Sector and AuSAE News

  • 15 Oct 2020 8:11 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Delivering useful, actionable information to members throughout their first year will have them ready to renew.

    So you’ve got a bevy of new members in your organization. Great news—but keeping new members engaged until renewal isn’t easy. Associations must captivate new members throughout their first year to build their member base long-term.

    “It’s about nurturing them in that first year because that is critical to them coming back,” says Rachael McGuffin, membership and community manager at the International Society of Automation (ISA). “You lose most of your members in that first year.”

    A drip campaign is an effective way to engage members, as it delivers personalized, relevant information. Some organizations run drip campaigns that last just a few months, but research shows that new members respond best to a campaign that lasts their full first year and is delivered through email, as association leaders rated email as their most effective engagement tactic for new members. Use these tips as you create your own yearlong email drip campaign.

    FOCUS ON NURTURING MEMBERS

    The goal of a first-year campaign should be to provide members with essential information that will help them make the most of their membership. At ISA, members receive four emails, one per quarter:

    • The first is about getting started, showing new members how to set up their member profile.
    • The second is about making connections, offering information about divisions within the organization that members can join.
    • The third is about staying informed, explaining how to get the latest industry news and content that will help them professionally.
    • The fourth is about getting involved, detailing how members can volunteer at ISA.

    “These emails actually had a higher open rate than any of our other emails at ISA,” McGuffin says, noting that this campaign’s key performance indicators (KPIs) exceeded industry benchmarks.

    PROVIDE A CALL TO ACTION

    Every email in ISA’s drip campaign directs members to a landing page with more information. Research shows that calls to action can have a dramatic effect on engagement—in some cases, a 371 percent increase in clicks.

    “You definitely want your call to action right upfront,” McGuffin says. “It’s about giving them something to do.”

    DON’T FILL UP MEMBER INBOXES

    ISA’s new-member campaign is only one part of its communications strategy. Consider how frequently you contact members overall to determine an appropriate number of drip campaign emails. McGuffin has found that spreading out a small batch of emails across a full year has kept new members engaged without overwhelming them.

    “Talking to members too much might scare them at first,” she says. “They’re also going to be getting emails about our products and services, so we have to be careful not to bombard them.”

    The optimal email cadence will depend on your members, but organizations such as MarketingSherpa have found that most people would like to hear at least monthly from organizations they’ve done business with. According to SendGrid’s 2018 global email benchmark report, the nonprofit industry’s median monthly send rate is two emails a month.

    TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AUTOMATION TOOLS

    Email marketing automation platforms are powerful tools for drip marketing campaigns. You can set up a campaign that is triggered by a specific action—such as a member joining your organization—and from there, the series of emails is sent automatically. Each recipient is on his or her own timeline, so the message is always relevant.

    USE SEGMENTATION TO PERSONALIZE MESSAGING

    You can divide your group of new members into smaller groups based on location, age, areas of interest, and other factors. Many email marketing platforms let you segment your audience, so you can tweak your messages to cater to each group.

    “It adds a whole new level of complexity, and if you are able to do that, I say go for that,” McGuffin says.

    The result? Higher open rates and click-through rates, according to Klaviyo’s Email Segmentation Benchmark Report.

    MEASURING SUCCESS

    Email marketing platforms track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates. Compare these KPIs against nonprofit industry benchmarks to get a sense of how your campaign is doing. This will help you hone your campaign so you can better engage future members. And if you’ve done new-member drip campaigns before, you can see if there have been year-over-year improvements in engagement and renewals.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Michael Hickey.

  • 15 Oct 2020 5:01 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Change is an unavoidable part of life. 

    Some changes are positive, like a brilliant executive taking the helm or a sudden flood of funding transforming your association’s capabilities. Others can be difficult, like an economic downturn that prompts layoffs. And other changes are more mundane but no less monumental, such as the emergence of technology or shifts in language. 

    To survive and thrive, associations need to have change management strategies they can count on. 

    Having a change management plan that supports employees will help your organization evolve.

    Have a clear objective 

    By its very nature, change is disruptive. Before asking your entire organization to change its daily operations, it’s crucial to identify and articulate a clear objective. 

    Employees and members need to understand why the proposed change matters, what it will accomplish and how it will strengthen the organization in the long run. When organizations skip this step, widespread dissatisfaction can swiftly spread. 

    If you can demonstrate how a proposed change aligns with your association’s core purpose, you might be surprised by how quickly people adapt.

    Get the right people involved 

    Change isn’t just about telling others to do things differently — it also means listening to people with direct involvement in processes and trusting their expertise.

    When guiding an organization through a period of change, it’s important to make sure the right people are involved. 

    This doesn’t exclusively mean C-suite leaders.

    While some changes will be internal, others might even benefit from other sources of input. If your association is considering two equally promising courses of action, you could poll members or even the public to decide. The nature of the change at hand will help you determine who is best positioned to weigh in.

    As a general rule, the right people will bring lived experience, knowledge and insight to the table, helping your association to successfully move forward.

    Have an inclusive mindset

    Thoughtful, effective change management takes everyone into account. Every association is made up of people with diverse experiences, roles and identities. 

    These individuals may require slightly different support through times of change — and have unique strengths to offer.

    When assembling working groups or soliciting feedback, it’s crucial to include as many perspectives as possible. Not only is this a morally sound practice, but as the old saying goes, many hands make light work. 

    An inclusive approach to change management can help your association spot potential issues ahead of time, and come up with practical solutions. 

    Communicate like crazy

    Successful leaders never miss an opportunity to communicate with their teams. 

    When your association is experiencing significant change, a single email, meeting, or memo won’t suffice. Instead, leaders should spend time developing a plan for when and how to communicate—and reiterate—key messages.

    Though you might worry about nagging, repeating important information is rooted in empathy. During periods of intense change, your employees may need multiple reminders before they settle into a groove. 

    Reinforcing new information will help everyone cope with any bumps along the way, and help managers avoid making any one employee feel singled out. If you feel like a broken record, you’re doing something right. 

    With excellent communication and thoughtful inclusion, change management doesn’t have to be intimidating. With enough practice, your association will become nimble enough to weather changes big and small.


  • 15 Oct 2020 4:47 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Most publications attract a handful of true fans — readers who devour every post, share content on social media and open every newsletter. 

    But in the long run, understanding who doesn’t regularly read your content — and why — is far more valuable. If you can identify the disconnect between your content and your audience’s needs, you can begin to close the gap and increase engagement. 

    Still, it’s not always clear how to start. Here are four steps you can take to begin engaging disinterested readers. 

    Understand your audience

    You understand your fans, but what about the rest of your audience? Developing a complete picture of your audience will help you develop content that addresses their needs and provides genuinely helpful information.

    The reality is your total audience will include multiple segments. These subgroups might be defined by:

    • Niche or specialty within your industry
    • Level of professional experience and seniority
    • Geographic region
    • Demographic factors, such as race and gender

    There are many ways to identify these segments, but two tactics stand out.

    First, take a look at any data and analytics you can access. Data will reveal basic demographic and behavioral information, such as where your audience lives and how they find your content.

    To clarify further nuances, you can go one step further by surveying your audience. Be sure to leave a few open ended questions so you can gather feedback about what kind of content they’re most interested in reading.


    Personalize your content 

    Because no two readers are exactly the same, adding personal touches can help cater to a variety of perspectives. It can also pull readers deeper into your content by helping them discover more articles they might enjoy.

    If your organization has the technological capability, you can implement website features that automatically recommend articles based on what a reader has previously read. This can create a variety of personalized journeys through your archive. 

    If your website capabilities are limited, you can still segment your newsletter audience with relatively little effort. Rather than sending out one newsletter that contains a mix of content that not all subscribers will be interested in, you can create several newsletters that focus narrowly on specific topics. 

    Nurture reading habits

    When it comes to content, less isn’t always more. Publishing too infrequently can cause your content to fade from readers’ minds. If other outlets are filling the void, your content might be lost in the shuffle. 

    To stand out in readers’ minds, it’s important to publish frequently and consistently. If publishing daily is out of reach — as it is for most organizations — a weekly cadence may be more reasonable. 

    While your current staff may be unable to meet this pace, there are plenty of creative opportunities to increase the amount of content you publish. 

    Launching a program for your readers to contribute content can increase the frequency of publication. If you’re unable to hire more full time staff, consider hiring freelancers to work on assignments as needed.

    Step 4: Plan for the Future

    Adjusting your content strategy using these tips may drive some initial results — but your content journey shouldn’t stop there. As your content gains traction, it’s important to step back, refine your plan, and repeat the cycle. 

    Analyzing your results will help you set attainable, metrics-driven goals. As you identify content that performs well, you’ll be able to replicate the factors that make it successful and cater further to your audience.

    BY ASSOCIATIONSUCCESS.ORG STAFF

    9 October 2020

  • 14 Oct 2020 10:37 AM | Kerrie Green

    Welcome back to our AuSAE Member Chat Series – Half an Hour of Power. This week we are delighted to have sat down with AuSAE member, Matthew Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA).

    In a short 30 minute interview we discussed four key questions with Matthew to reflect on the last six months and look forward to the future post this crisis.

    What do the next 6 months look like for your association and your members 

    In the next few months the associations’ focus will be on reflection and making decisions on what we want to continue, stop and start doing more of. Over this period the ACA has sent over 100 separate pieces of communication for members from both a business and health practitioner perspective. We will continue to monitor the current situation for members and provide support as we move into a stable COVID operating environment.

    After a successful membership renewal period, achieving a 95% retention rate, our focus will turn to non-member recruitment. The work we have provided over this crisis has impacted and helped not just our members but the profession as a whole.

    Most importantly, as an Association CEO I will be encouraging the team to take a break, rejuvenate and prepare themselves as we move towards the end of the year. The toll this year has taken on everyone is something we all need to consider. The focus shouldn’t be just on our teams but ourselves as leaders of Associations and drivers of key business objectives. We can’t fill from an empty cup. 

    Areas of concern

    The biggest challenge for the organisation moving forward is aligning our strategic direction, public perception and ensuring the broader profession understand why we do what we do. Over the last few years we have worked hard in media and public relations to increase awareness and understanding of the profession and the role the ACA plays.

    Areas of opportunity

    As an association moving forward we want to ensure we capture and harness the great work we have achieved in the past six months. The impact we have achieved in advocating for the sector during COVID-19 is significant and affects the entire profession.

    Looking forward into next year, we have an opportunity to focus on building the reputation and standing of the profession, building on positive public perception and increasing our penetration into the profession. 

    Celebrated moments in the last six months

    We moved out of our offices on March 24 and are still working from home. Over this period, the performance and culture of the organisation has improved. The team are working well together and this challenging time has aligned the team towards a common goal. We are seeing more communication, collaboration and understanding of one another.

    The team have transitioned well and as a leader it does make you think about your options for office space and working arrangements. Do we really need an office, do we want to wear office attire again, do we want to travel as much as we were, do we want to commute back and forth? This year has shown that we can perform and operate successfully in a new working environment and this needs to be considered as we move back into business as “normal”.

  • 13 Oct 2020 3:33 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Alexandria, VA, USA (24 September, 2020) — Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, today announced that Brookside Equity Partners has made a significant investment designed to support the company’s long-term growth and expansion plans.  Learn more at www.advsol.com/prASIinvestment.

    ASI is the company behind the iMIS Cloud Engagement Management System (EMS)™.  Brookside Equity Partners makes strategic private equity investments in middle-market companies with a philosophy of partnering with what they believe to be excellent management teams to help create long-term value. The investment will be used to increase ASI’s market share in the global association and non-profit communities, enhance global product offerings, and support new initiatives.

    “Brookside Equity Partners’ investment in ASI is a testament to the value of our strategic transition to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model starting in 2014, our talented staff, and long-term growth potential,” said Robert Alves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ASI.  “Our partnership with this impressive, well-respected firm brings us access to patient and flexible growth capital in addition to an infusion of fresh ideas and experience that will guide us as we move into the future.”

    “ASI is a world-class leader in the global association marketplace and we’re looking forward to working with the company to expand its market share,” said Donald L. Hawks III, Managing Director & President of Brookside Equity Partners.  “As one of the longest-tenured software providers in the association and non-profit market, ASI has continually delivered innovative technology solutions over its nearly thirty-year history and developed meaningful relationships with its loyal customer base.  ASI also has tremendous upside potential in the years to come and we’re excited to support this.”

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  While Brookside Equity Partners is the primary investor, ASI is partnering with a number of financial institutions — including GarMark Partners and Investcorp Credit Management BDC, Inc. — that will provide debt and equity capital.  Mr. Hawks and Michael LaConti, Principal of Brookside Equity Partners, will join ASI’s Board of Directors.

    About Brookside Equity Partners

    Brookside Equity Partners LLC focuses on private equity investments, including direct control investments, majority or minority co-investments alongside of other investment firms, and, on a selective basis, investments in private funds or special situations.  Brookside Equity Partners emphasises LBO transactions but will consider a limited number of growth capital investments in partnership with other value-added investors.  The team at Brookside aims to partner with excellent management teams and co-investors to help create long term value.

    Brookside Equity Partners is not a traditional fixed-term private equity fund.  Its capital, whether from individuals, families, or other sources, is evergreen, patient, and flexible.  Brookside Equity Partners investment horizons are determined by the needs of the businesses in which it invests, rather than by pre-determined investment periods.  This flexibility distinguishes the firm from other private equity groups which may seek investment realisations based on fund raising cycles rather than fundamental business reasons.  Management teams can take comfort in the fact that exit decisions will be made in partnership with management and not pressures imposed by outside limited partners.  In addition, investments are structured with a conservative capital base and term that are appropriate for the company.  Learn more at: 
    www.brooksideequity.com/.

    About GarMark Partners

    GarMark Partners provides direct lending and structured equity capital to a wide range of middle market companies and small businesses. Since GarMark's founding in 1997, we have invested more than $1.5 billion in over 75 portfolio companies covering a wide range of industries and transaction types. We provide capital for sponsored as well as non-sponsored transactions through offices in Stamford, CT; Vero Beach, FL; and Detroit, MI. More information on GarMark may be found at www.garmark.com.

    About ASI

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a leading global provider of cloud-based software to associations and non-profits.  We're the company behind iMIS Cloud, the Engagement Management System (EMS)™ that empowers you to engage your members anytime, anywhere, from any device.  Since 1991 we've helped thousands of clients grow revenue, reduce expenses, and improve performance by providing best practices, pragmatic client advice, and proven solutions.  Learn more at www.advsol.com.

  • 08 Oct 2020 5:02 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    A recent report found that associations that are focused on innovation have had more success in growing membership and meeting other challenges in the current environment—and overall. Here are three key reasons why.


    In our current turbulent environment, innovation may be more critical than ever for associations to remain healthy and vibrant. The most recent edition of the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlights the need to change and adapt. The report revealed a strong correlation between associations that had a growing membership and those that had established a defined plan for innovation. At the same time, associations that did not have a focused innovation effort were more likely to be experiencing a decline in their membership counts.

    If innovation drives growth, how does it happen? In his book, How Innovation Works, Matt Ridley presents the foundations for the innovation process. He maintains that “innovation is not an individual phenomenon, but a collective, incremental, and messy network.”

    Innovation requires effort and experimentation. Ridley cites the example of Thomas Edison. Many people had the idea for an electric light bulb, but Edison and his team were the ones who developed a commercially viable product. “He did so not by genius, but by experiment.” Edison’s team tested over 6,000 plants before he found the right option for the light bulb’s filament.

    Associations’ innovation process is not unlike Ridley’s description. The elements that associations say make up their innovation efforts include active collaboration, forgiving mistakes, and providing encouragement to their colleagues who are focused on improvement.  As one survey respondent commented, “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. The only way of knowing if a tactic or strategy is going to work is by trying.”

     
    Engaging Members Digitally
    This year’s benchmarking research identified several areas where associations have been successful with innovation. One of the best examples shows up where member participation is increasing. Historically, the three legs of the stool where members tended to engage with an association were in book purchasing, buying insurance, and volunteering. Today these are some of the slowest growth or declining engagements for association members.
    Interestingly, the products and services where associations report seeing growth in engagement now did not even exist years ago: mobile apps, webinars, and public and private social networks.

    The products and services where associations report seeing growth in engagement now did not even exist years ago: mobile apps, webinars, and public and private social networks.

    Shifting Membership Models
    Adopting new membership models is also a key component of association innovation. In the past five years, 58 percent of associations have either adopted a new membership model or investigated making a change. The models most likely to be selected are a tiered membership or a combination membership structure. 
    The tiered structure changes the membership relationship from who you are—like a job title or company size—to what you get in your membership package. This model offers a variety of membership options like gold, silver, or bronze benefits. The combination membership model, primarily introduced by individual membership associations, adds an organizational membership option available to allow for an entire department or company to access membership.

    More Digital Marketing
    Associations are rapidly shifting how they communicate with members and prospects. Each year in the benchmarking research, there has been a significant increase in the reported use of paid digital marketing tools. The data shows that 46 percent of associations now use some form of paid digital advertising. Thirty-one percent use retargeting ads to continue to follow and display ads to visitors once they leave their website. Additionally, the use of texting, while still rare among associations, has more than quadrupled in use over the last year as a communication tool.
    Innovation is not only a requirement during challenging times. It is a constant need for associations. An article by Gary Hamel and Liisa Valikangas, The Quest for Resilience, makes the case to prioritize change. “It’s not about rebounding from a setback,” they write. “It’s about constantly anticipating and adjusting. . . . It’s about having the capacity to change before the case for change becomes obvious.”
    Associations that have built innovation into their culture are finding help in weathering today’s storms. New challenges and opportunities are constant, so it is never too late to start.

    October 6, 2020By: Tony Rossell

    Tony Rossell

    Tony Rossell is senior vice president of Marketing General Incorporated.

  • 07 Oct 2020 12:22 PM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    When everyone is affected by the same crisis, figuring out what you can do to help others is not always easy. Here are three ways one association, inspired by its members, helped them during a critical time.

    In response to a recent blog post on keeping members close in challenging times, I heard from Keith Chamberlain, director of membership and experience at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, with some ideas he has implemented for members during the pandemic.

    HFMA’s members are finance professionals in the healthcare field, and the association helps them navigate many challenges in the U.S. healthcare system. Knowing that its members had the backs of the clinicians they were working with during the pandemic, Chamberlain said, we asked, “What can we do to have their backs?”

    HFMA created these new programs for its members in response to the pandemic:

    Renew now, pay later. With the help of its IT team, HFMA created a “Renew Now, Pay Later” program for its largest group of members, who were lapsing on June 1. Members clicked a button stating their intent to renew and gave their credit card information, but HFMA didn’t charge it for 90 days, providing a grace period for payment.

    It was not difficult to set up, Chamberlain said—the IT team simply created a new 90-day subscription for that group of members. HFMA already had monthly billing installed, so they just leveraged the technology to use monthly dues payments in a similar way. Fewer than 100 people have taken advantage of the offer, but those who have are “delighted” with the option, he said.

    Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, CEO and president of Avenue M Group, said she has seen organizations extending their dues payments from 60 to 120 days. “It is my recommendation that associations do what they can to keep their members,” she said, “even if it means they will experience a loss in dues revenue.”

    Responsive resources. In January, HFMA launched a new version of its members-only online community forum. Like many other online communities, this one has specialty areas focused on topics like revenue cycles and legal and regulatory issues. When the pandemic hit, the association’s business partners asked what they could do to help members, so HFMA created a unique forum for them where they could share ideas, solutions, and resources. It gave business partners “a place to reach out to their customers and connect in a way that was authentic and provided supportive value,” Chamberlain said. “It remains one of our more active community forums.”

    Thirty-day free trial. In April, Chamberlain’s team unrolled a full-access 30-day free membership trial at a time when people in the healthcare space needed access to resources specific to their field. HFMA’s publishing team had ramped up content related to Medicaid reimbursement and other pressing healthcare topics, which new trial members could now access when they needed it most. That program brought them “hundreds and hundreds” of new members, Chamberlain said. Almost 60 percent of those new members have stayed on past their free trial.

    Many associations had been slow to change until the crisis hit, which Jacobs attributes to their tendency to evaluate the “risk of change without considering the greater risk of maintaining the status quo.” Cognitive bias causes people to resist change because, she said, “they focus on what they might lose rather than what can be gained.”

    HFMA’s experience is a good reminder to consider the second part of that equation.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Lisa Boylan.

  • 07 Oct 2020 10:35 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    Many associations judge the success of their social media campaigns by likes, rather than whether that content leads users to engage further on their site. Changing how social media is used and measured can improve engagement and help generate revenue.

    In today’s COVID-19 world, all associations are looking for ways to maintain revenue and membership. Social media can help, but only if you use it right, contends Dan Stevens, president of WorkerBee.TV, Inc.

    “Social media is a really a low-cost recruitment tool, advocacy tool, and marketing tool, if used effectively,” Stevens said. However, “if you are publishing full stories, full videos, full anything on social media, you are accelerating your own demise.”

    The problem with using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn to publish your content is that it leaves your members and prospects on the social media platform, rather than drawing them to your site, where they can dive deep into all your association has to offer.

    “I always joke that likes are for losers,” Stevens said. “It’s about awareness and conversion, not likes.”

    So, how does an association use social media as a jumping off point to pull people into their content, particularly paid offerings? Stevens recommends a drip approach, where you offer a tiny snippet—micromarketing—to pull people to your site.

    “Micromarketing gives awareness and pulls people into the full story on your ecosystem and your brand, where you can monetize with advertising or pay per view,” Stevens said. “They may say, ‘This is good, and I’m going to sign up and do something for free.’ And that’s how the internet works: People have to try before they buy. What you [as an association] have to do is create those experiences to pull people in.”

    The good news is that associations are poised to easily create these experiences because they have awesome content. Stevens noted that in a typical year most associations only get about 15 percent of their members to attend their annual meeting. “When you interview members, they always say the meeting is a top benefit and has the best content,” Stevens said, noting the association’s best content should go wider than 15 percent of members.

    But this year, with most associations moving to virtual conferences, they now have recorded sessions chockfull of good content they can use to draw people into their ecosystem.

    “Why not take that great one-hour session and produce a three-minute version for your website and a 30-second social media version,” he said. Then post the 30-second version on social, where people can click through to see the three-minute version on your site. Associations can then charge for access to the full session or place it behind a member paywall. “We are seeing incredible conversion rates, when you go from micromarketing to microlearning to full learning,” Stevens said.

    That said, Stevens notes that every interaction doesn’t have to be about pulling members back to your platform. Staying on platform and engaging can be useful at times. “Social media is a great way for you to have a two-way conversation in real time,” Stevens said. “It is a great way to test ideas, test themes, and see if people in a specific category care about topics. It’s a chance to post content and take a pulse of what’s important to the audience you are attracting and that may influence your programming mix.”

    Whatever mix you use on social media, the key is to make sure that it makes sense from a revenue-generating perspective. “If you can’t convert, you’ve basically built another cost center, not a profit center,” Stevens said.

    If an association finds its members aren’t as active on social media and wonders if devoting limited resources to this is a good idea, Stevens said that social media is also where you’re going to find your future members.

    “If my future recruitment is based on attracting the young demographic who views content as free and thinks ‘I can find everything online, why do I need to pay?’ then you really have to engage to get them,” he said. “You have to get them to engage in your environment, so they can say, ‘This is worth paying for.’”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Rasheeda Childress.

  • 07 Oct 2020 10:27 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    It’s not about pushing short-term campaigns or even long-term purchases. You want to win over customers to your side, according to the CMO Council. Here’s how you can make emotional loyalty work for you.

    Not all loyalty is created equal, and if it feels like a simple transaction, it could harm the overall effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

    That’s a takeaway from a CMO Council study on loyalty, which found that 43 percent of marketers identified their customers as being “transactional” in nature. The result of this is that, while another 43 percent of respondents called building deeper customer relationships a “top priority” in the next year, only 11 percent of respondents felt that their current engagement strategies were going to help them reach their long-term goals for growth, profitability, and engagement.

    “Too many of these organizations are building relationships with line items and invoices, instead of the actual people behind the voice and the transaction,” said Liz Miller, the CMO Council’s senior vice president of marketing.

    So how do organizations get closer to the broader goal of drawing lasting, meaningful customer relationships rooted in emotional loyalty? Some key points underlined by ‌Loyalty That Lasts: Evolving Growth Strategies to Activate Emotional Connections with Brands.

    Put less focus on purchases, and more on overall experience. The report highlights how loyalty is often defined by what consumers buy—with 58 percent of respondents expressing the belief that loyalty is reflected by repeated purchases—rather than how they interact with the brand. The report suggests that leaning on unwavering attachment rather than individual purchases has the effect of creating a stronger bond of loyalty. “While this definition may still involve transactions, and more specifically purchases, these organizations have chosen to prioritize the bond over the scheme, building lasting relationships with their customers instead of just developing programs that develop more lucrative single outcomes,” the authors state.

    Build toward a deeper relationship. The report notes that emotional loyalty comes in multiple parts that come together to create a stronger whole: a general affinity, a long-term attachment, and trust that the brand will do the right thing. It requires something more than a mere habitual purchase. “These are the touchpoints that bring brands and consumers closer together, but genuine loyalty is an outcome—a goal that can only be achieved by truly knowing your customers and carefully nurturing every relationship you have,” the report continues.

    Think toward the long term. Trying to grab customers based on a series of well-executed campaigns may help to juice numbers over the short term, but it’s better to lean on an engagement strategy that focuses on long-term nurturing over short-term growth. And that requires a long discussion about what customers mean to your organization and how to best serve them, so that they not only stick around but also care about what you represent. “Emotional loyalty isn’t a campaign or scheme implemented in one department. Emotional loyalty can’t be achieved by just installing a new system or adding a new solution,” the report adds. “A path towards emotional loyalty must start and stop with a foundational evolution of how a brand thinks, sees, and respects their customer, from their data to their voice.”

    This article has been sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Ernie Smith.

  • 07 Oct 2020 9:57 AM | Abby Fields (Administrator)

    If you’re looking to create a memorable virtual conference, here are five ideas for injecting some fun—and even animals—into the attendee experience.

    Here’s something we all know about virtual attendees by now: They don’t just want to sit in front of their computer all day watching speaker after speaker. So, what can you do to spice things up?

    Back in June, I wrote about some ways associations could surprise and delight their attendees in the virtual space. And I also spent some time discussing how to create informal online networking opportunities.

    I’ve come across so many other ideas and possibilities since then that I wanted to share some of the more unique ones. Here are five of those:

    Guest goat. Looking to add a new face to your meeting—and maybe not a human one? Well, Sweet Farm, a nonprofit animal sanctuary, could be the perfect option for you. Sign up for its Goat-2-Meeting experience, and Paco the llama, Juno the goat, Magnolia the cow, or Steve the rooster could join on camera. Also included is tour of the farm by one of its guides.

    Snap a pic. There’s usually a line at the photo booth at every in-person event. And while you may think this is one element that has to go by the wayside in the virtual environment, think again. There are plenty of options out there that will allow participants to create and share fun photos and animated GIFs. Plus, associations can add their own branding and other customized overlays.

    Go on an escape. While attendees aren’t traveling to your meeting, that doesn’t mean they can’t slip into a different environment during your event and do some teambuilding at the same time. One option is a virtual escape room where attendees are broken up into teams and have to solve problems or answer clues to unlock the “virtual door.” Companies like Play With a Purpose can create custom escape rooms that are directly tied to an event’s sessions or goals. In an interview with Successful Meetings, CEO Sharon Fisher talked about building a custom game this summer for a financial services company. “That entire game was based on the content of the meeting,” she said. “So, they had to not only be able to answer some questions about the content, but also apply it and show that they understood a way to use it in their world before they could get the answers and solve the challenge.”

    Musical notes. In a previous post, I mentioned the “Daily Kazoom” that took place during the joint meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the Association of Genetic Technologists. But there are several other ways to bring a musical element to your virtual conference. One idea is to have attendees write a song—a remote team anthem—with the help of a world-class musician. And another is to host a virtual karaoke party.

    Share a meal. For INFLUENCE 2020, the National Speakers Associations hosted digital dine-arounds where attendees could sit down for a casual mealtime conversation with NSA luminaries, including current board members, past presidents, and award winners.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Samantha Whitehorn.


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