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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

8 Tips to Write Emails Your Association Members Will Open

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 8, 2019 at 12:51 PM | 8 minute read

Let me guess – your inbox is overflowing with so much content that you don’t know which way is up, much less which emails are worth your time. What to open? What to ignore? It’s a relatable circumstance for anyone with an email address (and fun fact: active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion by 2019). Keep this in mind when trying to reach your busy members.

A “good” email open rate among members depends on your industry and the end goal of your email.

Recent data shows that:

  • The average email open rate (across all industries) is 16.19%
  • The average email open rate for the Civic/Social Membership industry (e.g., associations, chambers, clubs) is 23.09%

If your target audience has opted into your communications, the open rate should be on the higher end. How do your association’s metrics stack up? Regardless of how great your content is, if your members aren’t opening your emails, your message isn't getting out there.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Associations, Member Engagement, Email Marketing

6 Tips to Maximize the Success of Your Association’s Publication

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 2, 2019 at 2:47 PM | 6 minute read

If your association is interested in maximizing the educational value its offering members, you might already know that having a publication is a great asset to your content strategy. Association members want to learn, and there are multiple different ways publications can support that.

For example, an annual event publication could be your biggest print run of the year – and a huge opportunity for revenue growth and boosting member knowledge. But what if you aren’t seeing the results you want to see? What if your readers aren't engaged? To get your members excited about your association’s publication, you have to deliver one that grabs their attention and delivers the resources they want and need.

If your association’s publication isn’t performing well, it’s time to assess your strategy. If your association has never considered creating a publication, ask yourself why.

Association publications boast a number of benefits, presenting opportunities to:

    • Establish your association as an industry thought leader
    • Strengthen the knowledge of your members + readers
    • Build rapport with your community
    • Enhance professional relationships with partners + sponsors
    • Improve member retention
    • Increase non-dues revenue

Did that get your attention? (That last benefit tends to get people excited.)

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Topics: Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Advertising, Events

8 Reasons Your Customer Support Improves with an Online Community

Written by Nick Mignogna on May 1, 2019 at 10:14 AM | 9 minute read

In today's global economy, you're no longer competing with just the businesses in your town. You're competing around the world, and you may offer similar products and services to half a dozen other vendors, maybe more. You need a way to differentiate yourself outside of product and price, which can only be tweaked so much.

Smart businesses that find themselves in this situation turn to customer support as the differentiator.

Excellent customer service and support are highly effective ways to stand out because they also build loyalty among your customers. It will often cause them to select you for renewals and recommend you even if your prices are higher than the competition. Just consider these stats:

  • 95% of global consumers said good customer service is an important influencer of their brand loyalty [Microsoft]
  • 61% have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service [Microsoft]
  • 75% of companies believe they’re customer centric, while only 30 percent of consumers agreed [Capgemini]

Clearly, there’s a major divide between perception and a hard reality.

So how do you create a great customer service experience that puts you on the right side of these statistics?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Online Community

8 Practical Ways to Boost Engagement with Mobile Event Apps

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 25, 2019 at 1:00 PM | 7 minute read

Here’s a fun forecast: The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to reach 7.26 billion in 2020. With (nearly) the entire human population walking around with a mobile device in their pocket, it should come as no surprise that people expect a certain level of connectivity in their experiences. Businesses can tap into this potential with a mobile app for their events.

Meeting and conference attendees increasingly expect ways to engage organizers, presenters, and each other – from the moment they register until months after the event. Mobile event apps can be integrated with an online community platform to drive engagement prior to and following an event. This can help demonstrate value to attendees and improve their overall experience.

Let’s get ‘appy and talk about how organizations can cost-effectively enable staff, attendees, speakers, and sponsors to connect and provide feedback during a conference or other event.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Super Forum, Advertising

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

Build a Sustainable Brand with Purpose-Driven Marketing

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 18, 2019 at 1:48 PM | 5 minute read

Purpose – what is it? If you’re thinking “the name of Justin Bieber’s fourth album”... that would be correct, but this word carries more weight than his millions of fans.

In the 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, titled ‘From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand,’ Accenture Strategy defines purpose in the following way:

“pur·pose /ˈ pərpəs / Noun: The reason why something exists. For companies, it is the foundation of every experience. It is the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary.”

In an increasingly competitive landscape, purpose-driven marketing is about more than building your brand or boosting your revenue. It’s about building a better world, long-term, alongside the people who share your brand’s passion to drive positive change and make a real impact.

To build a sustainable brand, equipped with valuable brand advocates and stakeholders, make an effort to strengthen it by delivering something beyond price and quality.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, 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

Talkin’ SaaS Stats: Customer Success is Having a Moment

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 11, 2019 at 1:47 PM | 6 minute read

Which begs the question…what took so long? It’s simple. Without customers, you don’t have a business. Without happy customers, you don’t have a successful, profitable, sustainable business. For B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, investing in customer success isn’t optional – or, at least it shouldn’t be, at this stage in the game.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community

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

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