President / Founder
I've been listening closely to our membership centric partnerships and the term 'member engagement' has been increasingly thrown around as if there's a formula based solution. It typically goes something like this.
I ask: What digital challenges are you facing that we can tackle next quarter?
They respond: We need to increase our member engagement.
I dive deeper: How do you measure successful engagement? What actions do you want your members to do?
Their response: Well, our webinar page views have increased but attendance is stagnant...
At about this moment I really get excited because I realize we have a lot of opportunity before us to find, connect and engage members.
We created the DOAR approach to effectively cover the four fundamental steps to an online engagement program.
Define. Obtain. Analyze. Refine.
Member engagement looks different to every organization and it encompasses a myriad of aspects such as social media, email campaigns, conferences, webinars, call centers, etc. However, I am a firm believer that the single most important source of membership engagement, and most likely your primary online identity, is the website. I've built my entire business consulting with companies regarding their website and one of the biggest mistakes I see organizations make time and time again is they channel so much energy around the numerous 'ways' to increase member engagement yet they overlook a few critical steps, the engagement continues to remain dormant, they abandon ship and look for the next “way". Sound familiar?
It's imperative to the success of any web based goal to take a systematic approach and identify, gather, analyze, refine, repeat until the initial goal is realized. The process is something I have perfected over the course of my career and have derived results from time and time again.
Define exactly what you are trying to do before you actually do it. The only way to track success is to have something solid to measure against. Aka, know your end result before you start doing it. I like to clearly define engagement goals so they are measurable and obtainable.
An example of key member engagement is: webinar attendance. One goal for webinar attendance may be: “new members attend a webinar within two weeks of initial membership registration". Now that we have our engagement successes defined, we move on to obtaining analytics.
Measuring against a defined engagement initiative is as important as the initiative itself. If proper analytics aren't collected, it's impossible to effectively gage trends and successes. This goes beyond anonymous analytics like Google Analytics where you only see surface activity such as page views and conversions. Here, we'll be asking the complex questions around 'who' and 'what' so we can collect data that we can segment, funnel and ask questions against. To measure against our goal, we need to obtain analytics each time a user registers as a member and for a webinar. We always collect supplemental data in case we need further analysis.
Once we've defined and obtained data around our engagement initiative, it's time to see how we're doing. Here is where I ask the important questions: How many members attended a webinar within two weeks of registering on the site? Of the people who didn't attend a webinar, what are they interested in? Of the attendees, who works for a 100 million dollar (or greater) company and is interested in implementing solution x in the next six months? We have our statistical cohort and action(s) to analyze and ask questions against, now to refine the data.
Thanks to the process, we now have a clear picture of the success/failures of our engagement initiatives. We have solid data allowing us to make informed decisions, and we can collectively brainstorm and generate strategies around increasing engagement and maintaining retention. For example, one strategy might involve placing more emphasis on social media. Depending on the actions, it's important to refine the data we're obtaining to flag this new initiative for segmentation so we can gage it's impact.
This approach is cyclical and the strategies contained within it are ever evolving. The key component of the entire process is detailed data. Without detailed data, it's very difficult to make informed decisions. Flipbox Digital goes nuts over data. If you're looking to answer the 'who' and 'what' about you members, get in touch and we'll help personalize a results driven program based on your organizations specific needs.