Content isn’t just one of the key ways associations drive value to members. It’s also one of the most important ways associations can reach and convert new audiences. 

Through content, associations can clarify important concepts and demonstrate an understanding of what drives its memberships. Consistently posting high quality content — and using digital marketing to gain exposure to new potential members through search results, online ads, or email marketing — is critical to drive leads and conversion of new members. 

The Ingredients of a Good Digital Experience

To truly stand out from the competition, you'll want to go even further for your existing and potential members, adding value at every touchpoint. 

A deep understanding of who your clientele is and what motivates them will help you identify a more qualified audience. As associations find better ways to reach their audiences, and members search for more nuanced ways to interact with associations, digital marketing trends are constantly changing.

So, let us discuss some of the best strategies to help you retain existing members and attract new ones.

1. Personalization

Your members receive tons of emails every day. Are you cutting through the noise? They are interested in receiving targeted, valuable and personalized content from their associations. The key here is to make sure you target information and content to members based on their preferences.

You’ve probably been hit by this strategy many times but may have not even noticed:

  • Amazon’s product recommendation is a type of personalization.
  • Tesla creates detailed driver profiles. Guess what? It’s also a type of personalization. 
  • Peloton sets personalized fitness goals. Yes, it's personalization. 

Just think about a scenario: one of your members has registered for an event. Your organization keeps sending that member promotional emails for that same event. At some point, that member will start to wonder “I thought I had already registered for this event, didn’t I?” 

So, they check their inbox and, sure enough, the registration confirmation they received weeks ago is there. The next time an email comes from your organization, guess what’s going to happen? That member will delete it without opening since it’s probably just “another promotion” for that same event. 

When your communications feel personal, members are happier and more likely to keep renewing year over year.  But for personalization to work, it’s critically important to have a single place to understand and mobilize your members’ data. 

2. Audience Segmentation

Data gives you clues into your users’ behavior - but proper audience segmentation is key to understanding what really makes them tick. 

What is audience segmentation? It’s simply creating groups of like minded individuals and serving them with the experiences, content and messaging they need, given their journey with your organization. 

You may consider creating segments around early career professionals. You could serve them with content and programs tailored to help them learn more about your field to help them get that next promotion. 

Your segments will tell you what they want to hear from you — you’ll notice they read the same articles, sign up for the same events, and take the same courses. This knowledge will help you tailor programs for this group in the future.

3. Lookalike Campaigns

Your members are giving you clues — not just about how to serve them better, but also about how to serve audiences that are similar to them. 

These types of campaigns help you reach more people with similar traits and behaviors to your best members. New like-minded audiences served with messaging proven to resonate with similar members in your organization? That’s a recipe for powerful marketing. 

To create a lookalike campaign, you simply use a custom audience segment, uploaded to your social media ad platforms.  The platforms will generate similar profiles for your next round of advertising.  

You can use lookalike campaigns to nimbly test new ideas to see what best attracts broad audiences. For example, say you see that membership page visitors are converting at a higher rate than general website visitors. You could run a lookalike campaign testing messaging from that page against a broader segment to drive new traffic to other pages of your website.

4. Nurture Sequences

Even if you’re not exactly sure what a nurture sequence is, chances are that if you’ve been online recently, you’ve probably got lots of them in your inbox. 

A nurture sequence is an automated series of emails that someone receives when they subscribe to email lists. The purpose of nurture sequences is to begin building trust with your subscribers and nurture them down the funnel, into deeper and richer relationships with your organization. 

Simply put: once you’ve started a relationship with potential members, you should nurture them further via retargeting campaigns on social media, additional email nurture sequences or on-site personalization to boost engagement. 

Nurture campaigns should always be informed by data. When members take action on site, ask yourself what messages they need next, and in what order, and on what channels. 

A CDP is Your Secret Weapon for Better Digital Marketing

For decades, many organizations have treated digital experiences as minor or incremental experiences. 

In today’s shifting digital landscape, online users are inundated with digital content and marketing. You can’t rely on old techniques to serve and delight members.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs): Maybe you’ve heard about them. You’ve seen the ads. Maybe you’ve been asked to evaluate one for your association. This handy data software makes all of the above easier than ever before.

What is a Customer Data Platform?

A CDP is a software that combines data from multiple tools creating a database that can be segmented in numerous ways to create more personalized marketing campaigns. So, you must be wondering, how can a CDP help your association drive more engagement and boost revenue? 

Maybe you have so many great ideas but your database is not centralized, or you don’t collect enough demographics and can’t use it to personalize your messaging. And just like that, all of your great ideas end up stalled because you don’t have the data in place to make it work. 

A CDP can help your association solve these two challenges:

  1. Find data that is clean, accurate, trustworthy – all in one place.
  2. Get the right insights from the data – and act on them quickly. 

Most associations don’t have the right technology to actually view or understand the customer journey from beginning to end. A CDP captures all digital interactions with members and prospects across channels and compiles data insights into a unified dashboard, turning it into member experiences that grow reach, revenue, and resilience.