Many associations have invested thousands of dollars in their Association Management Software (AMS) platforms. As discussed many times on this site, certainly an AMS can dramatically increase the productivity of your staff and your members engagement. However, most forward thinking organizations have begun to think beyond the basics of their AMS systems and are looking for more ways to enhance their membership communications and ability to understand how to best nurture their existing and prospective members to improve participation.
No doubt, AMS systems have their strengths, but the area where they provide the most benefit may well be from additional applications that support specific business goals. These tools can range from learning management systems or Abstract Management systems to more complimentary solutions centered around member management communication, integration with email, & marketing efforts.
We believe that Marketing Automation (MA) is one of the most comprehensive solutions which can dramatically increase the success in your AMS system. And, the synergy between member management activities and marketing could potentially allow an association to increase ROI in your member management area, improve new member sign ups, deliver more predictable dues and non-dues revenue, and make all departments communication efforts more impactful.
To be sure, many AMS systems have some element of marketing. In fact, many contain an integrated email marketing system embedded in the primary feature sets. However, for some associations their AMS may need to take it to the next level of maximum marketing power. This is no knock on AMS systems. It’s simply moving beyond the basics into more sophisticated territory. In most AMS systems, they were developed to handle individual one on one contacts while marketing always works with larger segments of leads. In short, marketing has to deal with thousands of names and manage thousands of leads to pinpoint the right targets to focus their efforts.
With Marketing Automation, you can add another layer of accomplishment on top of your AMS. One of the main drivers of MA is what is referred to as “Lead Management”. Many associations looking for ways to grow their membership or simply retain the membership need a much more comprehensive way to follow-up with their leads to be sure they are qualified. This lead management process is one of the key tenants of Marketing Automation.
For many leading associations, the lead management process starts with capturing leads through your member website. With MA, once a landing web page form is filled out, a dialogue could be started via email in order to deliver pertinent information to the prospective member or existing member. In many circles, this is called lead nurturing. And, while this email is sent, activity on the web site visits are tracked, recorded, and monitored by the system.
What if you could do or know the following:
- Know when your emails get opened?
- Did your member or donor download a Legislative Brief or donor mission call to Action?
- Did the donor or member visit certain web pages after looking at the content?
- How many times?
- How long were they on a specific donation page? Did they contribute or Sign up? Why not?
- Optimize your web content to increase traffic from your web?
With MA, your Membership or Donor team can review the findings and assign calls out based on relevant interests.While this type of automation may be present in a few AMS systems today, it’s likely the marriage of the two systems (AMS and Marketing Automation) that allows a nonprofit association to increase staff effectiveness and ensure the success of your membership and marketing efforts.
Benefits of AMS with Marketing Automation:
- Capability for AMS to provide a central location for all members and prospective members/donors
- An AMS system has opportunity management features which can take a prospective new member and move them into a member or donor management pipeline
- Member interaction activity management which is critical to on boarding process
Benefits of Marketing Automation with an AMS:
- Marketing Automation will provide a huge productivity boost for a marketing department lead generation
- New Member campaigns can be performed automatically rather than manually
- Marketing Automation provides better metrics on Member campaign effectiveness
- Push content that will interest your members and prospects based on website activity
- Campaigns for conferences, new membership campaigns, or general awareness efforts will improve your nurturing capabilities
- Social media posting prowess
- Increase AMS data quality with tools to prevent duplicates by appending information to existing records as well as identifying and merging duplicates
- Increased efficiency by Membership staff to prioritize and interact with the most relevant leads
- Deliver more predictable non-dues, donor, and general dues revenue
We believe that when a smart Marketing Automation system and a robust capable AMS system are combined to facilitate engagement, your organization will not doubt realize significant benefits.
If you’re exploring ways to improve your marketing efforts and would like to discuss our experience in this area, please contact us today to discuss smart alternatives.