The future of technology is definitely mobile-driven. According to recent statistics, desktops now account for only 29 percent of digital minutes, rest of the share is mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A mobility strategy thus becomes crucial for harnessing member engagement for your association.
Engaged members directly translate into increased member retention as well as an increase in new members. So how can you go about leveraging mobility strategies to gain traction in member engagement?
Define the Engagement Goals for your Organization
The first step to increasing engagement is defining what engagement actually means for your association and determining how to measure it. Identify your current state of engagement and define the level of engagement you want to attain. Once you set the bar, measuring the progress in achieving the goal becomes an easy task.
It is also imperative to segment your members into distinct member personas. This helps in creating content that is relevant to the group of members you are targeting. It also helps to measure the engagement from different groups and helps you to decide which group should you concentrate your engagement efforts on.
Mobile Strategies for Member Engagement
Optimize content for mobile consumption
This may feel like a no-brainer but it’s actually surprising to see that there are a plethora of websites which are not mobile optimized. The content on your website, no matter how relevant and masterfully written, is not going to be read by members browsing through their cell phones if it is not customized for mobile screens.
Make sure you optimize your website design for consumption across different mobile devices, different screen sizes as well as resolution. Content that provides value to the members and gives them solution to their problems is a sure shot strategy to promote member engagement. Building your own website is not a labor intensive task, nor does it require huge monetary resources. You can easily do it yourself, even if coding isn’t one of your skill sets.
Get your association mobile-ready by developing a mobile app
Mobile apps account for 88 percent of time spent on mobile devices. If your association doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app yet, it is time that you get started. Depending on the resources available, you may choose to build the app yourself or hire a developer. You could build a cross-platform app that operates across different operating systems such as android and iOS or you could develop native apps specific to each platform. The bottom line is, creating a mobile app is one way to have more engaged members in your association.
An app to give information about the events being organized by your association has high value for your members. Here is a list of some of the features your app can utilize to drive member engagement.
- Maps: Add the location functionality to your mobile app to help members reach the event venue hassle free. It will also ensure higher attendance at the events because people won’t likely get lost along the way.
- Presentation content: If the event being hosted is focused on educating the members, having the relevant content on the mobile app is a great way to get rid of the paraphernalia. Not only is it less cumbersome, going paper-free is a great way to save the environment as well.
- Solicit feedback; Mobile apps are a great tool for getting customer feedback as well. A survey about the event on the mobile phones is less of a hassle for the members and provides the association with actionable feedback as well.
Boost year-round membership via mobile apps
- Mobile Handbook: It can serve as a handbook with all the details about the association which the members can refer to at any time. It can also give members access to any information that they need and an in app calendar that gives info of the events to be held in the future.
- Internal connectivity: The primary goal for members for becoming a part of any association is to network. Mobile apps can be a huge advantage in this respect. Mobile app can act as an internal social media channel for your association where the members can communicate and network. Another way to harness the networking capabilities of mobile apps is by use of in-app messaging between the members so that they can have timely conversations without the need of actually sharing personal information like phone numbers with one another.
- Push notifications: The mobile app can be used as a tool to send out friendly reminders of the upcoming events on the member’s phones. This feature is of great value to the members who would have otherwise missed out an event and is also beneficial to the association as it boosts the member engagement at its events.
Use mobile as a touchpoint for getting the word out
Mobile phones can be leveraged to act as point of outreach for getting more traction and visibility. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are primarily mobile oriented. Use of these tools to create content should be an essential part of your association’s mobile strategy.
You also need a promotional plan for getting the word out about your mobile app. The promotion strategy should focus on informing the existing and potential members about the app, making sure it provides value and has content that is relevant for them and getting them engaged and excited to download the app.
An ideal mobile promotion strategy encompasses the following steps; awareness, engagement, consideration, conversion and loyalty. All the efforts of the web and social media strategy need to be streamlined towards achieving the goals outlined above for maximum engagement and member retention.
Set up a feedback loop and encourage member responses
Ask for member responses in the form of surveys and polls across different channels to understand what actually works for them and what needs to be improved upon. A feedback loop is a great way to make the members feel that they are being heard and thus get them to engage more.
Even in case of non-engaged members, soliciting feedback in the form of gentle push notifications on your mobile app can be a great way to ensure that the organization remains on top of their minds and results in a collection of actionable data about the member’s interests. Such data can be utilized to hone the engagement strategy of your association and improve the overall membership experience.
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and President of Arkenea and Benchpoint. Rahul has been featured as a business technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.