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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

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

SaaS Customer Onboarding: A 3-Step Guide for Streamlined Success

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 12, 2019 at 8:18 AM | 5 minute read

Like making a first impression with a new acquaintance, SaaS customer onboarding has a big effect on whether your customer’s trajectory with your company is positive or negative.

Imagine you’re the main point of contact or user of the software element your company has purchased. You had a great experience with the salesperson, but now that you’ve signed the deal, you’re unsure about next steps. You find yourself poking around on your own and investing lots of time figuring out what to do next…

This situation doesn’t spell great news for a new customer.

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Topics: B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

11 Elements of a Winning Member Engagement Strategy

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 29, 2019 at 9:11 AM | 10 minute read

If you're involved in community management, you've likely heard of the 90-9-1 principle. The numbers represent speculated percentages of online engagement, with 90 percent of participants only viewing content, 9 percent responding to content, and 1 percent actively participating in the creation of new content.

These numbers seem pretty dismal. It's difficult not to get discouraged by such speculation when your member engagement is so critical to the success of your association as a whole.

Member engagement isn’t an easy, snap-your-fingers kind of thing, but when you have an engaged member base, the work is totally worth it. Achieving great engagement requires a commitment to a great member engagement strategy.

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

What’s the Difference Between Automation Rules and Marketing Automation, Anyway?

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 23, 2019 at 7:50 AM | 3 minute read

Automation rules. Marketing automation. Two terms that sound similar (and sort of are) except for the fact that they tend to be siloed into two separate spheres of community and marketing.

Though it’s a tad confusing, it’s no coincidence that these two key Higher Logic features both use the word “automation,” because it reminds us how closely and effectively the two tools can work together. And for what? Improving member communications.  

To eliminate any potential confusion, let’s look at some expanded definitions – what do these terms really mean?

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Marketing, Associations, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

Making Connections, Expanding Reach, Improving Data: A Trade Association’s Community Story [Case Study]

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 8, 2019 at 9:15 AM | 6 minute read

Staying relevant, providing value, connecting with members and customers – do these challenges sound familiar to you and your organization? Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) was thinking through these goals.

Leadership had sensed that PPAI’s relationship with members wasn’t very “sticky.” Members might pay dues so they could gain education at tradeshows or access a search tool, but the connection didn’t go much deeper.

PPAI wanted to find a way to show members the real value of their membership.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Associations, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Member Retention in 2019: Why They Leave & 3 Ways to Keep Them

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 19, 2018 at 8:27 AM | 12 minute read

Member retention: it’s always on our minds. In 2019, how do you plan to get your members to stick around? When people face so many competing demands for time, attention, and money, this question is bigger than ever.  

The Membership Marketing Benchmark Report asked associations why they think members don’t renew. The two biggest reasons they mentioned, after “lack of engagement (37%) were: 

  • Members could not justify membership costs with any significant ROI (28%) 
  • Members thought their membership lacked value (23%) 

If you’re wondering how to attack the retention question this year, these stats are a pretty good indicator of where you should start.  

We talked about engagement pretty extensively in another post, so, I want to get into this idea of value.  

These stats are really about how your members perceive the value of their membership with your association. You could be offering what you think are the best membership benefits in the world, but if these benefits aren’t what your members are looking for, they won’t value them. Furthermore, they may not be willing to pay up when it comes time to renew their membership.  

So, how can we bridge this divide between what you’re offering, and your members’ expectations? 

We need to take a member-first approach, and we’ll get there through: 1) research, 2) refinement, and 3) follow through. 

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Topics: Member Retention, Marketing Automation, Online Community

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