3 Add-on Tools to Drive Association Revenue + Amplify Member Engagement Written by Gabrielle Wathen on October 17, 2019 at 2:07 PM

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.

As you strategize for the future, consider a few add-on tools to help you amplify the impact of your online community and strengthen your ability to meet the personalized needs of your members while driving association revenue, among other business objectives like recruitment and advocacy. 

Ask yourself – are you willing to implement the software as a service (SaaS) tools necessary to extract the most value from your member data and support your association’s future?

1. Activity Tracking / Data Collection

Your online community is a robust source of member data, revealing behavioral activities that can help you understand how to better connect and serve your members, strategically nurturing them through a personalized, long-term learning journey with your association. Enhancing your online community with activity tracking and data collection capabilities can bring new depth to your member analytics and amplify the value of each member interaction on your platform.

This data is also the golden ticket to amplifying the impact of your marketing automation efforts, allowing you to strategically segment your audience to strengthen your automated emails and increase conversions

An effective data collection tool will integrate with your current engagement platform and drive revenue by allowing you to:

  • Track community activity alongside event attendance, renewal, and retention campaigns.

When our customer, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), realized their members were generating a lot of valuable data through their community platform, but that it required a high volume of manual work to tie that data back to specific members, they improved their impact by investing in integrated solutions to help them save time while getting the most value from their data. This century-old association made a commitment to online community and data analysis, embracing new tech along the way.

Now, their integrating activity tracking and data collection tool enables AACSB to:

  • Enhance the connection between their engagement platform and association management software (AMS)
  • Automatically and seamlessly synchronize data between the community and AMS, ensuring both platforms have accurate and up-to-date information
  • See community data in the AMS, including large trends and how individual members or organizations have been interacting on the platform
  • Tie community activity to an individual or an organization’s larger profile to make the information more useful, and plan future strategies accordingly

Resource: Higher Logic + AACSB Case Study

2. Mobile Apps

The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to reach 7.33 billion by 2023. Your association needs to leverage integrated mobile apps to stay current and reach younger members who will be onboarding with different technological expectations (if you can impress them enough to join, that is). Mobile apps allow you to reach your members in new ways, both meaningful and monetized, as long as your content delivery is relevant and authentic.

Using integrated mobile apps, there’s an opportunity to drive revenue with:

  • Sponsored ad space and push notifications
  • A functioning mobile app improves the member experience, helping to drive retention and revenue, by allowing your members to connect with the community on their own time from any device. If this experience is positive, they’ll keep coming back, and you’ll keep selling ad space. 
  • Strategic content delivery
    • Community advertising is just one way to increase revenue by delivering relevant content to members, and a mobile app can expand that reach. Armed with behavioral-based knowledge from your activity tracking and data collection tool, you can start to identify what type of content is resonating or missing the mark with your members.
  • Event app 
  • A dedicated event app can be integrated with an online community platform to drive engagement before, during, and after an event, like your association’s annual conference – contributing to the overall member experience and helping to drive future event attendance. An event app can help minimize on-site confusion, improve navigation, and drive engagement among attendees and speakers, etc.

Now, it’s no secret that consumers express feeling bombarded with sponsored ads and push notifications from their personal social media outlets and devices. But when those ads actually deliver something valuable, like an item or piece of information that we might not have seen before, and we’re driven to make a purchase or learn something new, it’s a positive experience. If those push notifications stem from someone or something we care about, it tends to be astronomically less annoying than opening our inbox to a bunch of junk that doesn’t resonate.

Resource: 8 Practical Ways to Boost Engagement with Mobile Event Apps

3. Volunteer / Advocacy Programs

Your online community is already helping your members connect, but what if they’re seeking more meaningful volunteering opportunities? Data collection tools and volunteer program management services can help your association identify the direct return on investment (ROI) calculation of true dollar value for every member activity, as well as ideal candidates for participation.

An integrated volunteer management or advocacy tool can drive association revenue by allowing you to:

  • Find, track, and reward volunteers / advocates with ease

Association members volunteer for various reasons, often hoping to support a cause, gain professional experience, or both. If you can help members fulfill these needs and contribute to meaningful projects, you can boost the value of your volunteering program while improving retention and revenue. A volunteer management tool will help ensure this process is seamless and positive, allowing you to identify ideal candidates for volunteering and reward their efforts. 

The American Academy of Audiology uses Higher Logic’s volunteer portal in tandem with the online community, and their volunteer coordinator Lauren Reimer says:

“Having everything in one place makes it easy for members to peruse what each opportunity involves. Members want to understand the time commitment for an opportunity before they sign up, so having details available with each opportunity is effective.”

When you outpace your peers with a robust foundation of technology that supports the future of your members, you can create priceless advocates to help drive your association’s mission.

Resource: 6 Member Benefits that Convince Association Members to Join and Renew

Bundle Integrated SaaS Tools to Increase Association Revenue + Platform Impact

If you want to support your association’s strategic goals, embrace building integrated solutions that drive meaningful revenue. Your tech stack is a work in progress, but no matter where you are in your journey, these integrated SaaS tools can help drive revenue and boost the value your members extract from your online community and marketing automation efforts.

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