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Member Experience Posts

Building Buy-In for an Online Community at Your Association

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 29, 2020 at 12:09 PM | 11 minute read

You don't have to be a hypnotist or a master of persuasion to build support for an online community among your association’s board and executive team.

Instead, you need to align your new online community with the mission and priorities of your association's leadership.

It’s easy to say, harder to do – but we’ll walk you through what you need to get there, including aligning with your association’s overall priorities and overcoming common objectives.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Email Marketing, Online Community, Events

6 Ways Associations Can Use Webinars to Engage Members and Increase Non-Dues Revenue

Written by Lindsay Rutz | on May 20, 2020 at 8:45 AM | 4 minute read

Video conferencing and virtual events have never been more important to business as it is now - especially for associations who need to keep members engaged and revenues high. 

Associations can run different types of webinars to make up for lost revenue from canceled annual events and continue giving members a helpful, engaging, relevant experience. 

Check out these six ideas for creating engaging webinars that deliver a valuable experience to your association’s members:

  1. Create Educational Opportunities
  2. Use Webinars to Communicate 
  3. Onboard New Members
  4. Run Networking/Online Career Fairs Virtually
  5. Capitalize on Sponsorship
  6. Showcase Benefits of Technology
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Topics: Engagement, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Want to Maximize Association Membership Value? Create Indispensable Engagement

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 13, 2020 at 9:25 AM | 3 minute read

Although “engaging people” might not seem like the most groundbreaking approach to organizational growth, it’s a simple idea that has wide-reaching effects.

What is engagement, at its core? The more connected we are to something, the more we love it. We develop memories surrounding the people, the experiences, and the things we learn. We’re most attached to the groups or organizations that we’re most involved in.

This engagement produces things like higher retention, increased member satisfaction, and a larger membership.

And the inverse is true. You might be experiencing the effects of a lack of engagement at your association now, without realizing the source of the problem. What are those effects?

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

How Associations Are Using Community to Support Their Members During COVID-19

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 14, 2020 at 4:22 PM | 6 minute read

Over the past month, as our customers shared ideas about responding to COVID-19 in our users community, HUG, we noticed some simple but impactful ways associations are using their communities to support their members and their industries.

And it makes sense: In a time when we’re all craving connection, what’s more perfect than a community dedicated to your success and your industry?

We spoke with a few of those customers to hear more about their initiatives, and we're sharing a few of these observations with you, to encourage you and maybe inspire some ideas for your own organization.

We're sharing four ways we're seeing communities used to bring connection and enhance these associations' missions during these times.

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Topics: Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Online Community, Events

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

10 Ways to Learn with Higher Logic

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 24, 2020 at 8:00 AM | 7 minute read

Here at Higher Logic, we’re passionate about lifelong learning and dedicated to providing resources to drive our customers’ to achieve their goals. Education is the foundation of success. 

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Topics: Member Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Super Forum, Learning Management Systems, Product News

5 Tips for Implementing an LMS to Increase Productivity

Written by Amber Winter on January 23, 2020 at 8:15 AM | 6 minute read

One of the main functions of an association is facilitating the professional development of your members. This could mean providing networking opportunities (maybe through an online member community), posting job openings, and even providing continuing education (CE) programs. Today, we’re going to focus on CE opportunities.

It’s vital for industry professionals to stay up-to-date on their learning, whether that’s renewing certifications or diving into the latest innovations in their industries. However, it’s no secret that perpetual learning is less-than-engaging to some.

It’s vital to provide content that’s truly engaging to increase members’ productivity with continuing education programs. The easiest way to do this is by implementing a Learning Management System (LMS). Check out the following tips for doing so:

  1. Choose the right LMS for your association’s needs.
  2. Promote social and live learning opportunities.
  3. Create timely courses and keep members informed.
  4. Analyze trends surrounding your course offerings.
  5. Integrate your AMS and LMS for heightened abilities.

Continue reading to learn more about incorporating an association learning management system (LMS) to increase the productivity of your members.

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

2020 Association Tech: 3 Expert Tips to Guide Your Planning

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on December 19, 2019 at 11:51 AM | 7 minute read

Good news: Four association experts sat down to share their favorite trends and lessons learned from the newly rebranded ASAE Technology Exploration Conference (TEC) and their valuable conversation can help guide your association’s 2020 planning strategy for success. 

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Topics: Member Experience, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

How to Start a Mentoring Program People Want to Participate In

Written by Elizabeth Bell on November 20, 2019 at 7:43 AM | 5 minute read

Think back to your first job out of college. You were probably excited and wanted to learn everything.

Along the way, did you have someone who mentored you and helped you along in your profession? If so, you probably never forgot that relationship and the people who made an impact on your career (and possibly your life).

Many people want a mentoring relationship like this, but don’t pursue one because of barriers like feeling intimidated or not finding the right match.

Your association is the perfect place to connect members with the perfect mentor or mentee. In fact, Marketing General revealed that 48 percent of associations say participation in their mentoring program has increased—a clear indicator that members are seeking this benefit.

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

Association Management Systems (AMS): 5 Software Strategies

Written by Jake Fabbri on October 22, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 7 minute read

Your association provides your members with many different opportunities to develop as professionals and grow in their careers.

But to do this effectively, you need to have a system in place for gathering, organizing, and accessing the member information that provides you with insight into their goals and preferences: an association management system, or an AMS. As you get larger or want to offer more advanced programming, managing your membership through spreadsheets or disconnected databases just won’t cut it.

(Already use an AMS for your association? These tips will help you make the most of your investment.)

Let’s take a look at how your association can use your AMS to engage and provide for your members with these five strategies:

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration, Events

3 Add-on Tools to Drive Association Revenue + Amplify Member Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on October 17, 2019 at 2:07 PM | 7 minute read

Is your association leveraging technology to its fullest potential? You can elevate the success of your online community and marketing automation activities by integrating solutions that fuel long-term engagement, like data collection, mobile apps, and volunteer management programs. 

If you know data exists within your online community and marketing automation activities, but you aren’t leveraging it to inform your ability to provide a targeted, valuable member experience, well - it’s as if Charlie Bucket found a golden ticket then decided he didn’t feel like going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory that day. 

Magical experiences are earned on the other side of diligent courage and execution. Embrace change. Identify what you need to deliver the member experience you want, and learn how to make the data work for you.

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

6 Must-Have Learning Management System (LMS) Features

Written by Bobby Kaighn on October 3, 2019 at 9:58 AM | 6 minute read

Advanced education (certifications, specialized job training, professional development programs, and competency-based learning) is an area where associations thrive. Not only does this content establish you as a thought leader and invaluable resource in your industry, but it also can be a huge revenue-generator.

You can deliver advanced education for both new and experienced professionals through an easy-to-access, effective Learning Management System, or LMS. But when you’re comparing different LMS software, how do you know which features are essential?

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Learning Management Systems

EdTA’s Online Community Energizes + Inspires Theatre Educators

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 13, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 5 minute read

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

John Donne

Members flock to the Educational Theatre Association’s (EdTA) public member community, the Theatre Education Community. EdTA uses the community to bring theatre educators and professionals all together, with the ultimate goals of boosting their careers, igniting their passion, and helping them help students pursue theatre.

We caught up with Ginny Butsch, community engagement manager at EdTA, to hear more about how the community connects and empowers members.

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Topics: Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Association Tips: 6 Irresistible Member Benefits that Convince People to Join and Renew

Written by Elizabeth Bell on July 18, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 7 minute read

Getting people to join your association is like making a sale. You need to offer them something they want enough that they’re willing to pay for it.

The problem is that many other organizations have similar offers and value propositions. So what benefits can you provide that convince people to join – and stay – with your association?

Here are six member benefit ideas that should do the trick.

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Topics: Engagement, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

39 Online Community Stats You Should Know From 2019

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 13, 2019 at 8:58 AM | 6 minute read

Check out 2020 online community stats here

The Community Roundtable annually releases The State of Community Management Report, and it’s chock-full of timely online community stats to help inform your strategies in the year ahead.

Community is increasingly recognized as a valuable and effective way to create complex organizational change, and The Community Roundtable’s research has backed up and lead that effort by finding hard data and facts.

We’ve pulled out 39 of our favorite stats from the 2019 report that you should know going into 2020 (but don’t worry, there’s more stats and info to be had in the full report!)

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Public Social Media Network or Private Online Community? 11 Tips to Guide Your Decision

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 6, 2019 at 2:10 PM | 8 minute read

Would you build your house on rented land? Or move all your belongings into a hotel room?

The answers are obvious. No, you wouldn’t, because you’d be trying to create something permanent in an impermanent place that you don’t own, where things could change at any moment.

Could the same concept apply to building a community for your customers or members on social media? We think so.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community, Integration, Advertising

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

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

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

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 | 6 minute read

How can you set your association up for a solid financial future with flexible, non-dues revenue streams?

Don't rely only on membership dues to keep your association strong and healthy.

Invest in quality digital advertising space, make engagement growth a priority, promote your available ad space, and strike a good advertising balance so that you can increase exposure for your own initiatives or bring in more outside sponsorship, all leading to additional non-dues revenue.

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

What is an Online Community? The Basics & Benefits

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on March 7, 2019 at 11:25 AM | 6 minute read

In the fast-paced world of modern technology, many leadership executives and organizations understand that building online communities for their customers or members to learn, share, and collaborate is critical for increasing growth and relevancy.

They know that successful online communities can help them engage and inspire their audience, creating the unique and individual experiences that improve the overall customer experience (CX). Focusing on CX in tandem with your online community is incredibly valuable in terms of driving loyalty, by the way.

Research from the Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to gain, on average, an additional $775 million over 3 years of investing in customer experience (with SaaS companies standing to earn the most, at $1 billion).

For those who are still learning or want to brush up on their knowledge, we’re here to offer some clarity on what a successful online community is and how it can benefit organizational growth by helping you deliver value to your customers, partners, members, or prospects.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

How Engagement Tools Improve Association Event Management

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 28, 2019 at 12:20 PM | 5 minute read

Interested in filling more chairs at your next event? Achieving this goal is easier said than done without effective tools, but it’s a common core objective among associations (for good reason).

It is incredibly gratifying for associations to see a spike in event attendance, as participation plays a valuable role in their impact, but poor event management can cause your members to disengage.

Exploring new ways to keep your members engaged and informed about your events can increase overall member satisfaction and translate to a boost in event attendance.

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

Does Your Community Throw Love at the World? (Time to Start)

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 14, 2019 at 2:58 PM | 8 minute read

So, I’m sitting here amid three monitors reveling at my flourishing desk plants, surrounded by my fellow marketers and community builders, as the sound coming through my earbuds drowns out their faint keyboard clicks and nearby sneezes, when it hits me: some of y’all aren’t showing your community enough love... and it shows.

I’m listening to the ever-so-delightful Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix’s Emmy-winning show Queer Eye, chat with Reese Witherspoon about lady entrepreneurship on his podcast Getting Curious. As if their charming and gracious voices streaming into my ears wasn’t enough, their conversation is topical and genuine… and Reese just said something low-key amazing:

“I think the most profound thing you can do if you are an artist or a community builder is just throw love at the world, in any capacity you can.”

-Reese Witherspoon

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Topics: Engagement, Member Retention, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Customer Retention, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Improve Intergenerational Communication: 3 Tips to Attract & Retain Younger Members

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 31, 2019 at 2:33 PM | 7 minute read

“Generational hazing has always been a part of our cultural narrative. We need to unite generations to focus on moving forward together.”  –Kim Lear, Keynote Speaker, #HLSF18

When Kim Lear spoke at our most recent Super Forum, she reminded us that improving intergenerational communication has never been more pertinent than now. Tech is still booming with a competitive edge, people are living longer, and younger emerging generations like Millennials and Gen Z’ers will continue to shake up the workplace (and your member base).

Your future success is dependent upon building effective relationships across generational lines, so if you want to know how to attract and retain younger members (or employees), ask yourself:

Am I doing what younger generations actually want, or just what I think they want?

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Topics: Millennials, Member Retention, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

What Burning Man's 10 Principles Can Teach You About Building Community

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on November 29, 2018 at 8:55 AM | 26 minute read

 

Some people might be nervous to tell their employer that they’re jet-setting to the desert for Burning Man — because, wait, what is Burning Man anyway? The answer is not a simple one.  

A festival? Nope. A Mad Max-esque utopia? I’d say so. A party in the desert? Sure, but I’ll get back to that. The largest Leave No Trace (LNT) event in the world? You betcha. A new trend? Nope, this all began (on a much smaller scale) back in 1986 when friends Larry Harvey and Jerry James built an 8-foot tall human effigy and burned it on Baker Beach in San Francisco (population: 35).

The Burning Man organization has been an active community for 32 years and counting, and it’s a community unlike any other I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of.

Whether you’re a community builder or a community member, online or in person, I truly believe we could all stand to learn a thing (or ten) from how the Burning Man community operates. But I won’t lie – it’s incredibly daunting to write about. I don’t know a single soul who can confidently capture its essence with mere words, because it’s very much a “you had to be there” kind of place to understand. Alas, as your resident ‘Burner,’ I vow to do my best.

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Topics: Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Your Guide to Effective, Not Annoying, Marketing Personalization

Written by Elizabeth Bell on November 21, 2018 at 8:45 AM | 15 minute read

Personalization is hot right now. People want to receive relevant, customized recommendations from the brands and organizations they’re interested in. And what’s more, they’ve grown to expect it. But when personalization is sloppy, people get annoyed.  

Adobe’s recent study about email marketing revealed more about these reactions to personalization.  

People appreciate personalization and want to see more of it, but certain mistakes or inaccuracies make personalization frustrating. So, how can we do personalization right, without ending up in the annoying category (or worse…the unsubscribe category)? 

We can’t just drop personalization; in fact, it’s the key to engagement, so it should be a top priority to learn how to do it properly. After all, Accenture Innovative found that almost all consumers (91 percent) are more likely to shop with brands who personalize their experience.  

But first… 

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Topics: Communications, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

[New eBook] The Community Module Guide: How to Support Your Organization’s Business Objectives

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on October 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM | 4 minute read

Have you ever heard someone say “there’s an app for that!” when you complain about your smartphone? Well, if you want to elevate the success and business impact of your online community, trust us –  there’s a module for that.

Customizing your online community is a great way to maximize its impact, propelling your capabilities from basic to extraordinary. But selecting the right add-on modules to invest in can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with their functionality.

Even trickier is this often overlooked fact: what’s our community for in the first place?

There is no one-size-fits-all package of tools on the road to success. When you’re ready to further enhance your community, that’s when the fun of “shopping around” for new modules starts - because your core objectives are already front and center. When that time comes, The Community Module Guide will map you in the direction of the right tools to support your goals.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Volunteer Management, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Do Your Members Love or Hate Your Emails? (4 Tips for Getting Their Feedback)

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on September 18, 2018 at 7:55 AM | 4 minute read

We all know our audience is the key to great email performance, but it can be hard to know whether your audience likes reading your emails. Sometimes, it can feel like the only feedback we get is the dreaded unsubscribe button.

But with marketing automation, getting feedback can be easy. There’s plenty of evidence and ways to track performance with marketing automation. The data’s all there, and it’s easier to find than you think.

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Topics: Engagement, Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation

Integrate for Success: 3 Sweet Results of AMS Integrations

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 28, 2018 at 8:00 AM | 6 minute read

Think of your database, your AMS, as the center of a wheel.

When you integrate your AMS with your online community platform, the community becomes a spoke on that wheel. Your marketing automation software becomes another spoke on that wheel.

Your AMS feeds these platforms data, and the platforms feed it right back with even more specialized data. It all makes the wheel turn.

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Topics: Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

Marketing Automation: Creepy? Or Just Good Customer Service?

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on August 2, 2018 at 8:20 AM | 5 minute read

You’re shopping online. You put something in your cart, leave the website, and then a few minutes later, you get an email that says, “Oops, looks like you left something behind.” Have you ever had this experience? Turns out, it’s not Big Brother spying on you – it’s just marketing automation at work. An abandoned cart campaign is a perfect example of how marketing automation can be used to create a great user experience.

Tell me more, you say?

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Customer Support, Marketing Automation

5 Marketing Automation Features You Need to Start Using Today

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on July 12, 2018 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

In the survey we did for our recent State of Marketing Automation: Association Benchmark Report, we asked associations what additional marketing automation features they’re using. We discovered that many of them aren’t making use of certain features that could be taking them to the next level.

If you pair this with our finding that one of the biggest marketing automation challenges for associations is a lack of platform knowledge, it starts to look like associations might not be making use of these essential features because they don’t realize what they can do.

Without these features, it’s difficult to make your marketing automation campaigns shine.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Experience, Marketing Automation

What Do Vanity Metrics Have to Do with Marketing Automation Goals?

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on June 28, 2018 at 8:06 AM | 5 minute read

Higher Logic recently released our 2018 State of Marketing Automation: Association Benchmark Report. When I got a chance to pore over the results, I saw a lot of fascinating responses from the survey portion of the report. We asked about all sorts of things, like how they used marketing automation and what their goals and successes were. We also asked about any challenges they were facing.

Those who answered this last question gave some answers we’d expected, like lack of understanding about their software, or the difficulty of finding a platform that fit their needs or skill level perfectly.

But an answer I didn’t expect to see was that they were struggling with their open rates and engagement with the emails in automated campaigns. This was the third most common response for the question – that really made me start to think.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Experience, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

You Could Just Set It and Forget It with Marketing Automation…But Don’t!

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on June 5, 2018 at 8:10 AM | 4 minute read

If you are under the impression that “set it and forget it” is a successful strategy for using marketing automation software, I release you from this spell.

People will say one of the benefits of marketing automation software is that you can simply put the software in action and then let your automated campaigns go their merry way. But just because you have the ability to set your automation rules and then forget about them doesn’t mean this type of strategy will be the most effective.

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Topics: Marketing, Social Media, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Don’t Have to Be Scary. But They’re Scarily Connected.

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on May 30, 2018 at 8:55 AM | 3 minute read

Disclaimer: A real human wrote this post.

Before you start backing away nervously, I know – these two concepts on their own can create stirrings of inner panic. And in a post together? That’s even worse. But, taking a few minutes to sit down and truly understand each one can benefit the marketer. They’re friendlier than they seem, and you’re likely going to be hearing a lot more about them in the marketing world.

This post discusses three common questions about the relationship between marketing automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation

The Evolution of Experience with Marketing Automation

Written by Shayna McGroggan | on December 14, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: marketing automation will save you time and increase your engagement and efficiency. Okay, you’ve definitely heard that one, and it’s all true. The problem is you may not be getting to the biggest benefit that marketing automation has to offer: time.

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Topics: Marketing, Member Experience, Customer Retention, Marketing Automation

Association Revenue Trends in the US and UK (Plus 3 Tips for Increasing Your Income)

Written by Andy Steggles | on October 25, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

The old adage that "change is the only constant" rings true for associations all around the world. Associations have to adapt to new member expectations, advancing technology and the shifting needs of their industries. Today, associations seem to be going through another shift – one that requires them to keep a close eye on their finances.

Driven by a change in what members want and are willing to pay for, associations are seeing changes in their key revenue streams, including which income sources sustain their organizations. That could – and should – change your organization’s priorities.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Use Your Online Community to Better Understand Your Chapters

Written by Julie Dietz on October 24, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Less than half of associations measure key financial or programming metrics for their chapters, according to Mariner Management’s 2016 Chapter Benchmarking Report.

Despite making up such a large part of organizations – the median number of chapters in an association is 51 – that means organizations know very little about their chapters. How are chapter members interacting? What are their priorities? How well are chapters performing?

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Topics: Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

6 Ways Associations Can Improve Chapter Performance

Written by Julie Dietz on October 17, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

If your association has chapters, how many does it have? An impressive 84 is the average according to a 2016 benchmarking report from Mariner Management. That’s a significant number and likely means your chapters have a significant influence on your association’s overall performance.

Since 65 percent of associations don’t have any full-time staff devoted to chapter management, however, building solid relationships and increasing chapter performance is often a challenge.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

9 Steps for Building Member Personas

Written by Julie Dietz on September 28, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

How do you decide what content goes in your emails?

The best associations don’t just think up something to say because they know they need to keep members engaged – they use personas to help them find the most relevant, helpful information for each member.

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Topics: Marketing, Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Choose Wisely: Will an AMS or an Online Community Better Achieve Your Current Goals?

Written by Liam O'Malley on September 26, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

An AMS is one of the largest and most expensive software purchases your association will make – and rightly so. Association Management Software (AMS) is the go-to software tool for membership management and is incredibly valuable.

But should an AMS always be the go-to software for all associations?

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Topics: Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

3 Reasons Why Online Mentoring Programs Attract New Members

Written by Julie Dietz on September 19, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Question: With regard to your association, what’s keeping you up at night?

Answer 1: Not gaining new members.

Answer 2: Figuring out how and where to acquire new members.

These aren’t hypothetical examples. They are direct quotes from Marketing General’s 2017 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, which lists new member acquisition as one of the top three priorities for associations.

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Topics: Millennials, Marketing, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

5 Unexpectedly Thoughtful Ways to Thank Your Association’s Volunteers

Written by Julie Dietz on August 15, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Whether they’re in your office or working remotely, your association probably has volunteers contributing to projects every day. They might be doing multiple microvolunteering activities, serving on a committee, or helping with special initiatives – all of which are essential to your association moving forward. So keep them motivated and feeling valued by showing appreciation for their hard work.

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Topics: Volunteer Management, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How Members’ Website Expectations Have Changed (And How You Can Keep Up)

Written by Julie Dietz on August 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Advances in technology and web design have changed what we expect from the internet and the websites we use every day. A great website five or ten years ago wouldn’t meet the cut today. Think about Facebook’s early design, for instance. It was text-heavy and clunky. (Don’t remember what Facebook was like in 2004? Take a trip down memory lane with PCMag.)

Your association’s website is no different. It needs to meet and adapt to your members evolving and increasingly particular needs. Here are six ways that your members’ website expectations have changed in just the last few years and how you can keep up.

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Topics: Marketing, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

3 Types of Online Learning Experiences Association Members Love (And How to Provide Them)

Written by Julie Dietz on August 3, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Online learning and distance education is on the rise, providing easy-to-access and challenging development opportunities for users. And since associations have traditionally been a major part of post-secondary education—providing practical skills and job training—they’re seeing major benefits from online education.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

How to Improve First-Year Member Retention

Written by Julie Dietz on August 1, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Retention is king. It’s vital to growth and sustainability as well as the success of new member acquisition campaigns. Because how valuable are new members if they stay for just one year?

That’s what many new association members do. They join, pay their dues, and drop their membership a year later. For some associations, first-year members account for more than 70 percent of attrition. That’s a big hit to your growth strategy.

To help your association grow and make acquisition campaigns valuable, you can’t just motivate new members to join. You also need to convince them to stay.

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Topics: Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

How to Find Your Best Content Topics (Without Paying for Market Research)

Written by Julie Dietz on July 27, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

How is your association keeping its offers relevant to members and preparing for the future?

According to a recent study by Leader Networks, most associations – 83 percent – are aligning their products and services to market needs so they meet members’ expectations and stay relevant. That’s a smart goal, but it requires a deep understanding of members and prospects.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

An Introvert’s Guide to Growing a Private Online Community

Written by Julie Dietz on July 6, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Several years ago, ASAE’s keynote presentation was by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Her talk – and her book – changed my world.

While society applauds the gregariousness of extroverts and those who can “work a room,” Susan Cain clearly explains what introverts bring to the table. What is particularly amazing is how she sees introverts thriving in social media. Because introverts can, in fact, be some of the most successful social media and online community managers, all despite their tendency to keep to themselves.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

5 Ways You Know It’s Time to Grow Your Community Management Team

Written by Julie Dietz on June 29, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Growth can be a predicament for any team in any organization. Too early, and you’re shouldering additional cost before it’s warranted. Too late, and you risk overwhelming your employees and dropping the ball on important projects, including delivering value and engaging your audience.

That’s especially true for online communities, where results are driven by content, conversations, and programs such as e-Learning, product feedback and development, and mentoring. In the beginning, one or two people may be able to manage all these projects, but they will likely become strapped for resources as demand grows. And if your team can’t keep up with member and program needs, then your community won’t be effective at generating results.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

How Small-Staff Associations Can Get People to Come Back to their Websites (Without Extra Work)

Written by Julie Dietz on June 22, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Do more with less.

That’s what associations and nonprofits are often tasked with, especially when a small staff is doing website work on top of events, benefit programs, and membership management. Putting your staff in charge of web management means they’re also tasked with attracting more new visitors to your website and convincing everyone – from new visitors to current members – to come back for more.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Nonprofits and Charities, Online Community

6 Quick Website Tweaks that Make a Big Impact

Written by Julie Dietz on February 28, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

If you watch budget design shows on TV, you know that one of the designers’ favorite tricks is paint. It’s cheap, fast, and gives a whole new look to furniture and walls. Rarely do you see a makeover on a budget that doesn’t at least paint an accent wall. White walls hardly ever remain white.

Websites are the white wall of your marketing plan. You can make little changes to pique people’s interest and move potential customers and members further down the sales funnel.

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

What's Next? 6 Membership Trends to Watch in 2017

Written by Christina Green | on December 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

It seems like only yesterday we were worried about what would happen when the computers hit the year 2000. Now it's nearly 2017 and a lot has changed.

Just think about technology. I was watching a movie from 2001 recently and one of the main characters had a laptop. They said the word "laptop" with the same reverence of someone talking about the "goose that laid the golden egg." In 2001, a laptop was a prized possession. Most families had only a desktop because at that time, laptops cost twice as much. Only traveling businessmen cutting-edge techies had them.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

What to Do When Your Members Hate Technology

Written by Christina Green | on November 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

You just discovered amazing new association software that will give your association's staff hours back in their day. It has all the administrative wizardry your staff needs and the member-facing functionality to keep your members and prospects engaged.

You love it. Your board loves it. Your staff is getting excited and you can't wait to roll it out.

Except for one thing.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding for Your Association

Written by Christina Green | on October 31, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

What color is your association's logo? Was it something that was inherited from your founding or did you recently rebrand?

Your logo's color, as well as other colors in your branding, have a great influence on thoughts and perceptions of your organization. Colors can be persuasive or off-putting. They can evoke emotion. An artist selects a color palette to convey theme and message. Interior designers use color to open up smaller spaces or create intimacy.

  • Would the Olympic rings be as symbolic if they were all grey?
  • Why do you think McDonald's chose red and yellow for their color scheme?
  • How about Coke's signature red?
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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation

Why Associations Need to Take Back Control of Their Websites Today (And How to Do It)

Written by Julie Dietz on October 20, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Try to count how many websites you visited yesterday. Or even today "“ just this morning.

Do you know? Or have you already lost count?

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Lead Your Association Through Difficult Times

Written by Christina Green | on September 28, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

When it rains, it pours.

And man, is it pouring. It seems like every few hours we hear another piece of crummy news from the media, our friends, or our coworkers. Something always seems to be going wrong, which may just be a symptom of the fact that we're living in turbulent, uncertain times. Times that can be more than a little frightening.

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Topics: Communications, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

Is Small Data the Next Big Thing?

Written by Heather McNair on September 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Most people aren’t skilled woodworkers -- but almost anyone can build an IKEA dresser. That’s how intuitive the company’s design and instructions are. And it’s no accident that its furniture design is incredibly attuned to users’ needs.

IKEA pays very close attention to consumers and can predict their behavior, from what they’ll furnish their home with to how they’ll assemble and use each item. Obviously, with a company this large, it’s impossible to point to just one aspect of business that spurred its success.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Use Data to Solve Your Biggest Online Community Participation Problems

Written by Julie Dietz on September 6, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

When I joined my first online community 8 years ago, I was excited to see and take part in key discussions in my industry. The association I belonged to had launched a private online community for members earlier in the year and I couldn't wait to get involved. But when I logged in, I thought there was something wrong with my browser. Every group and discussion area was a ghost town. Even the questions that I now know were seed questions from the organization didn't have any responses.

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

Is It Time to Ax Your Young Professionals Group?

Written by Christina Green | on August 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Do you remember sitting at the kiddie table? I do, and it's a memory that brings up mixed feelings. I loved the kiddie table when I was five, but by 14 I was tired of all the screaming children. I wanted to move on to the main table. I imagine you can think of a time when you wanted the same thing.

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Topics: Millennials, Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Is It Time to Redesign Your Online Community?

Written by Julie Dietz on August 11, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

Have you ever heard the phrase "perception is reality?" It refers to the way people make judgements about something based on how it appears to the outside world. Nowhere is this more important than online, where smalltime brands can get a credibility and conversion boost by appearing well-designed, organized, and professional.

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Topics: Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

The 5 Most Common Mistakes of Association Onboarding Programs

Written by Christina Green | on July 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Ah, the honeymoon stage. White sand beaches, a gentle breeze, drinks with the little tiny umbrellas. It's great, until someone makes a mistake and overbooks your hotel or cancels your flight.

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

How to Use the Psychology of Addictive Technology to Create Compelling Member Benefits

Written by Julie Dietz on July 7, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 8 minute read

Why do you check Facebook every time you're bored? Why do you reach for your phone almost before you've even opened your eyes in the morning? Go for the coffee maker as soon as you're on your feet?

It's habit. Habits are a powerful force in our lives that influence us in ways that we don't always fully recognize. Sure, we know that we have some habits, like biting our nails or fidgeting with our jewelry, but there are many other habits that we don't even realize we have.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

How to Get Market Data for Your Association Without Doing Expensive Market Research

Written by Julie Dietz on June 24, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Writer and programmer, Daniel Keys Moran, summed up one of the key dilemmas facing associations today when he said 'you cannot have information without data.'

Associations need information about their members so they can provide them with the best benefits and the most value. To make market-driven decisions, they need data on their members and which subjects they're interested in. What are their priorities, challenges, and motivations? What industry changes impact and concern them?

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Use Human Centered Design to Make Your Community More ... Well ... Human

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 23, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Your community looks absolutely stunning. The colors, graphics and font all work perfectly with each other. Everyone compliments you.

But there’s one big problem.

No one can figure out how to use it.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Marketing, Member Experience, Online Community

3 Unsexy, But Essential Steps to Planning Your Organization's Next Event

Written by Cathy Clifton on June 14, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Event planning is a sexy career filled with all the glamour of fancy dresses, cocktail parties, and worldwide travel, right? Not quite. Those exciting perks are just a few of many common misconceptions in the event planning industry.

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

How to Make Your Website Your Association's Top Member Benefit

Written by Julie Dietz on June 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Association members are like business customers, they come to your organization for help. They want to solve a problem, to learn, to grow in their industry, or to find ways to contribute to a cause. And, similar to a business, that's what your association is built to do – help members by providing benefits.

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Topics: Communications, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Three Lessons for Community Managers

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but have you actually ever read Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? If not, you probably should -- it’s an important read for anyone, but especially community professionals.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience, Online Community

Why Associations Shouldn't Be Giving Away All Their Content for Free

Written by Julie Dietz on June 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

As a marketer, I'm accustomed to giving content away for free in order to attract people to our website. Apparently, this model is not best suited for all markets.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Why Aren't We More Obsessed With the Mobile Community Experience?

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

It’s a no-brainer to say mobile is bigger than ever. People are attached to their phones and use them in almost every part of their lives, from connecting with friends, to ordering pizza, to tracking sleep and exercise. And almost every industry is stepping up to the plate, bringing better mobile options to their audience.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

Dealing With Trolls in Your Community

Written by Calista Rollogas | on May 31, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 5 minute read

Sometimes your best user is your worst user.

These days, everyone knows the tell tale signs of a troll -- people who write abrasive, abusive comments, often directed at certain people, and who often blatantly ignore community standards. Prime examples of trolls are can be found in the comments section of online news outlets.
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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience, Online Community

Read Your Community Members' Minds

Written by Heather McNair on May 23, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

It’s true -- you can read minds and predict the future.

Sure, communities can help you with customer acquisition and retention, but they can also help you forecast what your members want or need -- improving your members’ experience and your organization’s bottom line.

How can your community help get you inside a member’s head and learn what they truly think and what they really need?

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

Motivate Members: Intrinsic Rewards That Actually Work

Written by Molly Talbert | on May 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 7 minute read

Everyone has their own engagement theories for fostering interaction within online communities. Some engaged communities appear effortless while others remain stagnant, with occasional spurts of activity. So, what gives? What’s the trick for building sustainable, steady engagement?

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Topics: Engagement, Member Experience, Online Community

Why Aren’t Members Opening Your Emails?

Written by Molly Talbert | on May 12, 2016 at 9:30 AM | 6 minute read

Getting people to open emails can be a frustrating, fruitless task. Especially when a big part of your job is communicating to members through email -- depending on your industry and the types of emails you send, what’s considered good open rates can look pretty low.

So how do you turn the tides and get people to open your messages?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience, Email Marketing, Online Community

What Are They Telling You? Using Online Community Data to Create Experiences Your Members Will Love

Written by Julie Dietz on April 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

I may be dating myself, but see if you can place these lyrics:

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,

and they're always glad you came.

If you said it's a line from the Cheers theme song, you're right. If you didn't know it, hey, at least you're young.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

How Your Online Community Benefits Every Stage of the Association Member Lifecycle

Written by Christina Green | on March 17, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

When you host a golf tournament for different skill levels it's important for you include activities that fit everyone in attendance. If you don't, long-time golfers will grow bored from lack of a challenge. However, if you cater only to those with advanced skills, you likely frustrate those who are less experienced. It's a fine line to ensure everyone is comfortable and accommodated.

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Topics: Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Mobile Frontier: Create Frictionless Content and Help Members Engage

Written by Andy Steggles | on March 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM | 4 minute read

Engagement -- it’s that golden word everyone talks about and one important sign of a healthy community. Part of creating member engagement -- discussions, content creation, connections -- is removing all the barriers you can. For optimal engagement, it’s important that there’s as little friction as possible, which isn’t as hard as you’d think.

Beyond being a buzzword and a broad concept, engagement does actually affect your community’s bottom line. In our 2015 Community Benchmarking Report we looked at data from 80 organizations with online communities, and compared those overall averages and medians from MGI’s 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

The Power of Mentoring in Communities

Written by Molly Talbert | on February 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

Take a moment to think back on your career, however long or short it’s been so far. What moments stand out, and who helped you get there?

Everyone hits bumps in the road, no matter how smart, driven or successful they’ve been so far. Think about the straight-A high school student who struggles once they get to college. Or the ambitious entrepreneur, slow to take off. How do you get through those rough times when the future is hazy, you're filled with self doubt or you don’t quite know what you should do?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Online Community

Your Association Is Not the Center of the Universe - Your Users Are

Written by Maddie Grant | on February 19, 2016 at 9:30 AM | 2 minute read

Many associations share a central flaw: they routinely put the association and the needs of the organization or staff at the center of their universe. Historically, this made some sense. By creating the association in the first place, the members by definition centralized their attention. “Let’s all give dues to this central group so it can do amazing things for us.”

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

User Experience and Accessibility

Written by Mark Eichler on February 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM | 4 minute read

 

All aboard the community platform! If you want everyone in your organization to engage on your community, you need to make sure it’s accessible for everyone, including people with visual impairments or physical impairments that prevent them from using a mouse.

All websites should strive to achieve accessibility principles. So how do you make sure your website is as accessible as it can be? Really, there are three different parts to the puzzle, especially for social and community-centered online experiences: what a software platform offers, what administrators running your platform can do, and what your members and users can do.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Reducing Cognitive Load: The Best UX Design for Your Community Site

Written by Molly Talbert | on February 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 7 minute read


Have you ever given up on using a website because it takes too much brainpower to figure it out? Or even find what it’s for? This happened to me last time I flew and tried to check in online. The problem: if I did give up, I wouldn’t have been able to get on the airplane. So I grumbled through the process and finally figured it out. Why was it so bad? Their user experience was poor and I couldn’t figure out what steps I needed to take -- the extraneous cognitive load was too much.

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

How to Use Content to Keep Customers or Members Returning to Your Online Community

Written by Christina Green | on February 4, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

In the end, keeping your members coming back to your community comes down to more than just making participation into a game, or training your members to login every day. Without engaging content, none of that really matters.

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

Hacking Your Community's Subconscious

Written by Molly Talbert | on January 28, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

You’re not lazy, but sometimes your brain is. It has so much to compute and process each millisecond that it needs all the extra help it can get. To do this, brains have developed little mental shortcuts we’re often not aware of but influence our decisions instantly. Many of these hardwired tricks are survival tactics that helped humans evolve to be the species we are today, but can trip us up in the modern world sometimes.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience

Changing Behavior and Creating Value

Written by Molly Talbert | on January 13, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

What makes a community valuable? There are a lot of combined factors that create value, but a big one is member behavior -- how do people act when they’re in your community? Member interaction can tip the scales of your community in either direction, towards success or catastrophe. If people engage and ask the group questions, the community feels much different than it would if people only checked in occasionally and emailed members privately.

What if your members aren’t doing what you want? Good news is, if your community isn’t very engaged or doesn’t feel sustainable, you can mold member behavior to create the environment you want.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience, Online Community

Extreme Ideas to Make Your Community Fun

Written by Molly Talbert | on January 4, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Even a perfect community can get a little stale.

Does this sound familiar? Say everything is going well -- your launch was smooth, automation rules are up and running, you’re following all the top best practices and have aligned the community with your organization’s strategic goals. Everything is working! Yet something still feels flat.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Online Community

Should Your Community Get an App? [Infographic]

Written by Molly Talbert | on December 9, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 1 minute read

Having a place where your members can always share ideas and questions is the ideal engagment tool. But what's the best way to gather those members when they're on the go -- should you invest in an app or stick to web design improvements? We've streamined the throught process to make your decision easier.

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Topics: Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

I Have Responsive Design - Do I Need an App?

Written by Molly Talbert | on December 3, 2015 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

You spent a lot of time and money on a beautiful responsive website, one that works on all screen sizes, including tablets and smartphones. So why would you need an app for your community? Isn’t responsive design like the two-in-one solution?

There isn’t an easy, straightforward answer to this question, but hear us out. Responsive design doesn’t necessarily make mobile apps obsolete, but mobile apps aren’t the right choice for everyone. First, think about how your community is now and where you want it to go. Do you have consistent engagement and want to try some new tactics? Or are you hoping to boost activity analytics, like the number of logins each month?

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

Anonymous on the Internet

Written by Elizabeth Tobey | on December 2, 2015 at 2:00 PM | 9 minute read

For the past week, I’ve stared at a blank page, puzzling out a pithy way to start this article.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

How to Create a Community Culture

Written by Andy Steggles | on November 24, 2015 at 9:30 AM | 4 minute read

As I've blogged about before, I see social networking for businesses as encompassing four quadrants: public social media, social CRM to collect data, social software in the workplace (intranet) and externally facing social software (an open online community). As I detailed in that post, there are many opportunities for companies to leverage multiple social networking elements, especially through an online community.

Publicly facing social sites, like an open community, are especially powerful and offer businesses the ability to interface with customers ‘where they are,’ to monitor what's being said about your brand on those sites and to incorporate that feedback into your organization's overall communications strategy. This transparency not only helps you create a better product, but ‘helps members and customers help themselves’ by allowing them to ask and answer questions as a community.

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

How to Design a Community Your Users Will Love

Written by Molly Talbert | on November 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM | 4 minute read

Have you recently visited a website plagued by confusion and disorganization? You can't find what you're looking for, and you're not even sure what you're looking at to begin with. That’s bad user experiencewhat any community wants to avoid.  If your user experience is less than easy, then maybe they will come, but don’t count on them sticking around or returning any time soon.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Marketing, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Market Your Association's Virtual Memberships Like a Tech Company

Written by Christina Green | on November 12, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Take a second and go out to the Google Play Store or iTunes, and search for free apps. How many came up? Some number this side of a google? (Sorry, bad pun.) But the answer is a lot, right?

If you clicked through to some of the better known apps, you'll find they have a free level and one or more paid levels. Tech companies are marketing geniuses when it comes to knowing how to lock down some of their features in order to entice people to upgrade.

Associations that offer virtual memberships or entry-level membership tiers could learn quite a bit from them.

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

Why Your Event Needs a Mobile App

Written by Molly Talbert | on November 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM | 3 minute read

Event attendees expect information, in real time. Not only that, but it should be easily accessible and available before, during and after. How should you do this? Since people are more glued to their phones than ever, a mobile app makes perfect sense -- it gives attendees everything they need (and more) in the palm of their hands.

Because the price point can seem steep it’s easy to think you can get by without one; paper programs always worked well, right? Sure, they did, but your event could be so much more informative, interactive and collaborative if the program is dynamic and updated in real time. It’s time for your events to go beyond the status quo (apps are approaching the norm, by the way).

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

Eight Community Site Design Tips for the Win

Written by Lauren Wolfe | on November 4, 2015 at 1:02 PM | 2 minute read


A winning community site – we all want it and we all can have it. It starts with strong design and a careful execution of the brand. I’ve put together eight tips that you can use right now to create a community site that is a winner in the eyes of your users, staff and prospective users.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Online Community

Is a Virtual Membership Option Right for Your Association?

Written by Christina Green | on October 29, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Recently we passed the milestone of Back to the Future Day. October 21st, 2015 was the future day that Doc sent Marty McFly to in one stylish ride. There, McFly saw a lot of bad fashion and cool things like hoverboards, flying cars, and Jaws 19, the movie.

We've come frighteningly close to some of these - four Jaws movies is close enough for me - but we're also sadly very far away from flying cars and delicious home-cooked, healthy meals in 30 seconds.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Deal With Disruptive Community Members

Written by Molly Talbert | on August 25, 2015 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

We love our communities and members. For the most part, everyone participating is collegial, helpful and respectful—which is why members keep coming back, posting and collaborating with each other.

Sometimes, there’s that one member (or maybe several) who provoke in conversations. Maybe the provocation is outright and obvious. Other times, it is subtler and nuanced, but gives you a bad feeling. Maybe the member is trying to stir the pot, or they’re oblivious to their impact. Either way, something must be done to maintain the respectful environment you’ve been cultivating.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Online Community

The Art of the Online Community Welcome Email

Written by Katie Oakes on August 25, 2015 at 8:40 AM | 5 minute read

When you are responsible for bringing new members into your online customer or member community, there is no such thing as a second impression. In a world where first impressions are often the only impression that you get, the task to crush it in one interaction can feel daunting.

It is like speed dating in that way. People go to speed dating events voluntarily, just as they do to your online community, but you only have a few seconds to get people to want to learn more about you.

However, in online community management, your first impression usually involves never actually coming face to face with the person you are aiming to impress. I'm talking about the all-important welcome email.

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

Accessibility: Getting Everyone Engaged

Written by Mark Eichler on June 4, 2015 at 5:12 PM | 3 minute read

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The bottom line: websites should be easy to use. A user-friendly and responsive website means going beyond fun graphics and intuitive navigation. This means every web page should be visually approachable for every kind of user across the spectrum of visual limitations. 

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Six Tips for Creating a Compelling Online Presence

Written by Caitlin Struhs | on May 6, 2015 at 10:30 AM | 2 minute read

Engagement and collaboration should be at the top of the list for best online experience. It might seem like creating cohesion for your organization, your communities and your brand can seem an insurmountable task, but you probably already have great content and brand advocates on your side.

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

The Importance of Soft Launching Your Online Customer or Member Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 23, 2015 at 8:15 AM | 5 minute read

After months of strategizing, planning and hard work, you're finally ready to launch your new online community. Your online community software vendor has completed the implementation process, your community layout is all set up, and you have a handful of active members ready to engage with newcomers.

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

The New Normal for Mobile and Responsive Design

Written by Dave Sabol | on April 20, 2015 at 4:42 PM | 2 minute read

What you should know about Google's new search algorithm

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Best Mobile Online Community Options: Responsive Web Design vs. Mobile Sites vs. Native Apps

Written by Katie Oakes on April 14, 2015 at 1:40 PM | 8 minute read

With technology, there is a constant evolution of terms, products, and approaches. If you're not fully engrossed in that world, it can be hard to keep up. The meteoric adoption of mobile device to find information, keep in touch, and complete transactions has heads at many companies spinning.

According to data from Cisco, global mobile devices and connections in 2014 grew to 7.4 billion, up from 6.9 billion in 2013. The vast majority of mobile data traffic (97%) originated from smart devices.

The increased use of mobile devices poses both opportunities and challenges for businesses. They want to know if their approach is the right one for their company, customers, and goals. Are they putting their time and money in the right places?

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Topics: Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Successfully Upgrade from a Listserv to an Online Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 8, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

There was a time when email listservs were the new kid on the block.

Short for "mailing list server," your listserv has probably served your association or membership organization well over the last decade or two. You've been able to easily send out automated emails to segmented lists and your members have enjoyed reply-all options that allow them to easily communicate with the group.

During their heyday, listservs made a huge difference in member interaction and association communication. However, they're now competing with new options that have additional opportunities for member engagement and membership value.

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Topics: Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Use Data from Your Private Online Community to Make Better Decisions

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Running a private online community for your association comes with its fair share of decisions"”from the daily steering of the community to quarterly strategic adjustment. In fact, managing your association's online member community is often viewed as a microcosm of overall association management. As an association executive, it's your job to make the choices that will keep your association members engaged and looking to your community as a valuable resource.

However, without the right information driving those decisions, the choices that come with managing an association (or an online member community) can seem overwhelming.

That's why you need a little bit of the "good stuff"" and why we're happy to share this new whitepaper from our friends, Peter Houstler, CEO of Mariner Management and Marketing, and Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CEO of Spark Consulting.

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

Make Apps a Happy Habit For Your Members

Written by Lauren Wolfe | on June 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM | 1 minute read

Have you used a mobile device today? Did you use an app? Research shows an estimated 1.2 billion people are checking their mobile devices roughly 150x per day.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Member Experience, Online Community

Three Things That Motivate Community Members

Written by Andy Steggles | on March 26, 2013 at 6:07 PM | 4 minute read

I recently read this TechCrunch article about what motivates technology users to become loyal users of any one platform in today's sea of software platforms. The article offers the following three tips to anyone building a private online community: rewards (the right rewards), frequency and the importance of building a community of peers whose opinion we care about.

The article frames these tips around Biz Stone's new startup, Jelly, but I think these tips are all equally applicable to organizations building private online communities.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Experience, Online Community

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