Communication is critical for associations. When your organization communicates regularly with its members (and members communicate with each other), everyone stays engaged with the association, strengthening your community for the long term.
But knowing how, when, or even what to communicate to your members is often easier said than done. Luckily, your association probably already has the information it needs to succeed: Your member data!
Understanding what your members want and need from your organization allows you to design a communications strategy that reaches them, resonates with them, and keeps them interested in all that your organization has to offer.
In this short guide, we’ll walk through three tips you can use to reach your association members effectively using the right association data management strategies.
Are you ready to improve how your organization connects with its members? It all starts with leveraging your CRM or association management software (AMS) tool.
1. Centralize your member data in an AMS platform.
According to Protech, an AMS platform contains all of the tools an association needs to manage its members and its internal operations. When you use an AMS platform to gather and manage all of the data you have about your members, you experience benefits like:
- Data accessibility for your entire team. With all of your member data stored in one place, multiple team members can easily access that data—leading to better decision-making, personalized interactions with each member, and more.
- Automation to streamline your workflows. Think about the projects your team could dive into if they didn’t have to spend time on tasks like data entry or sending membership renewal reminders. An AMS platform helps streamline your team’s workflows so they can have the time and headspace to generate more value for your association.
- Powerful integration capabilities. The right AMS platform will integrate with other tools, like payment processors, to keep data moving through your entire tech stack. And when all of your tools talk to each other, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and deliver more effective services to your members.
- Data security and privacy. Your members trust you to keep their personal information—names, addresses, phone numbers, and more—safe. With an AMS platform, you and your members can rest assured that your data is secure.
- Easier data analysis. An AMS platform will allow you to accurately track data in real-time and generate meaningful reports. In other words, the right tool can help you make sense of your data and identify the trends that guide your decision-making.
Even after you invest in an AMS platform, however, you’ll need to practice good data hygiene and management. To do this, regularly audit your data to remove any unnecessary or inaccurate information. If you’re missing essential information about your members, you may want to use data append services to fill in the gaps.
2. Segment and analyze your data.
Once you have all of your member data in one place, it’s time to leverage it to create a meaningful communication strategy.
Start by segmenting your members. This means dividing them into different groups based on shared characteristics, such as:
- Membership status or level
- Demographics (such as location or age)
- Engagement level
- Interests and values
- Communication preferences
- Professional stage (e.g, entry-level employees)
- Volunteer status
Once you have your members sorted into different segments, you can tailor your communications to address the interests and needs of each group.
You can also analyze your data to identify trends and patterns. Do this by taking a careful look at your current data and seeing if anything jumps out at you. For example, you might see an uptick in membership sign-ups at a certain time of year or notice that a member of at least two years is more likely to be part of your volunteer program.
Set your association up to identify more trends and patterns by choosing key metrics you want to track. For instance, perhaps you want to keep an eye on event attendance or social media engagement. Monitor your metrics for a few months, and you’ll start to see patterns emerge that you can take action on.
3. Design your communication strategy around the trends you see in your data.
After segmenting your members and analyzing your data, you’re in a position where you know who your members are, what they want from your association, and how they like to receive information. You’re now ready to design a communication strategy that you can be confident in. Here are some tips to incorporate into your strategy:
- Choose your communication channels with care. You need to meet your members where they are—and that means communicating in ways that resonate with them. For example, you may have segmented your members by communication method preference and know that some prefer to receive emails while others like to connect with your organization on social media. Work to adapt your messages to these different channels so that you can accommodate both groups’ preferences.
- Lean into personalization. Your members want to know that your organization sees them as unique individuals. Use your data to personalize your messages incorporating your members’ names, membership level information, or details about past engagement or involvement.
- Create content that addresses members’ interests, needs, values, and pain points. You should be communicating with your members about things that they’re interested in, that benefit them, and that make them value their involvement with your organization. For instance, you might create a blog post walking through your organization’s membership benefits or design an email campaign that offers effective networking tips. Not exactly sure what your members want to hear about? Ask them to fill out a survey telling you what would be beneficial to them.
As you work to improve your communication strategy, find out how your members feel about it by asking them for feedback. This can be a great way to engage your members and show them that you’re actively listening and working hard to improve their experience with your organization.
If you want to connect with your association’s members in ways that speak to who they are and what they need from your organization, tap into your member data. Make sure you centralize your data in an AMS platform, segment and analyze it properly, and then use the insights you gain to fine-tune your communication strategy. Your efforts will pay off as your association’s entire community becomes more engaged and connected!