Membership Management Software 101: The Key Features For Return On Investment
Return on Investment (ROI), in the most basic sense, is the benefit to the investor resulting from an investment of some resource. For software, it's important to know before you buy, what your return on investment benefits may be in the short and long-term. In this article, I am going to dig into the features and benefits of membership management software to assist in realizing the potential of ROI.
The ROI of Membership Management Software
How we define an investment and the impact of its performance depends on the situation. Some investments allow us to do things we couldn't before. For example, take a simple plastic bag manufacturer. An investment in a new machine like a printing press will enable the company to print logos and marketing messages on the bags they make, bringing in additional revenues and a new market.
How about the purchase of new membership management software? It certainly helps if your staff is able to have the right software tools to enable them to work smarter and be more efficient in data entry and reporting. But a good association management software should provide functionality which is capable of selling the value which your organization delivers as well.
Below you will find some functional aspects to consider when reviewing the ROI merits of membership software:
An Integrated Website:
The job of a membership organization is to provide value to its members. A brilliant and connected website in membership software is paramount for associations today. It is a must have requirement because it is likely the first chance you will have to influence a members decision to join or not join more than anything else. New membership applications, dues payments, event registrations etc. should all be available online and connected to the back office in real-time to support your effort to communicate that your organization is a smart career decision to join. Further, an integrated website, will free up staff time and reduce work for them to support this effort long-term.
A member Directory can provide reliable and up to date information to connect with members. Further, this is very valuable for "attracting" vendor partners as well which may improve non-dues revenue. If you can, save money on an outdated process of sending out your membership directory via the mail and place it online for self-service by your members.
eBooks, WhitePapers, & legislative data can be available on a members only basis or to lure non members to join. Some of your insights may even increase bookstore revenues if marketed well with the email communication tools of a strong membership management solution. Your association should be viewed as "The source" for knowledge. Your membership software should be able to "lock out" or "Gate" content based on personalization and access rights. Don't give it away! It should be viewed as a valuable member feature and benefit.
Networking in Membership Software:
Many of the association membership software tools offer social networking features today integrated with the membership database software. And, many solutions like HigherLogic & Socious shine in this area.
Marketing Automation with Membership Software:
Built in email communication software features are critical to produce and manage marketing campaigns to help market conferences, continuing education classes, & get out legislative updates which are available to members. If you need to go beyond the built-in features, there are email marketing service providers such as Informz which can extend your reach to members as well.
Continuing Education Tracking:
Tracking continuing education professional units and certifications of members is critical for trade organizations. The continuing education process can be facilitated with Learning Management software or even be found in the core association membership software. Learning Management Software when integrated to an AMS can help increase the capacity to provide better education to your members.
Engagement Metrics Which Matter:
Engagement is a big buzz for all companies these days. With Membership Software you should be able to track membership inquiries, event activity history and participation through the core of the software. Capturing unique member data inside the membership management system is important. From there, the proper use of the data to make decisions about how to market to non-members or existing members will be critical in competing in the market. Using the data as a tool to discern the correlation is what membership software should provide. BTW, check out this calculator on one of the Membership Software vendors, Aptify if interested in scoring now.
Gamification in AMS Software:
Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage member users in solving problems and increase users' self contributions. While this is not commonly found in Association software today, there are a few software tools which can integrate to help increase participation and activity of members.
For example, one membership software provider, YourMembership.com, has features which allows you to assign value to activities (and create levels acknowledging achievement). Upon completion of these actions, members receive points. Points accumulate driving your members toward leveling up within your community.
Today, associations are competing with many things. And, Google may the biggest competitor for many. Giving members the services they want and need adds up to membership retention. However, communicating and facilitating the value of membership must be done through ongoing campaigns to state the ROI of participating.
Your Systems Must Support Your Strategy!
The right online membership software should help your staff attract, retain, and nurture your membership. Moving beyond just a static website, finding the best membership software tool which has all the functional pieces required to support your ability to be successful is key.
We are committed to finding the perfect software for your organization. If you are thinking about evaluating a new membership management software, contact us.