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5 mobile tips to optimize the association member experience

By Jake Fabbri
November 5, 2019

Your association runs most effectively when you have a large community of members who engage with your events as well as with other members. The more members your association is able to engage, the more resources, networking connections, and learning opportunities you’ll be able to provide overall. An increase in membership is a huge sign that your association is thriving

You already rely on your association management software (AMS) to handle the influx of data from new members and event analytics. Adding mobile options to your AMS, however, can help drive increased retention and member engagement. Roughly one in five Americans is a “smart-phone only Internet user.” If your association doesn’t allow easy mobile access to its resources, you could be missing out on huge opportunities to keep members engaged.

From offering mobile event apps to increasing your social media presence, here are some tips on how to best utilize mobile-based strategies to improve the membership experience:

  1. Offer an online membership portal
  2. Provide a mobile event app
  3. Leverage email marketing for mobile use
  4. Prioritize social media engagement
  5. Connect member management tools to CRM

Cellular devices have very quickly become the main mode of communication for many people around the world. Don’t miss out on future engagement with members! Meet them where they already are—their smartphones. Let’s get started.

01. Offer an online membership portal

1. Offer an online membership portal

One of the largest reasons members are drawn to associations is the networking and community-based opportunities the organizations can provide. Look for AMS tools that offer online portal features for your members to access and engage with others from their mobile devices. Make sure this portal is fully branded to your association and double check that it can adapt to each user’s language and currency.

When you provide a space where your members can interact effortlessly from their mobile phones, you make it easier for them to engage with your organization, which both improves their experience and encourages more engagement than before. This is also a great idea if you want to attract a younger, tech-savvy group of professionals.

With an online sphere easily accessible from mobile devices, your members can perform key tasks and access your resources while on the go. Here are a few basic examples of what a mobile-optimized AMS solution should allow your members to do:

  • Search for and contact other members in a member directory. 
  • Keep track of hours spent volunteering or completing an educational course.
  • Update their member profiles with accreditations, basic personal details, and contact information.

Even simple self-service options like these can drive a lot of engagement value for your association. There is quite a wide range of AMS solutions and tools that your association can choose from, though, so your best choices will all depend on your organization’s specific needs. Check out Fonteva’s guide to association management software for more options, but make sure to prioritize mobile capabilities!

02. Provide a mobile event app

2. Provide a mobile event app

One of the most important ways that your association can keep members captivated is with events. 

Whether your next event is a conference bringing like-minded professionals together or a learning experience that offers a prestigious certification for a certain field, it’s probably one of the main reasons that members join your association. They want to be connected with others in the same space or who share the same goals so that they can learn from one another and benefit from the whole group’s shared knowledge.

Using technology can seriously elevate your event for both those who attend and your team working behind the scenes. Many event management platforms for associations today offer a mobile apps for members and other event attendees to use. With an event app that people can easily access from their smartphones, your attendees will:

  • Get all the latest updates and last-minute changes.
  • Have convenient, centralized access to your event’s schedule.
  • Be able to upgrade their admission in a couple of clicks.
  • Interact with other attendees in community forums.
  • Provide feedback with surveys once the event is over.

After all, even the best event planning team doesn’t know what surprises might come up. Maybe a speaker calls in sick or you receive considerably more walk-in attendees than expected. A mobile app is a great channel for communication from the event hosts to your attendees.

Any updates your team announces will be automatically available for members. Help make your attendees’ lives easier and invest in a mobile app for your event!

03. Leverage your email marketing for mobile use

3. Leverage your email marketing for mobile use

To truly optimize the association’s membership experience, consider how your members most often engage with your association. The first way your team communicates with members is probably through email. Did you know that these days almost 61.9 percent of email-opens occur on mobile devices?

Mobile optimization is important, especially when it comes to your email marketing strategies. After all, it’s most likely your main method of updating association members on new events, volunteer opportunities, and other new changes or developments. Don’t let your email communications fall prey to someone’s spam folder and instead take full advantage of the special capabilities that this digital form of communication can have.

Here are some tricks to keep in mind as you optimize your email communications for mobile devices:

  • Make sure your subject line is eye-catching and incentivizes your members to want to open it. When people are on their phones, they’re more likely to open and read emails if the subject line is more engaging than “Monthly association update.”
  • Make sure your email is readable on a smaller mobile screen. Sometimes emails that read well on desktop computers do not translate easily to smaller devices. Make sure you don’t have too much empty space, as it looks much different depending on where a reader is viewing it.

Too often your members will delete emails without even glancing at the content. Make sure your association’s communications don’t fall short by devoting some time to specifically thinking through how to best mobile-optimize your emails.

04. Prioritize social media engagement

4. Prioritize social media engagement

Social media isn’t just for influencers and celebrities. Associations can use social media in smart and effective ways to increase engagement and improve the membership experience overall. Don’t, however, fall into the same trap many businesses and corporations do—that of making your posts seem too much like advertisements or like they’re trying too hard to relate to a specific audience. Know what your brand is and who your members are!

Social media is an important resource as it takes advantage of platforms your members are already using to engage with one another and with brands and organizations. Most social media interactions are done from a mobile device, so it’s a good idea to look into which apps are being used most by your members. From there, your team can prioritize your efforts on each key platform to drive increased member engagement.

There are tons of social media platforms out there with many functions, but here are some general tips to help you get started:

  • Post stories or livestream whenever you have exciting events so followers can see them happening in real time.
  • Create giveaways or contests your members can participate in that involve posting relevant content to their own social media profiles. You’ll boost your association’s visibility for new audiences while also creating fun for your members.
  • Offer perks to members who help to promote your own events and initiatives with their own online contacts, such as discounted merchandise or membership renewal deals.

With the right website builder, your association can customize a page where all of your social media profiles are easily accessible for any members (or prospective members) who wants to learn more! Creating an engaging website can certainly be a challenge, but Morweb’s top membership website builders can help.

Connect your management tools to your CRM

5. Connect your management tools to your CRM

Now that you have an accessible membership portal, an event app tool, and effective marketing strategies, you’ll probably see an increase in the flow of data all your digital tools are generating.

To effectively keep track of your association’s members’ engagement, you should have a capable CRM (customer relationship management) system, also known as a membership database, to organize and manage key metrics and other data. Depending on your association’s needs, you can program your CRM system to determine which pieces of data are relevant and useful to store.

When you make your functions and capabilities mobile accessible, the amount of engagement data you generate will increase as well. As members are searching the directory, or registering for events online, or updating their profile, your CRM begins to collect information generated from these functions. Why is this important?

The more information your association has and the more intuitively your CRM is able to organize and take it in, the better your team can plan ways to further engage your members, whether it is through events, conferences, learning opportunities, or other means.

Find AMS solutions made specifically to work with your CRM system or that can at least integrate with it. Now that members can engage with your association through their mobile devices, make sure your CRM pulls these key data points from your AMS tools:

  • Basic personal information
  • Event attendance metrics
  • Dues payment history
  • Profile update changes

With your suite of association management tools and your CRM reporting to and from the same pool of data, you can generate smarter insights and make better marketing choices and when planning events. For example, if you want to focus on your social media strategies, you can use the data from your CRM to help find out which platform is most popular for your members.

Tools with integration capabilities, or even better, solutions that are specifically designed to work with your CRM system will help your team engage with your members in more intuitive ways. Learn more about different association membership software.

Closing thoughts

Your members won’t be able to thank you enough when you give them more access from their mobile phones. Good luck on getting started and improving your association’s membership experiences today!

Tags: Membership associations