Remember the good old days when you were researching a vacation in Paris and an ad for Chinese food popped up in your internet browser?
Do you miss that?
Because I don’t. And neither do your members.
Personalization in marketing and sales has changed irrelevant ads into helpful content. Instead of Chinese food, you see information about French hotels and where to buy the most delicious French cheese. It’s a smoother, more enjoyable experience.
It’s also something people, your members included, have come to expect. We expect to be shown ads that are relevant to our interests and emails with content that addresses our individual problems.
After all, why would your members want to see a call-to-action to join your association when they’ve already paid their dues? They want tailored information on benefits they can access right now.
Personalization is one of the top trends for 2016 and will continue to increase in importance in the coming years.
Why Is Personalization So Important?
Forget the “Internet of Things.” We’re quickly evolving into the “Internet of Me.” In an Accenture study, they found 56% of consumers admitted to being more inclined to patronize a retailer if it offered a personalized experience.
Why is this?
From marketing to membership communications, a personalized touch is becoming increasingly important because corporate giants like Amazon and Netflix are out there setting high expectations for personalized service and marketing. Personalization has become an expectation.
Just think about shopping carts that feature “you might also like” options based on your purchasing history and on-demand movie channels that make suggestions built on recent watches and ratings.
Personalization is our new norm. It’s your members’ new norm. They won’t stop and wonder about the technology behind the companies offering such customized service, but they will expect your association to do the same thing.
Personalization isn’t just important to your members, either. It’s also important to your association’s bottom line. Gartner, the IT, marketing, and supply chain consulting powerhouse, even predicts that:
“By 2018, organizations that have fully invested in all types of personalization will outsell companies that have not by 20%.”
Luckily, you already have the tools you need to personalize the member experience. They’re in your association management software.
6 Easy Ways to Personalize the Member Experience Using Your AMS Software
Personalization is just as important to creating a memorable member experience as engagement is and it’s easier to do. While people tend to have engagement preferences, most members appreciate all kinds of personalization. It makes them feel special, as if you were expecting them and are glad they are a part of your association.
Just as you may set a special place at a table for a guest of honor, personalizing your approach to your members and potential members creates an indelible, positive impression.
Personalizing the member experience begins the moment members visit your website and continues long after they log in to your membership management software. Today’s AMS software should “recognize” the member, greet them, and show them activities and features that match their membership tier.
Here are six more ways you can use your AMS software to personalize each of your members’ experiences.
Method #1) Event Registration
Membership software provides opportunities to market events only to those who are invited. Members who are logged in will see only events they are allowed to register for. Upon registration for these events, they will only see sessions they are eligible to attend.
For instance, if there is a special meet-up for a particular committee during your annual conference, today’s AMS software allows you to suggest the meet-up as an event for those eligible to attend. It won’t appear to other members so they won’t see a strangely grayed out session, or have the ability to accidentally sign-up if they’re not eligible.
All-in-one AMS software provides these tools in a full event management system. It works alongside your membership database and marketing tools, allowing you to manage and personalize all of your events through the same system.
Method #2) Event Experience
All-inclusive association management software includes event management features that can also provide a customized experience for your members throughout the entire event. These features include customized agendas and activity lists and calendar reminders for their activities and meetings. You can also customize polls and who they are made available to, perfect for post-meeting assessments.
The best member-ship management software will provide a customizable mobile event experience as well. With this tool, event attendees can personalize their agenda, network with other event attendees, and access event updates from any device they choose.
Method #3) Website and Community Content
Member permissions can also dictate the web material that people see after they’ve logged into your AMS software or private member community. Their homepage will be customized to show material that’s relevant to their membership tier and calls-to-action will only display offers they haven’t already acted on.
This can be an incredibly effective marketing tool because the message is more likely to fit the member. Depending on your membership software, you can do this using permissions or widgets that are built in to your site.
Method #4) Features and Benefits
Some associations use permissions to set access to specific benefits and control access to increase upgrades in tiered membership. For example, you can personalize your permissions settings so those in lower membership tiers won’t be able to access your more in-depth benefits. While this may seem restrictive, it creates less friction for your members. They won’t see benefits that they can’t use, so you’ll reduce frustration.
Feature and benefit personalization is also helpful for those in higher membership tiers or private committees. You can easily make benefits available to your top members and add committee members to private communities where they can collaborate securely.
Method #5) Email Marketing
Marketers will tell you how important a personalized message is to getting your emails noticed. An email recipient is more likely to open a personalized email and more likely to follow the call-to-action if the communication has been tailored to their needs. According to Hubspot, personalized calls-to-action yield a 42% higher conversion rate compared to non-personalized ones.
Look for an AMS platform that allows you to not only personalize the message based on the recipient but also when you send it, which member tier receives it, and the formatting of the email.
Method #6) Personalizing with Data
Your AMS software is an information gold mine that can be used to personalize all sorts of member communications. Use your membership software to collect demographic data as well as behavioral data on the activities members are performing in your private member community and transactional data on membership dues and online store purchases.
All-in-one membership management software will keep all of this data in a single location, making it giving you a comprehensive view of your members’ interests and priorities. Use reports on that data to better understand member behavior. Then, create groups based on member activity and try a targeted marketing approach based on your findings.
Personalizing the Member Experience Takeaway
Personalization in today’s world is about more than inserting a member’s name in a mail merge. You need to personalize the experience as well, which is done through permissions and data.
Personalizing your members’ experience starts with your website; continues in your member portal; email communications; marketing for events, memberships, and renewals; and your event experience.
As you think about engagement opportunities, look for even more ways to personalize your message. Personalization helps yield a quicker return and contributes to nurturing a deep relationship with your members. It will help you build the momentum necessary for ongoing engagement and renewal processes.