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3 technologies associations can use to connect with members and grow their audience

image image imageSeptember 28, 2020 image image3 min. to read
3 technologies associations can use to connect with members and grow their audience

Companies around the world are starting to discover what associations have always known: The membership economy provides opportunities to nurture deep relationships and build a stable, resilient business. 

But the membership economy looks different than it once did. While print publications and events remain important, membership organizations now rely on emerging technology to drive engagement and growth. 

Among the many forms this technology can take, three stand out:

  • Mobile devices
  • Scalable content
  • Tools to analyze data

Leveraging these technologies can help membership organizations thrive. 

Connect with members via always-on mobile devices

From smartphones to tablets, voice assistants to wearables, mobile technology is woven into the daily fabric of our lives. Because of their prevalence, these devices are an intimate connection to members’ inner thoughts and experiences. 

Your members may welcome opportunities to engage with your organization via mobile devices. A December 2019 study found that 54 percent of consumers welcome text messages about promotions from businesses. Apps and private communities on Facebook, Slack and Discord are also popular mobile-friendly spaces to tap. 

For many membership organizations, embracing mobility is a matter of translating existing programs for digital spaces. If you want to engage members, start by being present on their mobile devices.

Embrace opportunities to distribute content at scale

How does your organization publish content? Many associations focus on high-quality print publications, such as magazines and newsletters, to distribute information to members. Others grant members access to digital resources, including essential industry-specific research.

But these traditional methods fall short when it comes to distributing content. To get through to members and the general public, organizations must take advantage of opportunities to share content with a large online audience. 

In practice, this means putting tried-and-true digital marketing tools to work. Popular tactics include:

  • Creating shareable graphics for social media platforms
  • Publishing free, SEO-optimized blog posts for the public
  • Launching ongoing or limited run newsletters that curate industry news and insights
  • Investing in podcasts, videos, and other forms of multimedia

Often, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if existing content can be adapted into these formats. By scaling your organization’s content distribution strategy, you can begin to reach a larger audience, advance your mission and convert readers into new members. 

Use data to uncover insights about members

In-person events and conferences still play an important role for many membership organizations. But the truth is, you no longer need to read someone’s name tag and shake their hand to get to know them. 

Every day, your organization’s digital presence generates hundreds of valuable data points that contain insights into who your members are and how they engage. If you don’t regularly parse this data to reveal actionable takeaways, you’ll miss out on opportunities to tailor your strategy to the people you serve.

 Best of all, you don’t have to be a mathematician to navigate advanced data. Tools like Google Analytics and Salesforce make it easy to set parameters and identify trends; plus, there are plenty of software tools specific to membership organizations. 

With time, you’ll begin to pinpoint exactly what your members value, as well as gaps and opportunities for improvement.

The membership economy isn’t a new concept, but it can benefit greatly from embracing new technology. By adopting mobile-first tactics, distributing content at scale and analyzing data, you’ll put your organization on the path to meaningful growth.

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Heather Nolan is a marketing specialist at Sidecar. A former journalist and social media manager, Heather lives in New Orleans with her husband, son, and grumpy rescue dog.

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