In this Blog article we investigate how associations and membership organisations are using their websites to drive membership value and growth more effectively. How will your organisation Fare? Read on!

This topic follows our last LinkedIn article, Optimising Online Member Value? Could Try Harder!, which established that members expect an interactive, engaging and value driven online experience. So, how will your organisation fare?

Let’s start with a worrying fact:

51% of organisations are still not tracking online conversions (non-member to member), so unless new members are explicitly asked if they joined following a visit to the organisation’s website where they came from will remain an unnecessary mystery.

Content Management – One of the most important and integral parts of a website is its Content Management System (CMS). Its function is to manage the site structure, content, images, text, social media integration, links and other data. It used to be perceived as ‘the glue that binds everything together’, but now new functionality is taking its role much further.

FACT: Approximately half (48%) of organisations have a CMS under 3 years old and use open-source solutions. The most popular is Drupal.

Web Analytics & Personalisation – Enabling the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data linked to website usage and visitor behaviour is essential. It provides great insight when conducting reviews, making changes, improvements and/or future developments.

Over the past year the number of organisations generating and actively using web analytics has increased significantly from 70% to 87% (+17%). Those organisations that are proactively using analytics to affect online change and growth:

  • 57% track member visits within their members-only areas
  • 55% make changes linked to popular content
  • 49% report analytics to senior management teams/boards
  • 46% review analytics at operational meetings
  • 40% make changes linked to unpopular content
  • 12% can use analytics to personalise web content

It is interesting to note that 87% of organisations do not use their CMS to securely store (or link to) member details (and/or render content linked to member profiles), however 55% would consider doing so in the future to enable a more personalised and engaging online member experience.

All too often the development of the website and CRM system is carried out separately and sometimes justified as a good thing! This detailed survey shows over 50% have not been able to integrate their CRM and websites in 2013. But let’s not lose sight of the most important aspect of both systems, which is the ‘member experience’. Right now websites provide an overwhelming abundance of generalist type data, notwithstanding the fact that there are important policy documents that do have to be formally published.

In practice the association or membership organisation has to manage, educate and pay for two different suppliers and ultimately carry all the risks and the potentially increasing annual costs.

Today’s members expect more. You can exceed their expectations by avoiding risks, avoid increasing operating costs, and suffer from the inability to be agile, by using dynamic information for live interactions with your members and your staff.

In our next article we will focus on online accessibility, CRM integration and satisfaction and the quality of CRM/membership database provision.

Recommended resources

The MemberWise Network can provide you with practical help and support to improve online member value generation.

1) Harnessing the Web 2014 Conference Over 25 educational sessions (segmented into 3 seminar streams) will be delivered by senior association and membership professionals, leaders and influencers. Themes will include online member value/engagement, online member recruitment, online member retention and online member journeys.

2) Online Member Personalisation Training – This one day training course will help you to focus on this emerging topic and understand how to effectively personalise online content more effectively via a range of tools, platforms and techniques. Key results will include improved member engagement, increased member retention and optimisation of cross/upsell of products/services.

3) Harnessing the Web 2014 survey summary report – You can access our full PDF version by joining the MemberWise Network (completely free-of charge). A link will be contained in your Welcome email. Our 20-page report (sponsored by ASI Europe) contains statistically significant results and covers critical online membership-focused topic areas including sector online goals/challenges, online member value, websites/CRM, the ‘mobile’ web, online social media and email marketing. The survey results contained in this article are taken from this report.

(c) MemberWise Network

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