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Elizabeth Bell

Elizabeth is a content specialist at Higher Logic. When she's not writing about online communities or marketing automation, you'll probably find her cooking, reading, or playing volleyball.

Recent Posts

3 Benefits of a Customer Advisory Board for Your Software Company

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 9, 2019 at 10:53 AM | 5 minute read

Do you have a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) or customer advisory council? A lot of software companies do. It’s one of those boxes that you check because you know it’s a best practice.

But something else that’s common is when companies check the CAB box just to have one, but don’t end up doing much with it (likely because of the workload it takes to manage). Rather than becoming the product and customer experience-changing entity that it has the potential to be, many CABs go into hibernation, never to be heard from again.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to mobilize your CAB for action.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Support, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

What is a Social Business Model? 8 Companies Doing it Right

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 23, 2019 at 12:19 PM | 17 minute read

Once upon a time, during the initial rise of social media platforms and online communities, people were aflutter about what these new developments would mean for their business. The term “social” seemed to compound every business buzzword, making it difficult to understand what a social business really looks like.

In today’s world, the social business model has become an expectation, rather than a new idea.

Here’s our formal definition:

What is a Social Business Model? The social business model is a framework utilized by companies to improve their customers’ experiences, using online channels to prioritize customer success and customer engagement.

Now that we (and the social business model) are older and wiser, we can reflect on what the impact of the introduction of these platforms. To help illustrate the concept better, we’ve compiled a list of eight companies we think are using the social business model well. Spoiler alert: Netflix is one of them. 

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

3 Communication Tips to Increase Donations to Your Nonprofit

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 16, 2019 at 10:57 AM | 6 minute read

I bet you have some donors or constituents who open all your emails. And I bet you have some donors who don’t open any, and others who are this close to unsubscribing if they get just one more email from you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a communication strategy that accounted for these three types of donors and everyone in between? A strategy that engages donors about what they’re interested in, rather than pushing them away?

With a strategy like this, you could make a significant contribution to your nonprofit’s fundraising initiatives. How? Even the communications that aren’t about fundraising are vital to engaging your donors or pushing them away. And with the right communication strategy, you’ll advance your ultimate fundraising goals.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Nonprofits and Charities, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Donor Retention

4 Questions to Help You Choose the Best Stock Photo for Your Content Marketing Campaigns

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 9, 2019 at 9:54 AM | 8 minute read

Choosing imagery for your content marketing campaigns is really hard. It’s easy to pick the wrong thing: something boring, unengaging, or off-brand, something that will become outdated, or something that makes people think “Why does that photo exist?” [See the photo we chose for this blog header? Case in point.]

Or what if you pick an image from page 1 of a stock photo site that’s been used so much people actually realize they’ve seen it before? Just this weekend, I saw a stock photo I’ve seen a thousand times on Shutterstock used as the main creative on a prominent highway billboard. Awkward, no?

When you get into it, it can be surprising how difficult finding the best photo can be.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Marketing to Your Existing Customers

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 2, 2019 at 9:24 AM | 5 minute read

Bringing in new business is and always will be important. However, marketing doesn’t end when the ink is dry on the contract. Where are you focusing your efforts after that initial sale?

Your new customers shouldn’t disappear into a black hole, never to hear from you again – that initial transaction should be the start of their defined customer journey, complete with strategic touchpoints for success.

Engaging current customers positively impacts overall business goals in several ways, including increasing revenue by generating opportunities for sales of additional products and services.

The problem is that not enough companies connect these top goals with customer marketing. Let’s explore three reasons why you should hone in on marketing to your existing customers.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, Online Community

4 Reasons You Should Integrate Your Learning Management System and Community [Case Study]

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 27, 2019 at 7:50 AM | 4 minute read

Imagine this: You’re inspecting a wind turbine about 350 feet up in the air. You’re there to repair a gear in the gearbox to keep the turbine turning at about 80 meters per second. You’re very capable, as you’ve learned your trade on the job with some specialized training, but you’re a sole proprietor, and you’ve got some questions. Who do you turn to?

The American Gear Manufacturing Association (AGMA), a trade association with about 500 member companies of various sizes, recognized that its members were facing these types of challenges, so it jumped to fill the gap.

To provide its members with access to the education and training they needed in a useable, relevant way, AGMA invested in Higher Logic’s Learning Management System (LMS).

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Online Community, Learning Management Systems

4 Tips for Generating More Non-Dues Revenue from Advertising

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 19, 2019 at 12:22 PM | 7 minute read

If you’re from the Midwest, you probably know someone who loves pickling anything and everything. (Or maybe you’re that person?)

The picklers I know are all about pickling – from eggs to cukes to fruits. (Come to think of it, it might not just be a Midwestern thing – Portlandia’s “We Can Pickle That,” anyone?) There’s always a waste to prevent or a profit to be made or a gift to be given when you know how to pickle.

And, it’s not too hard to do: If you’ve got pots and jars, something to pickle, stick to the process, and invite a few taste testers, then you’re golden.

You’re now totally confused about why we’re talking about pickling in an advertising post. Well, maybe preserving food or other perishable items in brine isn’t your thing, but is extra profit for your organization your thing? Sure it is, so you can apply these same principles (the principles of pickling) to advertising at your organization.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Communities, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Your 5-Step Guide to a Streamlined Member Communications Schedule

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 12, 2019 at 7:58 AM | 4 minute read

Picture this: Last month, your marketing department sent five emails to members promoting your annual event, while your membership department called members three times about the event. On top of this, your events team sent out two reminder emails. But everyone thought everyone else was on top of reminding members about the upcoming advocacy initiative, so no one sent them anything about it.

Sound familiar? If so, interdepartmental silos might be keeping you from an effective member communications schedule.

Member communications often hover between extremes like this - too much and too little, or both. The best place to be is just right (Goldilocks’ porridge, anyone?). But too often, departmental silos and lack of communication tip the balance toward extremes.

Getting over this interdepartmental communication hurdle is key to achieving the ultimate goal for a member communications schedule: increasing engagement by personalizing content for each member, based on their needs and interests.

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Topics: Communications, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

4 Steps to Create Your Omnichannel Engagement Strategy

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 6, 2019 at 10:13 AM | 5 minute read

Most people like being “regulars.” When you walk into your favorite coffee shop, and the barista greets you warmly, starts preparing the usual for you, and asks how your daughter’s big soccer tournament went, doesn’t it make you feel good? The feeling of being known and cared for is universally appreciated, even if it’s on a small level.

Many membership organizations are facing a challenge right now. And it comes down to making members feel like regulars in a quickly-evolving digital world.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

5-Step Guide to Calculating Your Member Retention Rate

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 19, 2019 at 9:16 AM | 5 minute read

Ah, member retention. When it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s bad, we worry.

In fact, 46 percent of associations reported that increasing member retention is one of their top membership goals, according to the Membership Marketing Benchmark Report.

If you’re worrying about member retention, the first place to start is to find out how you’re doing on paper. Once you have your membership retention numbers on hand, calculating your member retention rate is simple (don’t worry, math-haters, we’ll help you get there with a step-by-step guide).

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Topics: Associations, Member Retention, Online Community

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