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.

How to Share the Benefits of Association Membership with Millennials

share the benefits of association membership with millennials

Adapting to the Generational Shift

Associations have existed in one form or another for hundreds of years. Generation after generation, associations have enjoyed a steady flow of memberships. In the past, there was no internet resource for professional development. At the time, associations were the main source for industry insights. Today’s generation has an unlimited source of information at their fingertips with access to industry articles, events, and networking opportunities. As a result, association membership has decreased over the years.

The key to increasing Millennial memberships is to find out what associations can provide them that they can’t do themselves. Previously, we’ve discussed who Millennials are, how to reach them, and how to build a community for young professionals. As a result, here are our six hacks to engage Millennials and increase association membership.

Build a Strong Social Media Presence

associations social media

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Most young professionals communicate via social media. A few of the ways Millennials use social media to create a professional community include:

  • Following industry-specific twitter accounts
  • Joining Facebook groups of young professionals in the area
  • Following Instagram accounts of other inspiring young professionals
  • Creating professional connections on LinkedIn

In addition to following people and joining groups, Millennials use social media to access information about upcoming networking events and industry updates. To these young professionals, social media is the most honest way to get information. It doesn’t make them feel as if they’re being pushed into a corner. Associations can use social media to increase awareness about associations and show them the benefits of association membership.

A few ways associations can improve their social media presence is by:

  • Posting consistent, relevant content
  • Investing in social ad campaigns that target a young demographic
  • Using social media influencers to build your social brand
  • Creating social media groups for young members

Find all of this overwhelming? Using an AI content curator, you can focus more on in-depth social campaigns and less on finding relevant content to post for the day. For instance, artificial intelligence collects social media content that is relevant to your target audience and streamlines the process of social media presence. Reach more young professionals with less time spent finding things to post!

Share Educational Content On Your Website

association blog content

In the past, websites were often used with the expectation of being sold something. Today, Millennials are looking for websites that provide more useful information and fewer ads. This is perfect for an association! The purpose of an association is to build a community of industry professionals, to share industry insights, and provide networking opportunities.

Likewise, this is exactly what Millennials are looking for (if they only knew it was available to them). Today, a lot of association content is only available to association members. Why not provide a few examples of what they’ll be paying for?

Here are a few ways to sample content:

  • Allow non-members to view blog content that is older than 6 months
  • Provide a streamlined newsfeed of third-party content
  • Give a short list of links to social media accounts of seasoned members

In other words, millennials are much less likely to pay for association membership if they can’t research what they’re getting beforehand. That is to say, this demographic responds well when given the opportunity to do their own research and weigh the pros and cons of joining a new professional community.

Are you interested in adding a newsfeed to your website, but not sure how much association time it will take up? We’re trying not to toot our own horn here “toot, toot”, but using an AI content curator is the quickest way to get it done. By using this automated technology, setting up a streamlined process for your association’s newsfeed is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Send Valuable Monthly E-Newsletters

e-newsletter for millennials

However, contrary to popular belief, Millennials are still using email. This group uses email for everything from work to informational newsletters. They do so to establish professional contacts, for job opportunities, renting a home, utility bill accounts, online shopping, you name it! Most of this generation has the e-mail app on their phone, and check it daily.

The key to sending emails to Millennials is this: don’t make them click the unsubscribe button.

That is to say, send engaging emails to help increase association membership. For example, here are some quick tips for sending monthly newsletters that prospective young members will enjoy:

  • Send easy to scan information that provides value
  • Make emails membership oriented, compelling them to join without making them feel like they’re getting an advertisement
  • Apply curated content that intrigues and is visually appealing
  • Do not send more than once a month!

Collaborate with Local Colleges

associations in higher education

Lastly, these young professionals do exist beyond the internet ethos! Find them at the point where they need your help the most. By partnering with local colleges, your association can provide value at the most stressful part of a young professional’s career. It’s the beginning. Millennials have few professional contacts, a very small resume, and a hunger to be successful. By reaching out a supporting hand during this time, associations increase their chances of making lifetime members out of this new generation.

Most importantly, make these opportunities known. Make opportunities available to college career development offices. Give information out to advisors in departments relevant to your association’s industry. Meanwhile, create career building opportunities for students and alumni who may still be searching for a community. After that, join career development fairs and enjoy some networking of your own! Bring seasoned members to meet and greets with students and create opportunities for students and members to network.

show millennials why joining an association will be beneficial

As an Executive Director, you know the benefits of joining an association. Using these hacks, you can share these benefits with young professionals and guide them towards greater career development. To sum it all up, build your social media presence, share information with prospective members, send out new and exciting industry developments, and get involved in the Millennial communities.

5 Means of Increasing Non-Dues Revenue Your Association Should Be Utilizing

increasing your association's non-dues revenue should be as easy as this guided flowchart

Non-Dues Revenue: A Business Model for Success

Man cannot survive on bread alone. Likewise, an association cannot survive on revenues obtained solely from membership dues.

If you want to grow your association, you need to develop multiple avenues for financial growth from non-dues revenue sources.

What would your association do if your membership growth slowed? Would you be able to survive? If you can create these additional non-dues revenue sources to grow your association’s finances, you will be in a privileged position where you will not even bat an eyelash.

So what are some additional ways to see financial growth in your association through non-dues revenue?

Offer Your Members Something They Don’t Already Have

What are some sources of non-dues revenue that your current members would pay for?

You already know that you have the attention of your members. If they’re willing to pay your membership dues, it means you’re doing something right. So why not utilize this attention that you already have?

Upselling is a sales technique that many people are familiar with. It is the simple act of utilizing the attention that your audience is already giving you to offer them something more in exchange for an additional fee.

You can do the same for your association members. Offer some exclusive content, benefits, or services for your members who choose to engage with this higher status. These can all be additional sources of non-dues revenue that they want and/or need.

For your association members, a higher status can mean a greater feeling of inclusivity with your association. This creates not only a feeling of inclusion for these members, but a feeling like their inclusion really means something beyond the general association membership.

Utilize Advertising Sales for a Non-Dues Revenue Stream

Advertising is another really healthy for of non-dues revenue for your association.

Most associations are already utilizing literature such as newsletters and automated emails for their members. These associations provide information to many eyes all over the world, and this is a great opportunity to increase non-dues revenues through advertising placements. While associations are serving their members through periodic informational avenues, they can also work on increasing non-dues revenue through strategic advertising placements within the content.

Offer advertising space, like those our friends at Association Revenue Partners provide, through different distribution channels such as newsletters, on your website, and through buyers’ guides as a source of non-dues revenue. There are plenty of businesses and services that would love to present themselves to your association members as having aligning interests and mentalities. To keep everything inline with your association’s values, make sure that these advertisements come from a company or service that you and your members align with in terms of ideology.

At its core, associations are created to bring like-minded professionals together. These folks work together to serve a greater purpose in the name of the association, and also within their individual professional lives. So the question isn’t why should you offer outside entities a chance – it’s why wouldn’t you? Everyone wins! Now is the time to focus on your members’ values, interests, and needs.

What companies align with your association’s values and interests? What services are something your members need? Give them a trusted source to go to, and in turn, you will also enhance your association’s reputation as a truly valuable source. Sponsorship opportunities are everywhere, and it’s a great way to make some additional non-dues revenue for your association.

Non-Dues Revenue Through Branded Merchandise

Merchandising is perhaps the most obvious way of creating non-dues revenue streams for your association. If your association is something your members are proud to be a part of, you can bet that they would be proud to sport some branded merchandising too. This could be as simple as a hat or a sweatshirt (the cold months are still here).

Offering branded association merchandise is a way to encourage your members to feel that same sense of belonging we discussed earlier (as well as in our blog about AI & Personalized Content). And it also works as free advertising for your association. Place a merchandise order for clothing or other products that have your logo, name, and contact information on them, but also something that generates engagement.

Create unique merchandise that will intrigue people on the street enough to ask your members, “What is ________?” Lay the these conversations and you will be converting people into members before you even meet them.

Engage the Active Audience on Social Media

Your association members are on social media so why not engage with them there for some free advertising of non-dues revenue programs

Your association probably has more events and programs than any individual member is able to remember. So utilize your captive audience of social media followers. You want to engage with your members in this way already, so use it to create some excitement around additional sources of non-dues revenue.

Let members know what you have going on, but also use it as free advertising. If you’re offering branded merchandise, this is a great way to get the word out. Engage people with the visual capabilities of Facebook or Instagram. Show off those stylish hats or sweatshirts. Again, create a conversation.

Make people, especially non-members, want to engage with your social media posts. Make them want to ask questions about your merchandise, your events that are open to members and non-members alike, and other impressive things your association is participating in. Make them want it. Non-dues revenue generation like this, if done correctly, will eventually translate into more dues-based revenue as well. It’s a win-win.

Make a Splash at Trade Shows

Your association should definitely plant the seeds of both membership revenue and non-dues revenue at trade shows.

Here’s the big one! Your trade shows are your direct line to the people of the world. This is where all of the things we have discussed come together to make the perfect storm of total revenue generation.

Showcase the additional services, content, and events your association is offering. Show off your branded merchandise. It might even be wise to give it away for free at these trade shows in order to pull in more prospective members.

Get your booth sponsored! Decrease your overhead costs, and show that your association aligns with companies or services that line up with the values and concerns of your members, (and people you hope will become members).

Also, encourage people to follow your social media accounts by making a game or contest of it. For example, create a photo booth where folks can take pictures while wearing your branded merchandise. This increases your free advertising, but also makes people want to check out your social media presence. Add a hashtag that is customized for your association and the trade show you are attending. While they’re taking a look at that stylish photo of themselves, they will also see all of these other services and products you offer, potentially generating even more non-dues revenue down the line.

The Never Ending Source of Non-Dues Revenue

Non-dues revenue can really drive your organization and keep you from depending on membership dues.

Your ability to generate financial growth outside of membership dues is only limited by your imagination. Everyone has a certain amount of disposable income. Give your members a reason to believe that your association has something worth putting this disposable income towards outside of their membership fees.

Running an association is a unique venue of connection to the world. Make use of this unique connection to provide your members with even more benefits than they thought possible. This is what will ultimately keep your association growing consistently year after year.


Reasons to Strengthen Your Association’s Social Media Presence in 2019

Reasons to Strengthen Your Association's Social Media Presence in 2019

Increasing Your Association’s Social Media Presence Needs to be a Key Goal for 2019

In this digital age, your association’s social media presence is a crucial part of not just your digital marketing presence but also helps to create a perception of your association as a whole.

Your association’s social media presence is something that can be used as a communication tool to engage with members you already have on the various social platforms. It can also be viewed as a strategy to interest potential members, like millennials who are digital natives and known for seeking information and communicating online. If done well, an association’s social media presence can easily translate into membership base growth, and retention, as well as increasing the effectiveness of the time and effort spent on growth. And more importantly, your association’s social media presence and engagement is something you can do which can be extremely cost effective in terms of ROI.

So let’s take a look at the reasons more associations are strengthening their social media presence in 2019. And also, let’s take a look at what they’re doing to achieve this.

so many people are connected to their phones, and engaging online, which is why your association's social media presence is more important than ever

Increasing your Association’s Social Media Presence Through Greater Visibility

Technology in today’s world moves so quickly, and so do our attitudes about technology. Not long ago we were told to be very cautious about the things we put on social media because potential employers or business partners could see them.

But that’s exactly what we want now. Your association’s social media presence is more important than ever. In a very real way, it looks unprofessional not to have a social media arm to your association. Your results on search engines can seem incomplete without having this badge of technological honor under your name. It validates your association as being one that embraces technology as opposed to one that looks like a dinosaur. Associations’ need to keep up with the times to continue to remain relevant to younger members who want to be part of something that they can relate to.

Visibility Includes “Housekeeping” Items as Well as Communication Through Social Platforms

Many businesses and organizations use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to stay in touch with their target audiences. But have you considered this is also another method of communication?

Social media platforms are a way for your association to advertise things like location, office hours, events, newsworthy members, and an overall way to speak directly to your audience. Having this high level of visibility is very important to your branding. For an association looking to maximize its ability to stay in touch with its base, having a social media presence is vital.

One more important aspect to consider regarding visibility and your association’s social media presence is that you need to make the social media itself visible. In other words, make sure that you advertise the fact that you are on whichever platforms you choose to utilize, but remember, the more the merrier. Add social media icons to your association’s website, and include them in all of your team’s email signatures. Also, include reminders for members to follow your association’s social media outlets through newsletters, emails, and other literature.

if your association's social media presence is not on your radar, it should be.

Let Social Media be an Advertisement for Your Association

Your association’s social media page might be the first place someone views your organization on the internet. Whether its a committed member of your organization or a new potential member, make sure that your first impression is a good one.

In a great article from Investment News discussing the importance of using social media platforms, they state that “clients and prospects look to your website and social media content as a way to get to know you better”. This is a great attitude to have when thinking about the kind of content you put out there to increase your association’s social media presence.

Consider the goals of your association when you are deciding what content to put out on your platforms. Let your organization’s goals and your social media presence’s goals share a common purpose. While inflammatory and flashy news articles might turn some heads, it’s ultimately not good for your branding and reputation in the long run.

Think of your social media presence as an extension of material that you produce for the members of your association. Your members are the individuals who follow you and care about what you have to say, but on a social media platform, you are also able to speak to a wider audience at the same time. While you are able to present your members with newsletters and emails designed specifically for them, think of your social media output as a way to deliver your association’s message to other interested parties.

Pay attention to what’s trending in the world, and find how it relates to your association and its values. This is your opportunity to stay relevant and do some free advertising.

utilize your association's social media presence to deliver your message to a much wider audience

Let Your Association Openly Communicate with the World

Beginning to work on your association’s social media presence can be intimidating. What your members, and potential members, want to hear from you might not seem obvious. However, the best part of social media platforms is that they are two-way streets.

While you should remain consistent on the quality and frequency of things you post, don’t be afraid to tailor your messages to your audience. The audience for every social platform is slightly different, but one thing remains consistent: people want to feel like they’re individually special yet inside a like-minded crowd.

If you don’t know what your members might want to share, ask them. You can create a poll as a way of giving individuals a strong voice. And they will inevitably want to utilize this voice. Post content that pertains to your association’s goals and values. Also, please note that you should be posting consistently, but that you can also give your message that extra personal touch. How? Well, by reaching out to the community at large.

when you association's social media presence is starting to grow, utilize tools to track its growth

Wrapping Things Up: Use Your Association’s Social Media Presence for Brand Building

Social media has proven itself as one of the most invaluable platforms for communication in the modern day. It’s used by individuals, organizations, brands, politicians, and everyone in between to help forward their agenda and communicate this world. Don’t let yourself be left out of the conversation.

Figure out a plan of action, and begin building your association’s brand through social media.

After all, this will strengthen not only your visibility and your web presence, but also your association as a whole.