Beyond Search, 3 Social Factors Influencing Your Software Decision Making

Software Selection Search


I am fascinated by the psychology of buying. And, despite the fact found by Gartner Research which states that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human source, your final decision in selecting software will be influenced not by a Search Engine but by people. This article takes a quick look at three influential impacts on software selection decision making which goes beyond the use of search engines so commonly used first in the software selection process in nonprofit organizations. 

Therefore, here are the top three social influences of customers’ product decision process and likely will have an impact your software decision making process.

  1. Opinion LeadersThe thoughts, wants, and needs of consumers can easily be shaped by the reinforcement of a well-respected community leader. In the association world, someone who leads a group you belong too, a consulting firm which continually provides thought leadership at industry events such as ASAE, or a mentor may all be found in this category.
  2. Family Influences. Initial consumer behavior begins with and is impacted by family interaction. For many consumers, product purchases are decided as a whole, and interpreted through their cultural and social idealisms prior to completing the transaction. Additionally, family lifestyle further influences customer decision making. A young bachelor will decide differently on how to spend money than the head of a household with three small children. With nonprofit software selection, we typically do not have family involved in the decision. However, your family is usually former peers or even those that you have known for many years in your community.
  3. Cultural Groups. Every customer innately makes decisions based on cultural behaviors and characteristics. Family, friends, schoolmates and  colleagues influence a consumer’s attitude about products. By determining what aspirational and disassociate attitudes you may have at your nonprofit, it is easier to understand the basis of your final decision making paradigm.

We encourage our clients to go to your peers and ask them what software system they utilize. And, what type of experience they have had with regards to their particular software provider and system before engaging a vendor. In fact, if you are in the market for an Association Management Software solution, you may find a good resource at “REVIEWMYAMS.COM”. There will you will find reviews and feedback from your peers in an objective format about Association Management Software.

That said, it’s also prudent to know that your situation is always going to be somewhat unique than your peers. Therefore, it’s important to take the time internally to review your requirements and define what makes your organization unique. Despite what others will say, your organization is different in processes and people than your counterparts and this should be one aspect of your final decision.

If you are looking to explore new software solutions, we can help. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Membership Software



Top Reasons Inbound Marketing is a fit for your Association

Inbound Marketing LifeCycle
Provided by HubSpot

Inbound Marketing

In this article, I am going to focus on 5 top reasons associations should consider a focused Inbound Marketing strategy to attract future members, convert them to members, and continually engage them.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that utilizes many forms of pull marketing – content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business. At its core, it’s about delivering the right content and the right time, thus creating an experience end users desire and need. Instead of interrupting phone calls, ads, Inbound Marketing attracts people to your nonprofit website when they are interested in finding a solution to their problems. 

Why is this different from traditional marketing?

In contrast to outbound marketing, where marketers attempt to find customers, inbound marketing earns the attention of customers and can make your association easier to be found. 

Below you will find the Top 5 Reasons Inbound should be top of mind in your marketing efforts at your Association and Nonprofit:

  1. Inbound Marketing is Less Expensive: Organizations that focus on inbound marketing experience a 61% lower cost per lead than organizations that predominantly leverage outbound marketing. This is huge for a nonprofit association right? We are all looking for ways to do more with less, from a mere budget perspective, Inbound Marketing would be a better way to bring in a new member, gain more attendees at your conference, or land a new sponsor.
  2. Inbound Marketing Will Build Thought Leadership: Associations should be driven by being the leader in their community for innovative ideas and industry expertise. Associations can establish themselves a thought leader by sharing your perspectives and perspectives of members on a whole host of mediums which you all already use today such as your AMS web site, email news, blog posts, case studies, and even white papers on your profession. Thought Leadership is paramount to be relevant and grow in mind share with future advocates.
  3. Inbound Marketing is more effective: Based on results provided by over 3,300 executives, the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing reveals that inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound approaches. If that is not enough, 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into. And, 44% of direct mail is never opened. Wow!
  4. Inbound Marketing can be measured: The beauty of a digital footprint is that it’s very trackable. And, that’s SMART. Therefore, we are able to measure all the activity on the website to see what are members are interested in and how to feed them the information which is relevant to them at that particular time and in the future. The association can measure the performance of every piece of content from social media posts to whitepapers and landing pages. It’s awesome!
  5. Inbound Marketing is the Gift that keeps on Giving: The more content you have on your associations website, the easier you are going to be found for conferences, training programs which are offered, and new members not familiar with your organization. You must have that content optimized for keywords, but since you spent so much on that last Association Management platform, what’s a few extra tags?


As more and more are introduced to inbound marketing, we believe this is going to be a hot topic for many association executives in years to come. Associations are challenged with building their brand in new, innovative, and effective ways that allow them to carry on a two-way discussion with members and potential members/vendors/sponsors. Finding ways to encourage members to discover your organization instead of paying your way into their homes, mailboxes, and internet browsers is key to delighting your audience.

Inbound is an evolution of smarter, more strategic marketing that gets results.Blogging (Content Marketing), Social Media, Email Campaigns, and great strategic content to reach people of like-minded interests you desire is available today.

This is the new world of marketing, one where members will find you because you can meet their needs and you can answer their questions. However, In order to be successful with Inbound Marketing, you need a good marketing plan, people, and the right tool. And, oh by the way, we can help with all those so give us a call to discuss.

Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Top 5 Signs Your Business has reached the Limits of Quickbooks

We outlined the top 5 items to consider in Financial Software for NPO's

QuickBooks is the world’s most popular small business accounting system with a reported 3.5 million users. And, many of our association nonprofit clients use it today. In this article, we would like to highlight the top 5 reasons it may be necessary to remove the ball and chain and explore a new software option to handle the financial and accounting aspects of your business.

1st, there is no denying the success of this product. For the money, QuickBooks provides a good value and a reasonable assortment of features to meet the needs of small and entry-level businesses.

While QuickBooks offers a good entry-level solution, it has limitations that prevent the product from meeting the needs of many associations and nonprofits – especially growing associations.

The Top 5 Signs You’ve reached the Limits of Quickbooks

So, without further adieu, here are the Top 5 Signs:

  1. It’s Too Hard to Find Out What’s Really Happening Across Your Business Right Now
  2. Too much Time Re-Entering and Reconciling Data across Systems
  3. Your’re Losing Dues, Donor, or Nondues Revenue because you can’t Get Information Where it’s needed Fast Enough
  4. Your’re Doing More of Your Accounting Outside of Quickbooks Than in IT
  5. You Spend Too Much Time Worrying About Technology Instead of Focusing on Business Intelligence

How do you feel? When is the right time to make a move? Give us a call and we can help answer those questions for you.