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By: Jennifer Barrell

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September 07, 2017

10 Ways to Use AMS Software Data to Increase Member Engagement

Member Engagement | Data Management

Is bottom-line revenue top of mind for your association?

Did you know that member engagement is the biggest factor in revenue per member?

The ROI of engagement is unique to each organization, but its importance to the overall health of an organization is clear. In fact, that’s one of the underlying motivations for implementing and maintaining a membership management system—the ability to track, analyze, and increase member engagement with data.

But what type of data are you looking for, and of course, where do you find it?

Membership management software systems provide a plethora of data that can be used in a variety of ways. In this blog post, we’ll share ideas where to look for the data you need and tips to increase engagement within your membership management system.


Related reading: Data Management Questions on Every IT Director’s Mind


Here are 10 ways to increase engagement by leveraging data in your AMS software.


1. Identify Areas of Engagement

When you’re digging for gold, it’s best to go to the areas of known gold density. When looking for engagement data, make sure to identify all the areas where members are likely to engage with your organization. We’re going to cover most of the available channels in this post, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to create a list in the beginning; even if just to ensure that you don’t miss any.


2. Email Segmentation

increase member engagement through emailEmail blasts, transactional emails, or list-specific emails—we know you’re sending them, but are you analyzing the data generated from members interacting with them?

It all starts with your open rate—if nobody (or under 20% to 40%) is opening your emails, your chance to engage with your email audience never even happened. Take a look at the best-performing emails, in terms of open rate, and see what their subject lines have in common.


Pro tip: Go through your own inbox, select a newsletter you enjoy, and see what type of emails you opened vs. the ones you trashed—your personal experience might open some doors.


Once you have a handle on your subject lines, drill down into your click data. Most emails, apart from newsletters and roundups, should have one link that they’re focused on. In that case, which types of links are getting the most clicks—event info, educational info, organizational updates? Analyzing click data can help you further segment your lists.

In a global email study, MailChimp found that segmented emails saw huge increases in engagement compared to email blasts:

  • Open rate: 14.31% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Clicks: 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Unsubscribes: 9.37% lower than non-segmented campaigns

In short, segmented email lists increase engagement across the board and help you lower negative email stats.


3. Social Media

If you’re looking to better understand your audience, social media should be one of the first places you look. There are two very good reasons for this:

  1. Social media platforms, especially Facebook, have an incredible wealth of data (both demographic and psychographic) that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
  2. People are more likely to take action on social media that unearths their true, non-work selves. If you’re looking to create a more robust member profile, understanding their motivations and actions via social media can supplement what you know about their habits in relation to your organization.

Facebook has a free tool called Facebook Audience Insights that you can use to analyze your Page Likes. It’s surprisingly simple to use and really addicting! It’s tempting to spend an entire afternoon reading the data on your audience.

member engagement through social media

There are SO many things you can do with the tool, but a few highlights include:

  • Demographics 
  • Page Likes
  • Location and language
  • Facebook usage
  • Device(s) they are using when they log on
  • Purchases activity

Would the answers to those categories help you with your marketing efforts? Probably. This could help you choose what time of day is best to post on social media, where to focus your mobile efforts, what type of products or services resonate with your audience, etc.

And this is only a fraction of the data that Facebook is tracking and will give you access to. The possibilities are virtually endless. Ignore analyzing social media data at your own peril.


4. Workflows

We already discussed email, but this feature deserves its own section. An email sequence, whether onboarding, educational, or other, can tell you a lot about your members. Are members all dropping out of the sequence at the same step in the process? Then you need to look closer at that step—perhaps they need more info to complete the step, perhaps they’re not properly prepared, but either way, you need to fix that bottleneck!

One of the great things about fixing the bottleneck is that you’ll automatically increase your overall member engagement by virtue of sending more people to the next step—where they have a chance to click, convert, or buy.

Common examples of email sequences include event attendance and renewal—mine those sequences for results desired against actual engagement numbers to optimize your sequence.


5. Events

member engagement through data managementSpeaking of email promotion for events, don’t forget about the events themselves!

Event attendance is a huge sign of engagement, so you should definitely try and capitalize on it. For starters, you’ll want to separate your members into a few different categories: first-time attendees, recurring attendees, interested attendees, and potential attendees.

Once that’s done, take a look at their corresponding data—think financial, digital engagement, social, etc. Spot any trends? Apply the learnings of whatever is working for recurring attendees to your potential attendees to maximize event attendance.


6. Webinars

Event attendance is a sign of a highly engaged member, but it’s not always feasible due to travel, time constraints, budget, etc. But webinars are kind of like events; right!? Members have to register, they have to show up, and they spend a good deal of time with the presenter. Webinars are a cost-effective way to replicate the engagement of in-person events.

Same as before, segment your attendees from frequent attendance to potential attendance. What are the tactics that are driving webinar registrations? How does email, social media, or even advertising fit into the mix? If you’re sending out the recordings, are they getting opened? You might want to consider promoting an on-demand section for past webinars.


7. Online Communities

Online communities and forums are a great way to find qualitative data you can use to increase member engagement. Are there questions that continue to pop up? Are they topics that stir a lot of discussion? It might be worth looking into the cause and expanding your content offers to include those topics.

The fact these members are taking the time to converse with one another is a sign of a highly engaged member, and therefore a good opportunity to increase those interactions. Online communities are a rare opportunity for transparent, two-way communication you should definitely use to your advantage.


8. Retention and Renewals

Member retention is where the rubber meets the road—after all your measuring and optimizing, what percentage of members are actually renewing and keeping revenue coming in?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how to go about the renewal process, but anchoring your costs with value propositions can’t hurt. Also, addressing the renewal early and often may allow you to break down the commitment into smaller, more palatable “bites” for your members.


9. Certifications

Certification programs are becoming more popular—if your member is taking the time to educate herself on a particular topic, why not reward her with a digital badge she can use to help promote her newly found knowledge. The great part about that is she is also promoting your association at the same time!

Additionally, the process of reading, watching videos, taking quizzes, and sharing the results creates a ton of trackable engagement statistics.  

In this way, certification programs are a win-win for your association and your members.


10. Engagement Surveys

When you want to better serve your members by giving them the content that they want, sometimes it’s best just to ask. Checking in periodically with your membership can ensure that you’re focusing on the right topics. Don’t be shy about issuing surveys to solicit the feedback you need to give your members what they want.

Obviously, you’ll want to examine the data available to you before you send a survey—only use a survey to find out what you don’t already know or to fill in the holes.

Engagement is your key to more revenue, happy members, and overall health for your association. We hope this list of ideas for increasing member engagement is useful to you.


As you can probably tell, at Aptify we are huge fans of data collection and measurement, especially in terms of engagement. For a deeper dive into the data behind our membership management system, check out our free guide: Data Management Questions on Every IT Director’s Mind.

Access Your Guide

About Jennifer Barrell

As the Director of Content, Branding & Buzz at Aptify, Jen oversees the strategy and execution of brand management and content production across the organization’s global offices. She thrives on bringing compelling content and useful information to associations to help them grow and engage their membership. She's also an avid fan of mid-century modern design and all things science fiction.

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