In today's fast-paced digital landscape, membership organisations face unique challenges when it comes to attracting new members, increasing revenue, fostering member satisfaction and retaining existing members. However, by harnessing the potential of well-designed websites and intuitive mobile apps, membership organisations can overcome these obstacles and create a truly immersive and engaging experience for their members. In this blog, we will explore the pain points faced by membership organisations, and how websites and apps can alleviate these challenges through a strong digital presence, and how a digital ecosystem can foster a deeper sense of involvement among members.
First, to the blockers
First, let’s take a look at the commonalities in issues we come across between industries with digital adoption.
Hesitation to adopt digital, while on the downturn now, is still apparent within the public, and it's really important to understand this when considering a new digital product or offering. For example, in highly regulated sectors such as finance or healthcare, stringent privacy and security requirements can create obstacles in designing user-friendly experiences while maintaining compliance. This can either A) distort the user experience and inadvertently discourage use, or B) put the public off adoption owing to a lack of understanding of how digital products such as apps work. Similarly, industries with traditionally offline transactions, such as real estate or automotive, may face resistance from consumers accustomed to traditional processes.
Moreover, industries catering to older demographics may encounter difficulties due to lower digital literacy rates or hesitancy to embrace new technologies. In addition to digital literacy, general accessibility is also key to making your digital offering welcoming to all. It’s something we speak a lot about at Arch, and have plenty of resources. If you’re interested in digital accessibility, you can check out some of our blogs here: Focusing on Measurable Impact, and Accessibility By Design.
One common pain point for businesses in all industries is meeting the high expectations of their members in terms of instant gratification and user experience. Members now expect seamless interfaces, easy navigation, and personalised content that caters to their specific needs. By leveraging well-designed websites and apps, membership organisations can provide intuitive interfaces, streamlined navigation, and personalised content, ensuring that members' needs are met efficiently and enhancing overall member satisfaction.
It really can’t be underplayed just how important it is to have strong design principles imbued into your UX and UI, no matter the technology type. It’s far more beneficial to both members and organisations to have an app or website that has a reduced feature set on launch that is incredibly well designed and thought out, than one which is jam-packed with features, without cohesion or decent accessibility.
The Key, The Secret
With the obstacles out of the way, we can get down to business exploring the best way to ensure the digitalisation of your offering via apps and websites meets the needs of a wide array of your members. Now unfortunately, unlike Urban Cookie Collective’s 1993 hit, there is no single “key” or “secret”, but a collection of different tools and strategies that can be employed in order to improve the uptake and utilisation of digital offerings.
Let’s dive in!
Personalization and effective communication are vital aspects of member engagement. Everyone wants to feel (and know) that they’re getting something special. This, in our experience, can be a pain point for digital adoption within membership organisations. By proxy of their purpose, they need to serve large parts of society collectively, equally as well as their individual members… a tough challenge which they grab by the horns.
Struggling to personalisation offline is tricky to remedy, however online it can be made as easy as pie for content execs and marketers. Exclusive offers, messaging and content form the bread and butter of this, but there are plenty of neat features that can be included in order to boost that feeling of individuality and personalisation.
Here are a few considerations we’ve seen to be successful in our experience:
Virtual Badges or Achievements: Implement a system of virtual badges or achievements that members can earn based on their engagement and accomplishments within the app or website. These badges could represent milestones, completed courses, or active participation in events or discussions. Publicly displaying these achievements within the membership community promotes a sense of identity, recognition, and healthy competition among members.
Community Engagement Features: Incorporate interactive features that encourage members to engage with one another. This could include discussion forums, social media integration, or dedicated member-to-member messaging functionalities. By fostering connections and facilitating conversations, members can build relationships, share experiences, and strengthen their sense of belonging.
Personalised Event Recommendations: Provide a personalised event recommendation system that suggests upcoming events, workshops, or conferences tailored to each member's interests and industry. By curating event suggestions based on their profile and preferences, members feel that their unique needs are being catered to, reinforcing their sense of identity and relevance within the organisation. It’s important to remember that these events can be pre-recorded, online content such as webcasts - users don’t expect everything to be live these days, especially where it might impact convenience.
By utilising data analytics and member insights to anchor all of these features, membership organisations can tailor their communications to match individual member preferences, creating a stronger sense of connection and increasing the perceived value of membership.
Brand fragmentation across multiple tech platforms is another challenge faced by membership organisations. This fragmentation often leads to confusion and decision-making paralysis for potential members. By adopting a unified digital presence through websites and apps, organisations can provide a cohesive and refined experience for users. Following Hick's law, which states that reducing stimuli leads to faster decisions, a well-designed digital platform enhances brand perception, simplifies the membership experience, and ultimately encourages potential members to make a decision more quickly.
We also found data centralisation and integration to be critical pain points for membership organisations. With data scattered across various sources and channels, it can be challenging to gain comprehensive insights into member behaviour, preferences, and engagement. Websites and apps can serve as centralised hubs, consolidating member data, interaction history, and preferences. This integration enables membership organisations to gain valuable insights, make data-driven decisions, and tailor their marketing efforts to deliver targeted and impactful experiences to their members.
Getting bang for buck!
The benefits of a strong digital presence for membership organisations are significant. Firstly, a well-designed website and a feature-rich app can attract new members and encourage existing members to upgrade their membership tiers. By effectively showcasing the value of membership, driving conversions, and generating revenue, membership organisations can thrive in the digital landscape.
Secondly, websites and apps create interactive environments that foster member engagement and satisfaction. By providing personalised content, facilitating networking opportunities, offering access to educational resources, and simplifying event registrations, digital platforms deepen member involvement, cultivate a sense of community, and increase overall member satisfaction.
Furthermore, a strong digital presence improves operational efficiency by streamlining administrative tasks such as membership renewals, event registrations, and content delivery. Automation and AI-powered features reduce manual workloads, allowing staff to focus on more complex member interactions. This improved efficiency leads to cost savings and resource optimization.
A robust digital presence enables membership organisations to leverage data-driven decision making. By analysing member behaviour, preferences, and engagement patterns, organisations can gain actionable insights that inform strategic decisions. This data-driven approach helps optimise member experiences, target marketing campaigns, and deliver personalised interactions.
In addition to these benefits, a digital ecosystem comprising websites, apps, and social media channels creates opportunities for members to connect, network, and collaborate. By fostering digital communities, discussion forums, and knowledge-sharing platforms, membership organisations empower members to actively participate, share experiences, and contribute to the growth and initiatives of the organisation. This sense of involvement creates a deeper bond between members and the organisation, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.
Membership organisations can unlock their true potential by embracing the power of websites and apps. By addressing pain points, such as user experience, personalization, brand fragmentation, and data integration, organisations can create a digital presence that enhances member experiences, drives revenue growth, and fosters a stronger sense of community. Through a well-designed digital ecosystem, membership organisations can transform their offerings and connect with members on a deeper level, ensuring long-term success in the digital age.
Meeting high member expectations for instant gratification and user experience is crucial. Well-designed websites and apps can provide intuitive interfaces, streamlined navigation, and personalised content to enhance member satisfaction.
Personalisation and effective communication are vital for member engagement. Features like virtual badges or achievements, community engagement tools, and personalised event recommendations can foster a sense of individuality and connection within the membership community.
Data centralisation and integration are critical pain points. Websites and apps as centralised hubs can consolidate member data, enabling valuable insights for data-driven decision making and targeted marketing efforts.
Brand fragmentation across multiple tech platforms can confuse potential members. A unified digital presence simplifies the decision-making process, enhances brand perception, and encourages quicker member conversions.
Digital ecosystems comprising websites, apps, and social media channels foster member connectivity, collaboration, and involvement. Digital communities, forums, and knowledge-sharing platforms empower members to contribute and strengthen their sense of belonging.
If you'd like to learn more about how we can assist in engaging new audiences through the design and development of websites and apps, give us a call or drop us an email. We'd love to hear from you.