5 Online Trends Affecting Association Websites


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Presented for Higher Logic's Learning Series

The social web has created a new set of expectations for your members and how they want to experience your association online. Your website is the hub of it all. Does it meet today’s standards? Your website goes beyond a place where people simply gather information. Association websites have come a long way since the days of glorified brochures and links to PDFs of your journal.

Today’s association websites compete with for-profit sites, industry publications, member companies, and even other associations. But there is more than just competition. New user-driven technologies and trends are reshaping the way we all use the web – and the way your members use your association website.

Be part of a high level review of five key trends ranging from content marketing to responsive design and walk away with strategies and ideas on how your site can compete in this modern online landscape.

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5 Online Trends Affecting Association Websites

  1. 1. 5 Trends Affecting AssociationWebsitesand What You Can Do About ItRay van HilstDirector of Client Strategyrvanhilst@vtcus.com@rvanhilst
  2. 2. 5 Trends Affecting Websitesin 2012
  3. 3. “If you build it they will come…”
  4. 4. But… no one goes to hear a bad orchestra.
  5. 5. Content Marketing is an umbrellaterm encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creationand sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engageclearly defined and understood current and potential consumerbases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.Content marketing subscribes to the notion that deliveringinformation to prospects and customers drives profitable consumeraction. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining readerattention and improving brand loyalty.
  6. 6. Content Marketing Examples•  White Papers•  Infographics•  Webinars•  Emails•  Fact Sheets•  Blogs•  Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  7. 7. Content Marketing •  A 2011 survey found that 82% of B2B companies use content marketing •  Predicted Trends ▫  Shifting Technologies (e.g. RSS to Google+) ▫  Emerging content channels will steal the spotlight from more established media ▫  Curated Content ▫  Search Engine Optimization including off site optimization (e.g. social channels)http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2012/6827/content-marketing-trends-for-2012-whats-in-and-whats-out
  8. 8. 1 Billion
  9. 9. “Google is my homepage so everything starts there.”“I Google something atleast 12 to 14 times aday.” “Google is my primary research source.” “If I need something I Google it.” “I keep up to date on my industry with Google alerts.”
  10. 10. Personalization Trends from Adobe and eConsultancy •  52% of digital marketers agree “The ability to personalize web content is fundamental to their online strategy.” •  41% are “Committed to providing personalized experiences.” •  Data used to personalize the web experience: ▫  Personal Data ▫  Browser History ▫  Purchase History ▫  Onsite Behaviour ▫  User Preferenceshttp://infographicsmania.com/website-personalization-trends/
  11. 11. Sharing Trends•  Facebook accounts for almost 53% of online sharing ▫  An almost 10% increase from 2010•  More options mean more sharing•  Mobile sharing is for real
  12. 12. 5 Trends1.  Content Marketing2.  Search Engine Optimization3.  Personalization4.  Social Sharing5.  Responsive Web Design
  13. 13. You’re Probably About to Redesign YourWebsite
  14. 14. Top Factors for a Redesign•  70.2% - Look and feel is outdated•  57.9% - Make it easier/faster to update;•  57.9% - Integrated with other technologies•  45.6% - Lack of functionality•  22.8% - Shifting business Model•  21.1% - Member Complaints•  5.3% - Board directive•  3.5% - Competition
  15. 15. Select the right web platformMake it easy to publish content
  16. 16. “The hardest part of managing a website shouldbe writing the content. Not coding.” Ray van Hilst Some guy speaking on a webinar
  17. 17. WYSIWIG & HTML News Events Calendar Shared Content Lists Form Builder Multimedia Social integrationMore than just awebsite editor
  18. 18. “My staff really likes their CMS [Sitefinity] - theyfind it intuitive and with enough safeguards thattheyre not afraid of screwing up the whole site.” Cathy Stegmaier Executive Director Alliance of Cambridge Advisors
  19. 19. Testing a CMS•  Give the vendor sample content to migrate in the demo•  Do a side by side comparison of publishing content•  Try a Sandbox Demo•  Ask about training and documentation
  20. 20. Content MarketingCreating member value through content
  21. 21. “I am very much of a content-is-the-most-important-thing [mindset]. You can havethe most effective integrated social mediaplatform and every kind of technology, butif you don’t have anything to say, you’redone.” - James Carville, Associations Now
  22. 22. Association Content Marketing•  Industry News•  Press Releases•  Magazine Articles•  Videos•  Education•  Blogs•  Newsletters
  23. 23. Get Started•  Content Audit ▫  What do you have? ▫  Where is it?•  Identify your channels ▫  Where should it go?•  Institutionalize ▫  Get everyone on board ▫  Adopt the Manifesto
  24. 24. Content Marketer’s Manifesto (Top 5) •  #1 – I am a Marketer ▫  If you are creating content – even editorial – you are engaged in marketing •  #2 – I hold the hottest tool for retention – Content ▫  Relevant content is the best way to create value •  #3 – My content is aligned with the organization’s goals ▫  I create content that achieves my organization’s goals •  #4 – I am in the influencing behavior game ▫  My purpose is to provide value through content to influence and drive behavior •  #5 – I have an ongoing dialogue ▫  Content topics are driven by ongoing discussion and listening to their needs.http://bussolati.com/manifesto/
  25. 25. Search Engine OptimizationMaking your content found
  26. 26. Good content trumps SEO "Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it,” “Google tries to make it so that sites dont have to do SEO." Matt Cutts Google Webmaster Extraordinairehttp://readwrite.com/2011/12/13/googles-matt-cutts-good-conten
  27. 27. SEO Tips•  Make it visible ▫  Relevant content can’t be hidden behind a login•  Know your relevant keywords… and use them! ▫  Headlines ▫  Body Copy ▫  Internal Links•  Build links back to your site ▫  Press Releases ▫  Partner Sites ▫  Social Media and Communities
  28. 28. SEO Basics•  SEO Friendly URL•  Title Tag•  Keywords•  Descriptions
  29. 29. Responsive DesignFuture Proof Your Website
  30. 30. Responsive Design•  One site ▫  Consistent content management•  User experience is based on screen resolution•  Device Independent•  Restructured Layout
  31. 31. A website that responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output for it uses responsive design. Rather than designing multiple sites for different-sized devices, this approach designs one site but specifies how it should appear on varied devices.https://itservices.stanford.edu/service/web/mobile/about/terminology
  32. 32. User Centric Philosophy
  33. 33. Jim Susan •  26 Years Old •  34 Years Old •  General RT in a hospital •  Radiation Therapist •  Early in career •  Hospital based •  Single, enjoys life outside •  Married with two small kids, work always on the go •  Transaction driven •  Transaction driven Generalist Specialist Sarah Bob •  40 Years Old •  48 Years Old •  Senior Technician with •  Operations Manager many positions •  Service provider •  Engaged at state level •  Volunteers with state •  Married with two kids (8 affiliates and national orgCareerist & 11) Evangelist •  Married with active teenagers
  34. 34. CEs Drive Web Transactional Transactional 1 Usage 2 Career Focused EvangelistCheck & X X X XManage CEsContinuing X X XEducationIndustry News X X XStandards XEvents XCareers X XVote X XVolunteer XAdvocacyMemberBenefits
  35. 35. Welcome Box
  36. 36. Frictionless Social Sharing
  37. 37. AACRAO Sharing•  2,937 Shares (6 Months) ▫  Avg. 6 clicks per share ▫  574% lift through sharing•  Top Share platforms ▫  Address bar ▫  Facebook ▫  Twitter
  38. 38. Online Community
  39. 39. Why Online Communities Matter •  Members join associations because of: ▫  Networking (22%) ▫  Access to specialized/current info (12%) ▫  Advocacy (12%)2012 Association Membership BenchmarkingReport, Marketing General
  40. 40. Communities Align With Trends•  Create Content ▫  Discussion Groups ▫  Libraries ▫  Blogs•  Facilitate Sharing ▫  Connections ▫  Networks ▫  Relationships
  41. 41. Conversion Points Integrated Feeds
  42. 42. Wrap Up
  43. 43. Top Takeaways•  Create good content ▫  Put your users first•  Make your content easy to ▫  Publish ▫  Go anywhere your users go ▫  Be found•  Expand your website’s footprint ▫  Sharable content ▫  Create user connections
  44. 44. Q&A
  45. 45. Ray van Hilst Director of Client Strategy and Marketing Vanguard Technology Corporation 703.439.1990 rvanhilst@vtcus.com @rvanhilst