When deciding whether or not to renew or become a new member, cost is usually not the main decision point, Vivian Swertinski of Informz and Elizabeth Arritt of the American Association of Airport Executives explained.
“‘This is too expensive’ is not the problem,” Swertinski emphasized during her and Arritt’s presentation entitled, “Whoa! You Just Read My Mind!” at the 2017 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo held Dec. 12-13, 2017. “‘Is this membership experience worth the money?’ is usually their question,” Swertinski continued.
While this is a question on the member or potential member’s end, it’s a problem – of perception – on the association end. Associations must actively work to make the question of “Is the membership cost worth the value I get in return?” one that can be answered with a resounding “Yes!”
One of the most thorough ways to help renewing members and potential members arrive at that same answer is to take advantage of a marketing technology platform that turns user-generated data into a tool your association can use to craft two-way conversations.
Use an integrated marketing technology platform to harness your association’s data
Through technology, associations are capable of collecting enough data about a website visitor, an event attendee or a potential member to make their return visit to your website or event a personalized experience, and to make the ensuing conversation path about joining or renewing one over which the individual has some control. To strategically harness that data, your association should use an integrated technology platform where your association management software, website, email system and social media structure all work together.
Swertinski and Arritt listed some of the tools and processes necessary within an integrated technology platform to help your association be aware of how individuals are checking out your association, and then “market like Amazon” to them:
- Web tracking and targeting
- Automated workflows
- Landing pages and forms
- Attribution reporting
- Robust website analytics
Using individual tools like these in concert, your association should be able to identify who your marketing messages should really spend time with, and more easily find the proverbial “low-hanging fruit” that constitutes a conversion for your membership rolls, your event or your website.
Arritt detailed a program at AAAE that sends five emails within 20 days to website visitors who enter their contact information through a form. AAAE’s messages take advantage of the data the individual provides to make it look like it was a coincidence that AAAE is reaching out. Good marketing technology will help guide your association through a more customized conversation with prospects while offering the prospect options like the ability to mute or pause the conversation (through email opt-outs or pauses for a set amount of time). This ability for both parties to have control over the conversation has increased AAAE’s membership renewal rate to 93 percent because members don’t feel like they are being marketed to, but conversed with and valued.
What basic conversation customization data points should your association look for in a marketing technology platform?
- Non openers – People who don’t even open your association’s emails.
- Open but, didn’t click – People who were interested enough to open and read your message but not interested enough to interact with it.
- Website page visits – People who took the leap from your emailed message to your website message, or who found you directly through the Web.
- Downloaded content – Prospects who are interested enough in membership, your programming or your event that they handed over contact information (or in some cases, a fee) to learn more about your association or a specific topic.
- Abandoned transactions – People who began to download your content but for some reason left the transaction before it was complete.
No matter the marketing technology platform your association chooses, make sure it can leverage your data to produce the insights you need. Be specific with your messages and with the content to which your association leads prospects. Give them options for what, when and how they want to hear your messages. They will think you’ve read their mind, but you’ll know you’re smartly letting them guide the conversation so that it feels less like marketing and more like a mutually beneficial dialogue.
Learn more from Swertinski and Arritt’s presentation, Whoa! You Just Read My Mind!, by downloading their slide deck.