Many membership organisations still face a wide range of digital challenges from member engagement to security and integration.
Membership websites need to be designed in such a way that they address these challenges, ensuring that members are engaged, communications are effective, data is secure, and the website is easy to use.
However, the digital landscape is constantly evolving, and membership organisations need to keep up with these changes to remain relevant and effective. Here are a number of areas for consideration.
Adopt a mobile-first approach to website design, which creates a better user experience by beginning the design process by prioritising mobile devices and then adapting to larger screens. If this isn't standard for your web agency you've got a problem.
72.5% of people will access the internet solely with their phones in 2025
Personalisation is becoming increasingly important in the digital landscape because expectations have shifted to the point that people expect a personal digital experience that mirrors the typical level of personalisation they receive offline.
Target visitors in real-time based on the actions they take on your site.
Members expect websites to be tailored to their specific needs, and membership organisations need to use data and analytics to provide customised experiences to visitors which means targeting visitors in real-time based on the actions they take on your site. This includes personalised content, recommendations, and communications.
Design with data privacy in mind. This includes obtaining consent for data collection, providing clear privacy policies, and ensuring that member data is protected against cyber threats.
Privacy by Design’s premise is to proactively embed privacy at every stage in the creation of new products or services in a way that’s fair and ethical.
Privacy by design (PbD) means you should minimise the personal data you collect, keep it secure and destroy it when it is no longer needed, as well as be transparent to the user about why you need it and what happens to it.
AI and Automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation transform the way in which membership organisations operate. AI can be used to analyse data, provide personalised recommendations, and automate routine tasks. This can help membership organisations to operate more efficiently and effectively.
In practice, membership organisations may use AI tools to collect useful data on things like events, topics or audience engagement trends. They may also use a Chatbot like Qualified.com to answer member questions, understand member's interests or identify member donation habits. This in turn can lead to higher engagement and retention.
Virtual and Hybrid Events
Embrace the trend towards virtual events to remain relevant. Virtual events such as webinars, conferences, and workshops provide an excellent opportunity for membership organisations to connect with their members, share knowledge and insights, and create a sense of community. They aren't going anywhere in 2023 although there is a trend toward hybrid events.
80% of organizers promote virtual events via their website, and 60% use social media. Meanwhile, 76% recommend email marketing as the most effective channel
With the technology for virtual events evolving rapidly, you can expect a better experience in the future. I am sure VR events are on their way!
Digital marketing is becoming increasingly important for membership organisations. Websites need to be optimised for search engines, and membership organisations need to use social media, email marketing, and other digital channels to reach their target audience. Digital marketing can help membership organisations to increase their visibility, attract new members, and engage with their existing members.
Collaboration and Integration
Membership organisations often work with other organisations and stakeholders, and digital collaboration and integration are becoming increasingly important. Websites need to be integrated with other tools and services, such as payment gateways, email marketing platforms, and customer relationship management software like Microsoft Dynamics.
Analytics and Insights
Data and analytics are becoming increasingly important with the collection and analysis of data providing insights into member behaviour, preferences, and needs. Analytics and insights can help membership organisations to make data-driven decisions, improve their services, and provide personalised experiences.
Websites need to be designed in such a way that they are accessible to all members, including those with disabilities. This includes providing alternative text for images, using clear and simple language, and ensuring that the website is easy to navigate using keyboard-only controls.
Design for UX accessibility requires paying attention to the various checkpoints along the design process.
- Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a starting point for making a website more accessible.
- Measure usability by presenting designs back to the user in their development stage.
- Address basic design principles and measure the website's Core Web Vitals
Membership organisations can also leverage the power of online learning to provide their members with valuable knowledge and skills. Online learning platforms can provide a cost-effective and flexible way for members to access training and development opportunities, and membership organisations can use these platforms as a convenient and accessible way for members to access educational content and training materials.
Online learning also allows member organisations to scale their educational programs and reach members who might not be able to attend in-person events or training sessions due to distance or scheduling conflicts.
Increase member engagement and retention by helping their members develop new skills and stay up-to-date on industry trends
Finally, online learning can help membership organisations increase member engagement and retention by helping their members develop new skills and stay up-to-date on industry trends, which can lead to increased loyalty and retention.
Gamification helps organisations with member engagement by incorporating game-like elements into their website or mobile app. Membership organisations can encourage members to participate in activities, earn rewards, and compete with other members. It's a great way to increase member engagement and retention.
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, and membership organisations need to optimise their website content for voice search. This includes using natural language, providing concise answers to common questions, and incorporating long-tail keywords into website content.
In conclusion, the digital landscape is constantly changing, and membership organisations need to keep up with these changes to remain relevant and effective. By leveraging the power of social media, , providing personalised experiences, ensuring data privacy, and embracing AI and automation, membership organisations can create engaging and effective digital experiences for their members.