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Self-Service + Personalisation = Improved Membership Value

Membership Website |

Self-service and personalisation are the two key components for providing improved membership value across multi-channels.

I was prompted to write this post by two recent reports from very different sources:

  • The CIO article on a YouGov survey “Charities lose millions through poor web engagement” which highlights that website users expect an Amazon-like experience, with the website reflecting their past behaviour and preferences.
  • The article by Lisa Steinhart of nChannel.com “Why Integrate? Planning for Present and Future Retail Success” which identifies the need to integrate back-end systems (ie your CRM) with your communication channels (your website, bulk emails, social media campaigns, etc.) to give a consistent, coherent message and “brand experience”.

It struck me that self-service and personalisation is a common theme that links these articles and this theme was also one of the main conclusions from the recent MemberWise “Harnessing the Web to Drive Membership Value and Growth” Conference – see for example IndigoBlue’s keynote.

Self-service on the website is expected by website users, is available whenever the users want to assess it, produces higher quality data and also results in administrative savings. The key to successful self-service is good quality web design and ensuring that the design is built to support the more complex “user journeys” for activities such as applying for membership and changing membership grade.

Personalisation is delivering the right content – the content the member is interested in – at the right time, consistently across the channels mentioned above, but particularly across emails and your website. This means using the knowledge of the individual member that is in your CRM on interests, region, membership level, etc. to personalise emails and also to personalise content presented to the user on your website. The result is much more of an Amazon-like experience for the member that shows that you are using the information the member expects you to have to make your interactions more pertinent.

And the consequence of the combination of these two factors is a more effective engagement with the member and improved value to them. Our experience at Silverbear implementing this for our clients has borne this out.

The SBMembership Self-Service Portal

An important part of the SBMembership solution is the self-service portal. This gives your members the ability access their own member area on your website. It's a fantastic way of providing value to your members whilst also saving you time and money as basic member admin can be outsourced to the members themselves.

It's very easy for new and non-members to requester and access the portal. You can allocate membership types, to ensure that members can only access the information they've paid for. Any changes they want to make to their profile can be done online and due to the integration with your business systems, the data on your CRM system will be automatically updated instantly.

You can populate the portal with a host of different membership related material. This could include event listings, news, articles, documents and any other type of information that will be of interest to members (and part of their membership benefits).

You can also add eCommerce capabilities to your portal to enable members to make secure, online purchases. Items such as membership subscriptions, training events, conference places, books and other member related products can be bought using credit/debit cards, direct debits or invoices. Any member based discounts can be set up and automatically applied based on the membership type. All of this helps provide value to your members and helps reinforce the strong relationship with your membership base.

Personalisation Using SBMembership

SBMembership manages the key data needed for personalisation – membership level, interests, region and preferences – in its CRM database.

Email marketing can utilise this data using standard Dynamics CRM functionality. Bulk email services are often used to provide click through tracking and to take advantage of their ‘white listing’ arrangements to ensure delivery of the emails.

Personalisation of website content can also utilise the same CRM data – SBMembership makes the data available to the website content management system through its interface (API).

Category: CEO & Board