Membership website tips

Membership website tips
7th October 2016

9 ways of using customer experience principles to enhance your membership website

To grow successfully and reach business goals, a membership website needs to encourage engagement. The influence of digital technology, mobile especially, is growing every day. And as member behaviours shift towards the latest digital marketing trends, membership organisations need to shift too. A strong focus on providing better experiences for members is vital.

A great digital marketing strategy has customer experience at its core. And with good reason. Your members may not be “customers” exactly. But membership organisations can certainly learn a thing or two from basic customer experience principles. There are plenty of benefits to getting your membership website in shape, including:

  • Higher engagement
  • Improved conversion rates
  • Increased member loyalty and retention
  • Improved brand perception
  • Better return on investment

Finding the right platform for your membership website

Successful membership organisations need the right website content management system (CMS). There are plenty of options. But we think Sitecore’s got the perfect tools to help your membership website succeed.

With Sitecore’s digital marketing features, it’s easy to reach business goals through your membership website. Here are our top 9 tips for creating a successful Sitecore membership website:

1. Make your brand identity clear

Carving out your unique brand identity is a big step towards better customer experiences. Your brand identity will touch every part of your business. And with a firm grasp on your brand, you can work towards offering better user experiences (UX). You need to know what drives your users and members and build a membership website catered to their goals. Users look for stability and familiarity in their interactions with brands. A firm brand identity will reassure them you are who you say you are and improve the overall experience.

2. Create lots of engaging content

Content marketing is a great way to impact engagement on your membership website. For your current members, provide interesting updates on the organisation’s work or member news. And for prospective members, blogs with engaging lists sharing the benefits of membership can increase conversion. The Sitecore content management system is feature rich and user-friendly. So you can add and edit content without coding, saving you precious time.

3. Use search engine optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing is one of most effective ways of increasing traffic, engagement and conversion to your website. If you’re not considering SEO when creating blogs or sharing on social media, your content will fall flat. Sitecore’s SEO capabilities make it easy to increase ranking, traffic and conversion. Membership organisations can make sure their site is optimised for page load speed, a big factor in SEO. Plus, your CMS can be set up to add SEO friendly URLs to new content and character limits on meta data.

4. Stay connected through social media

The Sitecore architecture is built for easy integration with other systems. Enabling customers to sign in to your site with their social media logins can improve data collection as well as ease of use. Sitecore can also display your social networking activity such as blog feeds, polls and company updates. Sitecore makes it easy for users to share your content across social media. A strong, recognisable social media presence increases brand awareness and helps build trust for charity websites. Sitecore Social Connect is just one system that can be integrated with your CMS to improve your social media marketing strategy. Integrate social media feeds to your site so users can follow your updates.

5. Personalise every user interaction

Personalisation is another customer experience fundamental for a membership website. One of the best ways to add value to members’ experiences is to personalise every interaction between them and your organisation. Marketing personalisation carries a host of benefits. By personalising user experiences, your membership website will benefit from more engagement, increased conversion rates, customer retention and advocacy. The Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) collects and stores customer data from across your Sitecore installation in one place. Sitecore 8.1 has improved the way xDB gathers and uses customer data. It prioritises real-time interests while keeping users’ historical interactions in mind.

6. Make the most of email marketing

The traditional one-size-fits-all newsletter is dead. Successful membership organisation will make the most of customer data to personalise communication. So members see and react to the content they’re most interested in. And they’re more likely to click through to your site. Marketing features like the Sitecore Email Experience Manager (EXM) feed off customer data stored in Sitecore xDB. So you can create personalised emails, specified recipient lists and track the progress of your campaigns.

7. Reward your members

Not everyone can make it to a membership organisations’ conferences. Make your events more accessible by live streaming or hosting webinars. Video marketing is a simple and engaging way of communicating with members through your membership website. Integrated videos are also great for SEO, as they help your pages rank higher in Google searches. Sitecore’s hassle-free CMS lets you embed rich media in your main content. And because Sitecore recognises your users, videos can be personalised only to play for members. Show non-members short clips of the content they’re missing out on to encourage conversion.

8. Put mobile devices first

With mobile browsing dominating the digital world, membership organisation websites need to respond to mobile devices. It’s frustrating for users to view desktop layouts on a small screen. Chances are, they’ll stop visiting the site altogether. Sitecore lets you see the way your site will look on different screens. So you can make sure the most important content is right at the user’s fingertips. Plus, Sitecore device detection collects and stores users’ device data. It lets you set specific goals for certain devices and track the types of devices members are using.

9. Keep the conversation going across channels

The next step to mobile responsive design is Sitecore cross-channel automation. If you’re going to personalise your members’ experiences, they’ll expect you to keep it up across multiple channels. Seamless browsing from one channel to the next means longer browsing sessions, more engagement and increased conversion. Regardless of what device a member has used in the past, Sitecore keeps track of their interactions. So they can switch from one device to the other without starting their journey over again.

Get the most from Sitecore with Kagool

At Kagool, we’re Sitecore experts and Platinum Partners. We’re the biggest UK digital agency to be exclusively Sitecore. And the only digital agency in the UK to have three Sitecore MVPs(professionals chosen by Sitecore for their technical excellence).

We’ve worked with a number of membership organisations, including IOSH, IChemE and WCO, to help them create a better membership website with Sitecore. And because we’re Sitecore-focused we have unique methods, tailored to the platform.

If you’re new to Sitecore we’d love to give you a free Sitecore demo. And if you already have Sitecore, ask us about a Sitecore audit to make sure you’re getting the most from the platform.