Earlier this week, I attended the ASAE Technology Conference along with over 1000 of the leading association executives from across the country. Jam-packed with workshops and educational sessions to help share best practices within the technology-driven community, the event gave me these three big takeaways.
Specifically when it comes to your website and other digital platforms, decisions must be rooted in the value presented to the member. In working with our association clients, Adage finds that individual departments feel their own content is the most valuable and should be displayed most prominently. In an attempt not to consider some content greater in importance than other content, both quantitative and qualitative data needs to be examined for good content choices. Make sure the right content is presented to the right person at the right time. Strong solutions in both search and personalization for your website can more easily guide visitors on a user journey that is relevant to them, but only if you understand what your audience needs and when they need it.
Building on the member-centric way of thinking, associations must prioritize using the same language as their members in IT, marketing, membership, education, and other departments within the organization.
Internally breaking down these vocabulary silos will create consistency and help lead to a more unified experience on your website, leading to more engaged, happy members. Audiences will find it easier to identify what they’re looking for by their goals, rather than by an internal naming convention. But keep in mind: for some associations, naming conventions are important brand carriers.
Examples of language consistency challenges:
- Support | Development | Donations | Giving
- Publications | Journals | Resources | Target Audience Names (For Members, For Professional Titles)
- News | Blog | Ideas | Insight
- Members | Patrons | Audience | Subscribers
- Events | Conferences | Meetings | Webinars
- Shop | Store | Branded Name of Commerce
- Code of Ethics | Policy | Resources | Advocacy
Test, Measure, Refine, Optimize
The lifeblood of any association is its members and the mission they are trying to fulfill. It is important to understand that members’ needs are never stagnant and all of your digital endeavors should reflect this. Continuous testing, measuring, refining, and optimizing based on data presents the opportunity to see the website through the lens of your members. Leverage information within Google analytics to highlight where members are finding value.
Members’ needs are never stagnant.
Tools like A/B testing can be a great opportunity to see what content is working and what is not. This continuous process leads to a better optimized experience and in the end gives more credibility to any association’s purpose and mission.
The digital landscape is full of technology options for associations. But more important than the technology selected is the strategy and plan to execute it. Put yourself in the shoes of your members, take a “human-centered approach” to all of your digital endeavors, and watch as membership engagement grows.
As a Business Development Executive, Mike Kovach focuses on guiding and helping to grow current and new customer digital presence. Mike collaborates with the Adage team to make sure clients are following best practices aligning business goals with the ever changing digital world.