Digital New Year's Resolutions to Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

Feeling disconnected from your members? You keep pushing out educational programs, events, materials, etc., but there’s a sense that you’re missing opportunities. Something’s not quite right; you just can’t put your finger on it. Maybe you’re asking yourself what it is and how to get there.

Resolve in 2017 to see more through the eyes of your customers, members, and/or constituents. And I’m talking about digitally. Shadow them. Ask questions. Take small steps in 2017 to see through the eyes of your stakeholders. Focus on improving the customer experience and digital interactions, and your association will reap the results of a more engaged constituency.

When it comes to technology, habits have dramatically changed. Your stakeholders are using and are influenced by Uber, Airbnb, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix, and/or others. The average consumer is much more technologically savvy than they were just five years ago. They then, for better or worse, bring those digital experiences and expectations to interactions with your association and its online presence. If you’re still relating to your audience in the same way you did just a few years ago, you may find that your stakeholders have grown impatient. The result is that the association is missing opportunities. How are you enhancing your website, mobile apps, and the overall digital experience to meet these increased expectations?

When are your constituents tied to a desk or workstation? When do they have moments that they’re checking email? What time of day are your stakeholders most likely to visit your website or engage with social media? How much time in a week do they devote to these activities? Resolve in 2017 to better understand their entire ecosystem of laptop/desktop, tablet, and/or smartphone.  How and when do they engage on mobile devices? Is your website mobile-friendly or mobile responsive? Are some association services offered through a mobile app? Coming to a better understanding of these factors will enable you to better serve appropriate content in the right formats at optimal times.

Resolve in 2017 to think more about your own customer experiences and incorporate that thinking into what you provide your stakeholders. Where did you get outstanding customer service and what made it so? What compels you to buy from one store over another?  Take that understanding and apply it to your website.

Perhaps it’s time to utilize chat functionality to better and more responsively serve your constituents. Maybe there’s a need to analyze forms and how many fields the association is requiring for membership or to simply get information. Whatever gets people where they’re going more quickly will be looked on favorably. Remember that most of your competition now comes from the internet where consumers can get reliable information and products they want quickly.

Resolve in 2017 to make news items, events, white papers, etc. easier to find on your website. Utilize the full capacity of site search functionality with appropriate tagging. You’ve done the hard part of getting an audience to your website. What will making things easier to find result in? More time spent on your website, more repeat visitors, and more purchases of products, memberships and event registrations. Don’t let them leave in frustration, singing the lyrics to an old U2 song- “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”!

Resolve in 2017 to make your content more shareable. What makes content more shareable? Content that motivates or brings an element of humor are two categories. Articles that make the individual look smarter to their peers and allow them to serve as resources to their networks are ones that tend to get shared more. When pieces of content resonate on a personal level they are more likely to be distributed to an individual’s networks. Visual appeal is also a huge factor with the success of photos, videos, and infographics.

Think about your personal interactions. We all deal with enough dry material that might be informative and useful, but what prompts you to share a given piece with your friends or colleagues? What made it stand apart? Analyze those behaviors a little more and you may be well on your way to understanding your members, your content, and where the intersection of the two is the most powerful in helping your association achieve its goals.

Lastly, resolve in 2017 to eliminate pages and content from your website that are no longer necessary or are simply not being used. Your website does not need to be a repository of all things the association has ever done or been involved in. Sometimes associations, in my opinion, get so caught up in telling their histories and in regaling us with days gone by that they forget to engage with the present and fully demonstrate the value they’re adding today. At least that’s the message that their websites convey. I would challenge you to look at corporate websites and see how much space they devote to their histories and then how much attention they give to where they’re going and what this means for consumers.

Take small steps. Keep your eyes on the goal. Create a better digital experience for your stakeholders and you’ll see the rewards.


About Our Guest Blogger:

Currently the Director of Communications at Results Direct, Jay Daughtry has had pivotal roles over the last 20 years with responsibilities for account management, business development, marketing, and communications for companies like Wells Fargo, ISG Solutions, Dell, and Personify. At Results Direct, Jay works with industry messaging, content, partnerships, and events. Jay has worked with associations since 2002 and has been a well-regarded conference speaker. Additionally, he has served on ASAE committees and as a Gold Circle Awards judge. Jay earned his BA from Wake Forest University and obtained a Masters degree in Educational Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jay serves in his church in the children's music ministry and with the drama and puppet teams. He also enjoys playing soccer and tennis. 

Results Direct is a leading web and mobile solutions firm based in Alexandria, VA (metro Washington, DC). For over 20 years, Results Direct has guided the nation’s top associations in crafting and implementing online and mobile strategies that have included strategic consulting, responsive design, content management systems, mobile strategy, mobile apps, systems integration, and hosting.  Results Direct collaborates with more than 100 forward-thinking associations who look to the company for innovative and user-focused solutions.