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Online Community Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Reasons Your Customer Support Improves with an Online Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Practical Ways to Boost Engagement with Mobile Event Apps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s our formal definition:

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

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

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Build a Sustainable Brand with Purpose-Driven Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Communication Tips to Increase Donations to Your Nonprofit

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

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

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

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

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

Talkin’ SaaS Stats: Customer Success is Having a Moment

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

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

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

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

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Marketing to Your Existing Customers

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

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

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

You might be familiar with these oft-quoted stats:

  • It costs 5x as much to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one [Invesp]
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95% [research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company]

As made clear, many companies are leaving money on the table if they don't continue marketing to existing customers once they make an initial purchase.

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

3 Lessons from a Unicorn: How to Harness Customer Feedback to Drive Brand Growth & Success

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM | 5 minute read

Facts: The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal; you are reading this right now; and Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, recently joined the ranks of other female-founded “unicorns” (privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion). How? Customer listening.

Emily Weiss, Glossier founder and CEO, managed to transform what started in 2010 as her beauty blog Into the Gloss... into a beauty brand valued at $1.2 billion, and they recently launched Glossier Play, their colorful spin-off brand. On what she did differently, Emily says:

“Many of the beauty brands I grew up with were expert-led. They told me what products were in style and how to use them. From the start, I wanted to take a different approach with Glossier by co-creating the brand and products with customers.”

If you haven’t harnessed the power of customer feedback, you’re missing a serious opportunity to grow your brand into a community of advocates with customer success and satisfaction in mind. 

You don’t need to have the same business structure as Glossier to heed lessons from their approach - B2B brands can benefit from using engagement tools like online community and marketing automation to tap into their customer base on a more personal level for product collaboration, customer feedback, and brand growth. 

So, let’s talk about the power of people, since all companies are really “people to people” at their core, you know?

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

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