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Communications Posts

Webinar Recap: Attracting Young Professionals to Your Association

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 27, 2020 at 11:52 AM | 5 minute read

To attract young professionals to your association, you have to understand what matters to them in their early career stages and what really drives them to succeed. Wondering how to get in the mindset of a young professional in today’s world? 

This week, Higher Logic teamed up with Community Brands to host a webinar on just that – strategizing for the next generation. 

Discussion hosts Vivian Swertinski, Higher Logic Sr. Strategist, and Tara Pawlak, Community Brands Director of Marketing, shared top strategies that associations are using to grow their young professional membership, including: 

  • Young member priorities, like job opportunities and professional development
  • Building a network of peers and mentors within your industry
  • Personalizing your communications during recruitment and retention 

Fun fact: Job opportunities are one of the most sought-after benefits associations can offer. As Tara noted in the webinar:

“In times of economic uncertainty, association job boards see an increase in job seeker traffic, as professionals turn to them as a resource to help fortify against risk or find new job opportunities.”

Let’s go over some actionable insights from our experts, based on industry data, that can help you reach professionals earlier in their careers.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

MTI's Story: Harnessing Community to Digitally Transform

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 24, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

The Metal Treating Institute (MTI) is a nonprofit trade association built to support its members, companies in the heat treating business. It has 370 member companies across 40 U.S. states and Canada. MTI adopted an online community in 2009. This is their digital transformation story.

Wondering how your association can stay relevant, effectively connect with younger members, save staff time, increase revenue, and boost retention? We’ll let MTI tell you. 

Before MTI adopted an online community, it was short on staff, didn’t have an AMS, and its revenue was decreasing. The trade association needed to update its value proposition dramatically to thrive again. That’s where the value of communities came in.

MTI chose community as a tool for digital transformation, and has achieved the following successes with less than 4 full-time staff members: 

  • 50% decrease in transactional requests due to community
  • 2600% revenue growth in 14 years
  • 97% member retention rate

How do they do it? We sat down with Tom Morrison, MTI CEO, and Kristen Speer, MTI Director of Member Experience, to hear their story and learn about how they’ve harnessed the power of online communities to tap into the future of their membership and provide maximum value. 

“We’ve used technology, including our online community, our learning management system, and our benchmarking database to empower our members, help them do more for themselves, connect with them, and expand services without expanding staff. We’ve turned MTI around.” -Tom Morrison, MTI CEO 

As you scroll on to soak up lessons from MTI’s strategy, be sure to watch the videos featured throughout to hear about MTI’s digital transformation directly from Tom and Kristen.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

7 Hard Questions to Evaluate Your Digital Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 21, 2020 at 8:45 AM | 5 minute read

The hard truth: Your digital customer experience may be disjointed. Forrester Research writes, “Digital experience delivery is a business-critical obligation.” 

For many companies today, especially B2B or SaaS companies, the digital customer experience is the customer experience. Your customers likely interact with you almost entirely online (as they do things like submit support tickets, tag your business profiles on social media, or visit your website), making evaluating your customers’ digital experience a key step on the road to improving it.

You might think your digital customer experience is pretty good. But you won’t know until you take a closer look. Asking these seven questions will help you assess and improve the state of your digital customer experience.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

10 Association Communications Stats with Tips to Reach Younger Members More Effectively

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 4, 2020 at 6:45 AM | 9 minute read

A cheer for 2020: 

📣 What do your members want? [Personalized content customized to their interests!] 

📣 Where do they want it? [Delivered to their inboxes, online community dashboards, and everywhere they consume content.] 

📣 When do they want it? [...Yesterday.]

But don’t fret - today works, too!

The sooner associations wake up to the reality that their multigenerational membership base isn’t going to retain itself with an outdated communications strategy, the sooner they can break through to emerging generations and maximize overall engagement and retention.

Here’s what we know: Recent data shows associations are increasingly struggling to engage young professionals, effectively utilize technology to cut through the clutter, and clearly communicate membership value.

Here’s what else we know: You can reach and retain younger members by exceeding their expectations with a customized member experience that meets them where they are in their careers, and positions you to grow together. You’re on the same team. Cheer for each other.

Let’s explore 10 of the newest industry statistics revealing various association communication challenges, and thus, opportunities for strategic improvement.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Onboarding for Retention: How to Engage New Members for the Long Term

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 23, 2019 at 2:55 PM | 6 minute read

Onboarding new members is a critical step for associations, and often one that is missed or under-emphasized. That first year of membership has a big influence on whether that member will renew with you.

If you’re onboarding with the goal of retention (and you should be), it’s all about connecting your members and continuing to engage them at strategic touchpoints. Engagement during their first year of membership, and every year after, is how you keep members around.

When evaluating how your onboarding program is doing, ask yourselves if these three things are true about your program:

  1. Are members quickly introduced your association’s benefits, like your member network and key resources?
  2. Are members drawn in so much that they want to remain and participate?
  3. Are staff able to introduce members to these benefits on a large scale and in a personalized way?

If the answer to any of these was no, don’t worry. We’ve got the resources you need to get your onboarding program where you want it to be.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Member Journey Has Changed: Are You Changing With It?

Written by Tom Lehman on May 16, 2019 at 9:08 AM | 4 minute read

“Digital transformation” is leaving no stone unturned. Its effects aren’t limited just to big consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix Uber. Technology has changed how people travel down the path toward membership at your association, and how they engage with your association if or when they join.

A member’s experience with your association or nonprofit used to look different. They might hear about you through a direct mail flyer, send in a check to join, and attend a conference once a year. That was association membership. Their journey to joining your association was linear and sequential.

Now, they come to your association at various stages of the funnel, or the member/buyer’s journey. And along the way, they expect a different experience from what was the norm 20 years ago.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Nonprofits and Charities, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

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

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

The Importance of Language for Your Community

Written by Ben Rossell | on April 4, 2019 at 9:21 AM | 4 minute read

I recently read Trevor Owens’ book, Designing Online Communities, which looks at the design process for web communities from a cross-disciplinary perspective. He discusses how psychology, sociology, history, linguistics and other fields of study can influence and inform our thinking about online communities.

Owens showcased the value of taking time to think about and develop a language for an online community. After reading his case, I’ve put together three questions on language that you can consider to improve your community’s language.

Let’s discuss the importance of language for your community, highlight where we’ve seen language used effectively, and dive into what we can do better as online communities.

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Topics: Communications, Online Community Management, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Online Community

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