Your target audience engages with your association across many different channels.
Typically, this begins in one channel and then continues to another. For example, they will read a post on social media, follow a link to your website, download a whitepaper that enrols them in your email subscriber list, or begin their membership.
Engagement is a crucial driver for retention, but according to the 2022 Membership Performance Benchmark Report released in March:
“Many organisations are still struggling: 29% reported a decrease in their membership.”
However, “Those with a plan report increased retention and event registrations.”
With the user journey of association members spanning across many channels, associations must implement an omnichannel marketing approach to ensure they build a relationship with their audience.
We will explain precisely how omnichannel engagement can work for your association and improve your membership retention in your association.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing integrates all the different channels organisations use to connect with their target audience, with the ultimate purpose of producing a consistent brand experience and journey.
The key features of an Omnichannel Marketing campaign include the following:
- Communication uniformity across all your channels.
- Audience interaction-centric marketing within any medium.
- A personalised experience, no matter the stage of the user journey or channel.
- Data and analytics dependent.
Omnichannel strategies are built on a multichannel basis, but there are essential characteristics in the user experience, objectives, and implementation.
Multichannel vs Omnichannel
There are some similarities between Multichannel and Omnichannel approaches – but the critical difference is the goal of the strategies.
With Multichannel, the goal is to ‘buy’, ‘register’ or ‘join’. An Omnichannel approach focuses on building a relationship between your brand and members, which encourages loyalty to your organisation and increases retention.
Focus on the members, not the sales.
Multichannel strategies rely on maximal product exposure to many high-value customers, focusing on enhancing their online presence rather than improving their experience as a customer. The cornerstone of the omnichannel approach is to identify all customer brand touchpoints and utilise these to enrich the customer’s connection with the brand.
Optimise channels, so they cooperate with each other.
Brand content typically overlaps in multichannel marketing, with customers receiving duplicate or unrelated content across channels. Omnichannel marketing integrates channels to improve and focus the customer experience, irrespective of touchpoint.
Create positive user experiences
Utilising the complementary capabilities of different channels allows brands to craft new, unique and memorable customer experiences. Whilst a multichannel approach limits the customer’s brand exposure to product-focused interactions, omnichannel marketing can leverage the capabilities of many channels to improve the customer experience.
Read more: Community Building Transforming Association Membership
What benefits will an omnichannel approach give associations?
A better understanding of your target audience
Using an Omnichannel approach allows you to gather your audiences’ information across all your channels and touchpoints. By integrating these channels, you will better understand your member’s behaviour, interests, and objectives.
More effective marketing campaigns
With this greater understanding of your members, you will now be able to improve your marketing messaging by utilising segmentation and personalisation strategies. By ensuring your campaigns are designed around your member’s interests, campaign engagement will increase, drive new membership, and encourage retention.
Increased visibility and brand awareness
Higher engagement in your campaigns will aid your brand’s overall visibility and awareness. Your association’s brand and mission will benefit from seamless, ultra-relevant personalised messaging across all channels. Another top benefit will be an increase in word of mouth from your members to prospective members.
Efficient distribution of resources
With better analysis of your audience and more robust campaigns, you can assign your resources to the best-performing channels. This awareness of member engagement means you can allocate resources away from channels with poor performance and redistribute them elsewhere.
Related: 7 Ways to Retain Association Members
The key elements for an effective omnichannel campaign
Channel technology crosstalk
The omnichannel strategy is built on an interconnected network of channel technologies. Inter-channel communication is vital to effective omnichannel marketing, so optimisation of your data flow between technologies must be a top priority.
Pipeline and framework optimisation
Awareness of the pipelines that are key to your omnichannel marketing scheme allows you to allocate the right people and resources. Ensure that you define a framework for collaboration between teams for an effective omnichannel strategy.
Analytics and audience feedback are essential in driving the growth of your omnichannel strategy. You can implement key insights in your omnichannel strategy, evolving and adapting to member and audience behaviour to enhance engagement with current and new members.
Read more: Steps for Association Membership Development and Retention
If you struggle with membership retention, consider developing an omnichannel engagement plan.
Focus on building relationships with your members and delivering high-value content through segmented and personalised campaigns.
Utilise the additional data to analyse the underperforming channels and allocate resources to optimise results.
At Congrex, we are passionate about finding personalised ways of boosting membership value. Get in touch with our team to explore the possibilities for your association.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations, and corporations.