ASAE’s 2015 Technology Conference and Expo is just a week away and one of the most exciting topics will be the MarComm & Technology Pathway exploring how marketing, communications and technology present a true digital experience for associations and their members.
We might be biased, but we at Vanguard Technology feel a large part of your focus on MarComm Technology should be on your association’s website and its content management system (CMS). Here are some things to think about:
1) More members will use your website than any other program or service (including meetings)
Let’s face it, you have lots of great programs and services. But to learn about the organization and access those resources, every member (and non-member) starts with a visit to your website. It’s the first point of contact for every interaction with your organization and functions as your storefront.
When in doubt remember this… more people will use your website than come to your meeting. Are you planning and using it accordingly?
2) Everything leads to the website
Even with all your marketing technology and tools out there, everything points back to your website.
Those well crafted emails? They direct to a page on your website. Tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook? Back to the website. Even your brochure for your annual conference directs users to your website to learn about your conference and then register.
So when they get there what do they see? Does it reflect the quality and experience you want? If they opened the email on a mobile device are they getting an experience that they can use and is built with responsive web design?
3) Real time segmentation and content personalization
Most of the time when you print a brochure, you do one version for every member – regardless of whether they are a student, active professional or retiree. But with your website and CMS you can break the mold and treat all visitors as individuals.
Options include segmenting visitors with landing pages for unique audiences and content for them (like we did in the website for the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) or embracing the emerging trend of content personalization (see this article from the June Issue of Associations Now). Either way, the reality is your website is a powerful tool to make sure each member gets what they need as individuals from your organization – not mass produced content that has to serve everyone.
For more on content personalization, come see my session at the 2015 ASAE Technology Conference titled “Creating Personalized Website Experiences” which includes case studies, strategies and tips for implementing a content personalization program for your association website. The session is Wednesday, December 16 at 9:30 AM.
4) Accessible publishing for every department
Not every department or staff member has access to your printer so they can print up brochures (or at least they shouldn’t). But you can give every group or staff member access to your website’s content management system to publish content and promote their programs. A good CMS and website puts the power and responsibility back in the hands of the subject matter experts and gives them the tools they need to succeed.
5) Powerful inbound marketing platform
It seems every association conference includes at least one session about Inbound Marketing and many attendees think they need to go get new technology. However, most orgs already have one of the best tools for Inbound Marketing marketing – their association website.
We find that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest drivers of web traffic for all Vanguard clients (we perform an annual SEO analysis as part of our services plan). They key is to make sure you are following SEO best practices and making sure your content can be found.
Once you get them to your website through good SEO, this is where the nurturing and conversion process can kick in and increase the lifetime value of your members.
The bottom line is that your website and CMS is possibly the most overlooked piece of marketing technology your association has at its disposal. We see too many organizations that don’t prioritize the website and take advantage of its full potential as the centerpiece of your marketing technology eco-system.
However, with proper planning, staffing and dedication – your association website and CMS can become the marketing engine hub that helps associations serve members, support their mission and meet their business goals.
Want to Learn more about Vanguard Technology or discuss our thoughts above? Come see us at the 2015 ASAE Technology Conference and Expo on December 15 and 16 at the Gaylord National Convention center at National Harbor, Maryland. Vanguard Technology will be exhibiting in Booth 316.