It’s two months into a new year and a brave new world. What are the most important trends for associations in 2018 that you need to be aware of?
In this post, we’ll discuss the key trends to embrace for this year. From technology to strategy, we’ll also focus on what trends to leverage to reduce churn and insure loyalty with your members. Let’s get started.
A la Carte Pricing
Charging members a flat fee to access all of the same benefits? That’s out of date.
The trend for 2018 is to allow your members to choose their own experience with your association. Some members will want a full-on engagement with your association, but for other member types, especially smaller businesses or individuals, it will make more sense to pick and choose which services best suit their needs. Not only will this offer a better financial benefit to your members, it will reinforce the idea that association serves the member and not the other way around.
The need for personalization is nothing new. Associations have incorporated personalization strategies in their marketing for the last few years now. However, the trend for 2018 isn’t just personalization– it’s personalization on steroids.
As the marketplace becomes even more saturated with similar organizations that serve the same group, the best way to insure member loyalty is to deepen your understanding of your members and provide personalized service whenever possible. Here are on-trend personalization strategies to incorporate in 2018:
- Offer service recommendations based on which benefits they use and how often
- Giving members a warm welcome when they sign in to the members’ area of your site
- Personalized content on individual member pages to encourage longer site visits
- Include curated content on your newsletters that will add value to your members
Of course, personalization doesn’t need to be completely automated. If you have a team devoted to member success (and you should), put them in charge of personally reaching out to your members. Each member, especially those who are in danger of churning (i.e., in the weeks before their renewal date), should receive a personalized email or phone call to discuss their experience with your organization. This would also be a good time to match your members with benefits that better suit their individual needs. Tying back into a previous point, consider charging members for only the benefits they use.
YouTube has been around for over a decade now, but surprisingly, only 9% of small businesses in the U.S. actually use YouTube. The overwhelming majority (including small to medium associations) are not on YouTube. However, with over a billion users, YouTube attracts almost a third of all Internet users. Chances are high that your members are on YouTube, and if they’re there, you should be, too.
For those who prefer Facebook to YouTube, consider this: video on social media generates 1200% more shares than both text and images. People enjoy video because it’s snackable, easy to consume, and visually engaging.
Members these days demand authentic interactions with their associations. Click To Tweet While slick, pre-recorded videos will help you attract and connect with prospective members, also consider going live. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Google give businesses the opportunity to live stream for free. You can offer this on-trend option to your members (both current and prospective) as a new method of engagement. Here are few of the benefits of live streaming:
It’s inexpensive. The appeal of live video is that it feels unrehearsed. For this reason, there’s no need for an elaborate set or script. All you need is a simple set up: One person, one camera (even a smartphone), and a loose outline of what you’ll discuss. Because most of the popular live streaming services are free, you won’t need to worry about paying a premium for this trend.
It feels genuine. In the unpolished setting of a live video, your interactions with the audience will feel more natural. For your audience, the lack of a script will make your presentation appear more honest and trustworthy.
It allows for interaction. In a pre-recorded video, the speaker cannot engage with the audience. However, through the power of live video, the speaker can directly interact with the viewing audience through asking and answering questions, reading viewer comments, and encouraging viewers toward a specific call to action.
Live videos become pre-recorded videos. You can continue to benefit from live videos by inserting them into your digital library for your members’ future use.
Push notifications are a great tool to use for increasing member engagement levels.
You’re probably most familiar with push notifications on mobile apps, but associations are also using web push notifications. With web push notifications, members can subscribe to receive updates from your site on their desktop. Even when a user isn’t on your website, they can still receive a message to return. This allows you to immediately engage your members, pulling them back when you have an important announcement, blog post, or service that you want to promote.
Provide Digital Credentials
Paper credentials are a thing of the past. There’s a huge shift toward digitized credentials, but why? Here are several reasons why digital credentials are superior to their paper predecessor:
Digital credentials are cheap to produce. Because digital credentials don’t require paper, ink, or postage, you’ll save costs when you opt for this digital solution.
Digital credentials are easy to produce. At the click of a button, you can create and issue digital credentials to your members.
Digital credentials are sharable. Your members can share their credentials with others over email and key social platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Digital credentials are more secure. Digital credentials can be revoked at a moment’s notice.
Digital credentials are eco-friendly. No trees were killed in the process of digitizing credentials.
To learn more about digital credentials, check out this page.
A Strategy for Each of the 4 Different Generations
One of the biggest trends you can embrace for 2018 is to focus on multi-generation marketing and outreach. So much thought is put into wooing the Millennial generation. However, your target demographic may not be limited to only those who were born between 1980 to 1997. What about Generation X (1965-1980) or the incoming Generation Z (1998-present)? Let’s also not forget about the Baby boomers (1945-1964), the youngest of whom are in their 50s, and are still very much a part of the workforce.
While it may be true that the two younger generations (Millennials and Z) are more marketable, it’s still important to nurture a relationship with every age group in your organization.
Here are a few on-trend strategies that you may incorporate in multi-generational marketing:
Segment your list by generation
People grouped together by age are likely to be within the same stage of life (i.e., graduating from school, buying a home, starting a family, retiring).
Understand the unique preferences of each generation
Baby boomers respond better to traditional sales techniques and are more likely to respond to phone conversations and face-to-face meetings. Think about it: Have you ever known a Baby boomer not to answer the phone, even when they know it’s a telemarketer? Although this generation responds well to marketing, they may not enjoy or understand social media marketing.
How to reach them: Create live, in-person events that provide plenty of opportunities to network and mingle.
Generation Xers enjoy discounts, especially because they’re likely parents and homeowners. They may be saving for retirement or sending children off to college, and they appreciate associations that offer occasional financial benefits. Long live coupons and promo codes! Like the Baby boomers before them, Gen Xers are more rules-oriented and appreciate when organizations go by an accepted set of engagement rules. Gen Xers also love doses of humor in marketing messaging.
How to reach them: Focus on building a relationship through human interactions, via live events and email marketing.
Millennials appreciate the social aspect of the Internet. They expect businesses to build authentic relationships with them through social media. Millennials enjoy loyalty programs, especially those that come with frequent coupons. Millennials trust and rely on reviews– even those from complete strangers– to navigate their online consumer experience. They live on their smartphones. For an association, it’s important to create content that looks great on smaller screens. Millennials also love supporting a cause, even if that means a higher price.
How to reach them: Offer sharable digital experiences, such as digital credentials.
Gen Zers are the masters of social media. They’re lured to video mediums, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. Like the Millennials, they are mobile-first, and expect all content to be optimized for a mobile viewing experience. Gen Zers have short attention spans and place a premium on getting information quickly and easily. They enjoy learning, but specifically through teaching themselves.
How to reach them: Focus on providing innovative and intuitive tech experiences.
We’re two months into 2018. Start incorporating these trends now rather than later. Doing so will ensure that you remain competitive with similar associations, and may also improve your member satisfaction and reduce churn.