You know by now that your website, emails, social media pages, and other online channels are vital to communicating with members (and prospects) these days. And thanks to tools like your database and Google Analytics, you can create a history by capturing most of those interactions and the way members respond to them on an individual level.
Why would you want to do that? Over time, building a digital relationship will help you acquire, engage, and retain more members. You’ll be able to understand the best ways to communicate with them online, and use that to your advantage during in person interactions!
Here are a few reasons why (if you haven’t already) it’s time to start building that digital relationship with each member:
It’s where they are
We’re all so used to direct and personalized communication now, and your members are no different. Plus, it’s a lot easier to deliver messages straight to them rather than to send communications over a bunch of different methods that may get lost in translation.
Consider doing a short survey with members about the number one way they prefer to be directly contacted with association updates. From there, you can put members into buckets and segment your communications by channel. Although it’s an extra step, this will help ensure you get the most engagement! And for quick, mass communications you want to send out to all members in one way, you’ll be able to choose the channel that most members prefer.
It’s how you get to know them
Your members tell you a lot about themselves based on how they communicate with you, and engage with your communications. Keeping track of this information will help you see patterns over time that will allow you to tweak what you say - from email subject lines, to text message copy, to calls to action on your website, to fields on your event registration forms!
Think it sounds like a great way to get to know your members? Imagine what you could learn about your prospects! You can do the exact same for this group, just thinking about it from a member acquisition perspective instead.
It’ll help you stay one step ahead
Those patterns we talked about? Not only will they help you tweak your communications, they’ll also help you anticipate questions and concerns among your membership. With enough data and history you’ll easily be able to develop FAQs, make necessary changes to benefits, and even begin to notice when a member has one foot out the door (so you can address problems before they’re gone for good).
And, returning to what I said earlier about using this data to your advantage in person: At your next event or membership meeting, try bringing up something to a member that you discussed over email. It will show them that you are paying attention and care about them as a person!
It will come in handy as more data protection laws are introduced
Laws like the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe are giving citizens the ability to be able to control their data and how it’s used. Now, forming a digital relationship with your members won’t necessarily help if a member were to ask to have their information removed from your system (because legally, you would simply have to). But, hopefully, having a strong digital relationship will mean that you won’t ever see those requests! It’s important to be respectful in building the relationship, and you can do that by ensuring that you are using their data in a way that is valuable not only for you, but for your members as well.
We’ve talked about a lot of different types of data and ways to use them here, but you also need to be able to keep track of it all. This can be easily accomplished with an association management system. Don’t have one? There are a lot of things to consider when looking for the right system for your organization...it can seem overwhelming! That’s why we’ve put together a Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Right Association Management System - check it out!