By Audrey Smilgys, Sr. Solution Consultant
Despite a flood of new competitors entering the streaming market (with Disney and NBC joining the fray alongside HBO and Amazon), Netflix remains the top dog. How? Not just because they were first — they know their users better.
Trade and professional associations are in a similar position. Associations face stiff competition from for-profit organizations that offer similar services at lower prices. Even YouTube, with more than 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users, is a threat to associations due to the sheer volume of freely available content.
But just like Netflix, most associations were first to reach out to their target market. They also know their members better. That said, it’s still hard to compete with free.
To rise above the competition, associations need to think like Netflix to determine what members want from their organization and deliver on it. How? By harnessing the power of member analytics.
The Benefits of Member Analytics
Modern businesses turn to analytics to understand what their customers do, how they act and what means the most to them. With this intelligence, businesses give customers exactly what they want and keep them coming back for more.
Netflix is a prime example. They invest a lot of time and effort into gathering and analyzing users’ viewing behavior, turning it into those personalized content suggestions that arrive in your inbox every few days.
By suggesting content they know people want, Netflix not only retains subscribers, but also continues to grow its membership based. That’s why Netflix has reached 139 million subscribers globally, even as competitors like Hulu and Amazon Prime are breathing down their proverbial neck.
Associations use the same approach. By looking at the treasure trove of data housed in your association management software, it’s easy to learn how members interact with your organization and get a feel for the aspects of membership they find most valuable. Ultimately, this creates a personalized member experience and more targeted communications, leading to increased engagement and better member retention.
What Members Want
Members look to associations for the value of the tangible and intangible benefits. Things like networking opportunities, local and national advocacy, community, education, and professional certifications. So where do members see the value in your association? To answer this question, you need to track specific member activities to see what products and services your members use the most.
Tracking member activities within your AMS gives you a clearer picture of what products and services your members engage with the most. Armed with this knowledge, you can craft additional offerings that sustain that value (just like Netflix renews titles and finds similar ones they know members watch).
For example, if you find a lot of members registered a specific webinar from your organization, you know they are looking for this type of content. You can then develop additional journals or other content to extend the conversation and keep members engaged longer. If you consistently provide the value that your members seek, you will drive positive member retention and growth.
Better Targeted Outreach
With proper tracking functionality, coding and member analytics in place on their websites, associations can learn what content resonates best with specific members and potential members. That insight can be used to improve member engagement. Think about Netflix’s “Because you watched…” feature, which provides suggestions for shows and films based on previously viewed content. You can apply this idea to your association by targeting outreach to groups of members with content you know is important to them, instead of bulk email sends.
Consider this: you have a group of members who haven’t logged onto the association website in a while. Rather than including this disengaged group in your next batch of membership renewal reminder emails, try sending some personalized content to help them re-engage. That way, it won’t feel like you’re only reaching out when the association needs something.
Here’s another example: you might send out an email about a new membership benefit to 5,000 potential members. Then, you notice a spike in new members over the next month. Through accurate tracking, you can determine that those new members came from that initial email. You can then target your correspondence to those new members with information related to what encouraged them to join. When you send relevant content to your members, they value it and take action.
If you’re looking for more ways to elevate member engagement, download Protech’s free e-book, “Association Experts Share the Hidden Truths to Member Engagement.”