Think of your database, your AMS, as the center of a wheel.
When you integrate your AMS with your online community platform, the community becomes a spoke on that wheel. Your marketing automation software becomes another spoke on that wheel.
Your AMS feeds these platforms data, and the platforms feed it right back with even more specialized data. It all makes the wheel turn.
For example, when a new member joins your association, your AMS shoots that piece of data over to integrated software. Your online community starts adding the member into the right communities. Your marketing automation software triggers a new member welcome campaign. These communities and activities then get saved back into the AMS.
If all three pieces of software are talking to each other (AMS, online community, marketing automation), it means BIG THINGS.
Big things for your organization’s member strategy.
It means you’re tracking your members’ activity with your organization across the board.
If you put this data to work, you’ll see three results:
- More relevant content
- Improved outreach effectiveness
- Increased ROI
Best of all, these results build on each other. Relevant content leads to improved outreach effectiveness, which leads to increased ROI.
The wheel is moving toward a better member experience.
Result 1: Your content becomes more relevant to your members.
Your members like receiving emails from you when the emails are about something they’re interested in.
This should be driving your content strategy.
Don’t deliver what you think they want. Base it on the data.
Targeting and segmentation based on member data are the best ways to reach members with more relevant content that’s personal to them.
The Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) used data from their AMS, netFORUM Pro, in their marketing automation platform to build targeted event campaigns to illustrate benefits for membership types, each with their different needs.
Delivering personalized, hyper-relevant content has transformed their engagement strategy.
Tammy Curry, Senior Graphic Designer at IASBO, said, “Integrated marketing automation was a catalyst for us to use our AMS at a deeper level…Our messages are no longer simply ‘come to our conference.’ They have evolved into ‘come to this conference that affects you in this way.’”
How do you think members like IASBO’s new strategy?
(Hint: A lot.)
Tammy said, “Members are more engaged now. It’s not about delivering content we think they want, but instead what they actually want based on preferences or behavior.”
The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) used their marketing automation software and their AMS, YourMembership, integration to restructure their renewal communications.
Like IASBO, they’ve broken out their member types and now send personalized content for each member. Christina Shupe, the Executive Director of VHMA, said, “We have found that the narrower the focus, the better the open and click rates are.”
You know what else?
It’s more efficient, too.
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) integrated their online community with their AMS, Impexium, and created automation rule campaigns to efficiently reach members about association membership.
Sharon Conley, Web-Based Technology Director at NASN, said, “That we can get people to convert with the software we have now is really amazing.” They don’t have to do this work (clearing lapsed members and sending one-off emails) by hand anymore.
Overall, the targeted, personal campaigns you can develop using AMS integrations with both your community and your marketing automation software will improve your membership strategy, because members are finally getting the emails they want to read.
Remember how I said these results build on each other?
Result 2: You improve your outreach.
Your new and improved targeting will dramatically improve your outreach, both from a community and marketing automation standpoint.
To your members.
The North American Spine Society (NASS) gets extensive data from their community, which all leads back into their CRM system using Protech’s Link integration. They track data like profile updates to proactively reach out and assist their members.
To your prospects.
The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) found that they were also able to get in touch with prospects much more easily.
Their integrated approach to community with their AMS, iMIS, “increased new member prospects by more than 25%,” according to former CEO, Chris Champion. The community “creates an enormous number of new member prospects, and increases outreach effectiveness to potential event attendees and people interested in our services,” said Chris.
And do more with less.
VHMA found that automating and integrating their renewal campaigns slashed staff time spent on renewal campaigns by 50 percent.
Not only that, but the time they’ve saved helped them increase the number of communications they sent by 23 percent from the previous year, boosting engagement across their email campaigns.
All of this improvement in relevancy and outreach has to lead to something.
Result 3: You increase your ROI.
When your systems are talking to each other, you can reach your goal of an improved membership strategy with less work and time, which will dramatically improve your ROI.
Boost your membership.
VHMA found this marketing automation integration generated a 5 percent increase in membership, adding an extra $18,000 in membership revenue. So, 50 percent of time saved, a 5 percent boost in revenue, and 23 percent more engagement? Those stats are looking pretty good.
NASN’s highest performing automation rule campaign in their community, has seen a 32 percent conversion rate so far.
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) integrated their marketing automation platform with their AMS, iMIS by ASI, and saw huge results (to the tune of $28,206 total reinstatement revenue in 60 days from 237 renewals).
Kaitlin Solomon, Senior Manager of Member Engagement at SNMMI, said, “Something that I know was invaluable for me, and that I’ve shared with everyone at the office, is learning the benefits of using compound target groups. Between developing personas and learning how to do the automated campaigns, it was worth every penny.”
Improve your event attendance.
For IASBO, using marketing automation campaigns and engaging with different member types in unique ways has had a huge result on event attendance. From 2015 to 2016, IASBO saw an average attendance increase of 45 percent. This increase was coupled with a $20,000 increase in revenue — a 35 percent increase.
There’s one more result I didn’t mention at the beginning, which is: more data.
Bonus result: You create more usable data.
Your integrated AMS-community and AMS-marketing automation software will produce a wealth of data. You should step back and take in the landscape of data you’ve collected over time.
This gets you deeper into understanding what’s working or not working in your membership strategy.
The American Association of Association Executives (ASAE) did this, partnering with Association Analytics to analyze the plethora of data they’d gained from integrating their online community with their AMS, Aptify.
“We built an analytics platform and ASAE helped us build a baseline,” said Julie Sciullo, President and CEO of Association Analytics. “Since Higher Logic is a standard integration, we were able to quickly and easily integrate community data into the rest of this new ecosystem, bringing to light different trends, ways to look at preexisting data, and a plan to prompt further actions. And that’s a big part of it – collecting data is cool, but what are you going to do about it?”
“Everyone talks a lot about ‘engagement,’ but we’re really close to actualizing that at ASAE, and the community is one of the key components,” said Julie.
ASAE’s been working with Association Analytics to analyze the data and act on it. Through this analysis, they discovered their community had improved revenue, event registration, and member retention.
You can improve your member experience by expanding the scope of your AMS integrations.
All three pieces of software should complement each other in service of your larger goal of an improved membership experience.
If your online community is integrated with your AMS, and your marketing automation software is integrated with your AMS, and you’re coordinating between your community and your marketing automation efforts to ensure they’re working together, you’re well on your way to achieving these three results.
Elizabeth Bell is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.
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