Are You Meeting the Needs of Your Connected Members?

Management Software For Members & Membership Needs

From my perspective, marketing to customers (members) in the digital age has become an entirely different experience than what it was just a decade ago. Customer funnels have turned into customer lifecycles, touch points have expanded across multiple channels, and consumers are researching companies on mobile and through social media every day before interacting. In this article, I discuss findings from a recent report from Forrester and elements of membership systems needed to connect today.

For non-profit associations, the goal is not necessarily to “sell” a product per se, but to attract new members, retain members through providing valuable services and further their common missions. The concept of meeting the needs of connected members is still similar to traditional marketing.

Connecting Your Members with Membership Management

As mentioned, I read a recent Forrester study which looked at the behavior of consumers and how companies can adapt to changing patterns. While the study focuses on marketing for companies, the findings relate to non-profit associations nonetheless. In my opinion, the goal is the same whether company, nonprofit, or association: understanding your audience (connecting) and how to interact with it.

Cross-Platform Interactions

The study found that moments when you engage with your customer, known as touchpoints, are not longer isolated to a single channel. Google states that 90% of customers use multiple devices and platforms for shopping and other tasks. The same goes for non-profit associations. Attracting new members and interacting with existing ones shouldn’t be limited to just one platform. Your website should be easy to explore, whether on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.

Consumer Behavior in 2016

What used to be known as the sales funnel has become the customer lifecycle. Companies need to inspire consumers to take steps in the journey, not push them down the funnel. This means catering your strategies to specific audiences and delivering the type of content they need when they need it most. As applied to non-profit associations, this means you need to develop an in-depth understanding of your member profiles, much like a for-profit company would develop buyer personas. By understanding the needs of your individual “customers,” you can identify how to best address them.

Understanding Your Members, Donors, & Constituents

How are associations supposed to understand their members and what they want as a customer experience? The same way a traditional marketer would but perhaps with a twist and some help of a membership system as well. Here are some thoughts:

  • Your membership manager needs to help analyze key decision points in the lifecycle of a member. Where are your members finding out about you? What is it that makes them “convert” and join the association? Don’t worry – an analytics platform within the membership software may likely (should) collect this data for you.
  • Membership Software for Nonprofits should offer simplicity and navigability in web design through a content management. This is important no matter the industry. Members want a streamlined experience that is aesthetically pleasing and easy on your website. Your membership site should be intuitive and should adapt to mobile effortlessly. Membership Management Software can and often does provide an integrated content management component (or integrates with one).
  • Nonprofit Membership systems should help your nonprofit manage it’s content. There is no changing the fact that content will remain king and needs to be treated as such. By understanding your members through data, you can create compelling, informative, and engaging content that they will find valuable. Progressive profiling, personalization of messaging, & storage of documents pertinent to your audience can be obtained in membership management software.

As the customer experience continues to change, so will marketing best practices. Though associations may not be trying to sell products or widgets, you’re still trying to sell something; events, services, education & training, & advocacy. Understanding how to engage with your members effectively with an association management software system will allow you to do just that.

Find out which member engagement software is right for you – contact us today. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Analytics in Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits and Analytics

If you haven’t got the hint yet, I am a fan of Marketing Technologies. And, one of the tenants of Marketing Automation Software which fuels my enthusiasm is deriving the value found in the reporting and the intelligence it provides. With marketing intelligence you can better understand the impact that development and marketing efforts are having on overall business. And, then you can refine strategies and develop repeatable processes for success. In this article, I discuss how marketing automation software can provide immediate impact in analytics and the mechanics behind it.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits 

“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

The Need For Marketing Automation Analytics 

More than ever, marketers are being held accountable for demonstrating how marketing investments directly translate into a transaction being made by a supporter. In the nonprofit sector, they are certainly different from the for profit business community but nonetheless the end goal is the same. You desire to “close” your supporters on something. Some examples of a closing transaction could be a new member join, an exhibitor signing up to buy booth space, or a constituent making a pledge based on a year-end appeal.

Modern Marketing Automation is led by outbound and inbound activities (emails, educating, etc.) but those activities are fueled by intelligent data analytics and reporting. Implementing the proper analytics systems can help you make critical decisions regarding which parts of your marketing efforts are working or not, and provide the reporting tools necessary to justify those decisions by connecting them directly with membership/donor moves management and ultimately revenue whether that’s dues, events, non-dues, or donations.

The Mechanics of Marketing Automation Analytics 

Marketing automation helps manage your workflow so you can glean key data that will maximize your customer relationship management (CRM Software for Nonprofits), social monitoring, and business intelligence (BI) investments. Core analytics metrics which I find particularly popular include:
  • Digital behavioral history
  • Inquiry to constituent conversion rates
  • Most popular website pages and time spent on page
  • Leading referrers, search engines, and keywords
  • SEO Auditing of Landing Pages and Forms
  • Google AdWords Reporting
  • The Effectiveness of Marketing Program Campaigns
  • Conversions (recorded who actually closed)
  • Opens, Closes, Bounces, Opt Outs etc.

Marketing Automation Software Can Go Beyond Google Analytics Too

I know what you are thinking. And, I am glad that you are! Yes, any good Web host, or Google Analytics, will give you access to some good information about your visitors, who could be turned into subscribers, members or donors. But, with these tools which for many are difficult to access or even navigate you are limited to the following:

  • The number of visitors
  • The average numbers of pages per visit
  • Some visitor demographics, like location and language
  • How people access the site, mobile versus computer, type of browser

Certainly, that anonymous sort of information can tell you how popular, and interesting your site is. Further, rudimentary trend information can sometimes reveal a useful insight about visitors too. However, with Marketing automation software it can deliver more detail:

  • How long people stayed before clicking away
  • Where they were when they visited the site
  • What individual pages each person visited
  • What search terms did visitors use to reach the site

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits Can Go Beyond Email Marketing Services

Again, I hear you. Well, we have an email marketing solution for our analytics so I assume we have it all taken care of. Well, not exactly. The analytics found within Marketing Automation Software works in concert with your email (outbound campaigns) too. In other words, together the two solutions combined (or within) offer valuable analytics further beyond just what they did with your one-off emails. Rather, it can show analytics which track it down to what they are doing, did, and reacted to it on your website. Then, pull them into a program to continually feed them more!

How Analytics Helps Establish Conversion Strategy

Further, Integrated web analytics lets marketers track social media sites (Referrals From Social Media Sites) and relevant blogs that drive significant traffic to their website (Referring Sites). From there, Marketers in Nonprofits can with marketing technology align their content sharing efforts with the social channels most likely to drive higher traffic and engagement, maximizing the impact of each campaign and boosting marketing ROI.

The core data that once took hours to fuse together from various systems (Google Analytics, Email Marketing Service, CRM, Content Management Systems, Social Publishing Software) and spreadsheets is streamlined via marketing automation dashboards to provide visibility into campaign ROI relevant to your specific nonprofits needs.

Canned Analytical Reports of Marketing Automation

There are many solid options which do a stellar job in terms of analytics. We keep track of quite a few, and I am personally impressed with many options on the market today. We use a marketing automation solution in-house. While we are certainly not a nonprofit, the value is certainly as applicable.

The solution we use internally comes with a variety of canned marketing reports, like these examples:

  • A “funnel report” that allows the user to track how potential customers, or donors, move from first contact to being customers.
  • Real-time tracking reports for email campaigns, so a Development Director can see ow an email marketing campaign is working.
  • Landing Page reports make it easy to see what channels are doing the best job of bringing in visitors.
  • A/B testing is easier because the software tracks which letter or offer got a better response from site visitors, an email list or a donation page design.
  • Who may have abandoned various web pages

The Best Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits

Ok, now I know the burning question for all the readers who made it this far; What Marketing Automation Software platform is the best for Nonprofits?

Our answer is the same as any other software solution we help clients find. There is no “Best Software” for everyone. However, you should strive for the “Best Fit”. And, the best depends on how you define success and the features most closely aligned to your mission.

A quick selfish plug. If you like to get started by seeing what’s out there, download our free marketing automation software list below to help get an idea of the players in the market today.

In closing, marketing automation software provides some valuable analytics which you can benefit in so many ways. And, nonprofit executives can learn a huge amount about their organization’s marketing efforts, with a modest investment of time and money. And, with increased demand for ROI accountability, as well as the need for more consistent communication across all departmental teams, this technology can definitely help establish the impact of your efforts and improves performance of your various campaigns through powerful analytics.

To talk more about the return on investment of analytics found in marketing automation software, or anything else, please Contact Us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits