennials, you can share the benefits of membership that meet these goals and gain new membership. Where else can associations meet millennial where they are?

Volunteer Association Time to Colleges

volunteering members

Another way to get involved in philanthropy is by donating time and resources to higher education. The majority of college students are typically in their early 20s and looking for opportunities to meet professionals in the field they are interested in. This is where associations can inspire students to become a member and open the door to countless professional opportunities.

Associations can volunteer time to colleges through workshops, guest speaking, and career fairs. This shows potential millennial members that your association cares about helping people, namely them. Your association can provide countless opportunities for a generation that is struggling to make the most of their degree. By becoming a member, they guarantee themselves valuable resources and networking opportunities. These benefits increase the chances of finding a great job in their field following graduation.

Association Membership and E-Philanthropy

association giving

Associations are not just locals. They involve membership from industry professionals living all over the country. It has never been easier for associations to reach prospective members through the power of the internet. New, prospective members communicate through emails, social media, website chats, online forms, and more. It really is impressive the number of ways that associations can use the internet to increase membership. One of the ways is through e-philanthropy!

By using all of the tools available to you, your association can make it easier for new members to find you. Share photos and videos from current volunteer projects, run crowdfunding campaigns on your website and send emails to subscribers that include information about upcoming fundraiser events. There are a ton of ways that you can share your history of philanthropy, raise money for nonprofit organizations, and connect with young prospective members who may have an interest in volunteering or donating.

Email Campaigns

email campaigns

This is more applicable once a person is aware of an association and has subscribed to the email list. Email is further down the funnel between awareness and membership than social media or a blog. This is where you can highlight professional connections, resources, and events only available to members.

Share past community involvement and what members only volunteer opportunities are available to them if they join now. Leave a sense of urgency and a reason to become a member this week, instead of months from now. Use AI technology to streamline this process and craft personalized emails in less time.

Blog Posts

association blog

Part of the value of membership is exclusive content. That being said, you can still create a public blog with examples of past efforts, fundraisers, and networking events! This shows enough that it doesn’t take away from exclusive content and gives the prospective member an idea of membership.

Add a call to action at the bottom of each blog post to join your association! Allow prospective members to join an e-newsletter or follow on social media. Create content that shares the benefits of volunteering or donating as a member of an association.

Social Media

social media fundraising

For e-philanthropy, an association can do a lot through social media. For example, associations can create private events for members to fundraisers and community involvement. They can share blog content that highlights the association’s giving efforts. Associations can also create private volunteer groups for members. Crowdfunding efforts can also be shared on social media or even run through Facebook!

There are plenty of ways to use social media to build awareness and increase membership through nonprofit work. Using streamlining technology, your association can automatically schedule posts for social media so you can focus on creating groups, events, and being responsive to followers.

Community Involvement for The Greater Good

community involvement

In short, it feels great to give. It is gratifying to spend time and money on a cause that helps others. Giving and volunteering is a fantastic way for an association to bring its members together for the greater good. At the end of the day, you may attract more “do-gooders” to become a member of your association. Associations and community involvement go together like peanut butter and jelly.

So, what will your association do to give back this year?