With exploding phones, a divisive election, and major international news, 2016 certainly kept up on our toes. But through all the turmoil, we found that associations and businesses remained focused on what they do best - serving their customers and members.
No one is sure how that mission will evolve in 2017, but we know we can learn from the changes and advances from last year. That's why we've put together our 12 top articles from 2016. These articles will give you a head start on 2017, covering topics from member engagement to business management.
Which of these did you catch throughout the year and which did you miss?
Top 3 Member Engagement Articles
You're too busy to waste your time with efforts that aren't effective. This article walks associations and businesses through a 5-step process to evaluate your engagement efforts so you can keep doing what works and improve on what doesn't to get the best results.
Not everyone enjoys posting in your forums or reading email newsletters every week. You need to understand who your members are and what they like to interact with before you develop an engagement plan.
This post will get you off to a good start with three common types of association members and their preferred ways to engage. It includes detailed information on what motivates each member type as well as the tasks they'll excel at in your membership software or private online community.
Article #3) 5 Myths About Measuring Member Engagement
Member engagement is an ephemeral idea. Everyone likes to talk about it, but it's difficult to quantify. At least, that's how it seems at first glance. In this post we dive into five myths that have surrounded the idea of customer and member engagement for years. Some of them are based on truth, but more are myths that you can easily overcome with the right techniques and technology.
Top 3 Online Community Articles
There's a lot of similar terminology floating around and unless you're a technology mastermind, it can be difficult to tell similar platforms apart. That's why we put together this detailed description of online communities, forums, portals, and knowledge bases. We go into exactly what each term means, as well as how they're different from one another.
Use this information to select the right software for your organization, not something that has too much or too little functionality.
Article #2) How to Set SMART Goals for Your Online Community
Your online community doesn't exist for no reason. It's a business initiative that can help you increase revenue, retention, and satisfaction by engaging your customers or association members. So what do you want to focus on? How should you manage your community to achieve the best outcomes?
By the time you're finished with this article, you'll be ready to tackle a crucial first step in making your online community successful: setting goals. Your goals will have five key elements that will make them realistic and actionable. With the advice from this article, you'll also know you have that your goals are the right ones to steer your community toward the type of success.
Millennials are one of the largest generations in history and they now make up the majority of the workforce. That means that if today's businesses and associations want to thrive in the future, they have to find ways to connect with millennials "“ and online communities may be their way in.
Why? Because millennials are the first true digital natives. They've been building communities like Myspace, Facebook, and even Pokémon Go! for their entire lives. Use the research and conclusions in this article to find out if building an online community could help you reach your millennial audience.
Top 3 Association Management Articles
It's common practice to give away some content (think blog posts and benchmarking studies) for free to attract new members to your website. That free content gives people a taste of your association's expertise and the value of being a member. But if you give away everything for free, you actually devalue your association's membership.
Here are three reasons why you need to strike a balance between free and gated content so your association both attracts new visitors and convinces them to join.
Article #2) 3 Facebook Live Ideas for Associations
The power of online video skyrocketed in 2016. Along with that came the rise of Facebook Video, which Facebook's algorithm now prioritizes above your association's other updates. To help you reach more members and potential members, you need to add Facebook Live video to your marketing arsenal. These three ideas for live video will help.
Websites are no longer static brochures thrown on the internet. They're now dynamic, personalized experiences that have the power to draw your members and prospects into a deeper, more valuable relationship with your association. Use these three tips to transform your website into a modern, interactive experience that members enjoy.
Top 3 Customer Engagement Articles
Losing customers is an unavoidable part of running a business. Some people will go to your competitors, others will simply stop purchasing your product because they no longer need it. But losing these customers doesn't have to have a negative impact on your metrics. If you achieve net negative churn you can lose customers and still grow your business. This article will help you understand how.
Your current customers likely spend between 20% and 40% more than new customers, making them one of your greatest assets. That's not the only benefit of your current customers, either. There are five key ways that current customers can help increase your sales and revenue, and you'll find them in this article.
As noted in the previous article, your current customers are incredibly valuable. However, they're not just valuable in terms of direct sales. Existing customers drive business growth in three key ways, all of which you can encourage through customer marketing. Go through this post to learn just how powerful your current customers are.
2016's Top Articles Takeaway
As for the next 12 months, it's hard for anyone to say exactly what will happen. We're certain that more changes are on their way, including some breakthrough technology, new business techniques, and membership trends. But even if you're caught off guard by this year's changes, these twelve articles have insight you can count on. They'll be valuable well into the future, regardless of what 2017 has in store for us.