25 Jan 2021 Eight Tips to Make Your Association Website More Effective and Profitable
At a time when online business has become the new paradigm, your association website must be better than ever. Here are eight tips you can use today to make your organization’s website work harder for you, including bringing in much-needed revenue.
Make It Mobile Responsive
Whether you’re building a new website from scratch or upgrading yours for 2021, it needs to be mobile responsive. Also known as mobile optimized, this means it has a version for cell phone and tablet users, not a shrunken copy of the desktop site.
Most DIY website platforms offer this feature if you select the right template. Whenever building a new website or upgrading the old one, test it on a variety of mobile devices to make sure it looks good.
Design It for Easy Navigation
Your website needs to be simple to navigate, which means it shouldn’t be convoluted or look like it was created at the dawn of the Internet. Think about how you want people to use it.
Make tabs for your main categories, and include plenty of buttons with interior hyperlinks. Don’t hide vital information under dropdown menus; instead, give it its own page. Save dropdowns for less important topics.
It’s okay to be redundant. For example, in addition to making your annual report accessible under a main “Reports” tab, create a button linking to it on the page where you ask for donations or solicit membership.
Clearly State Your Mission
Your association’s mission should be clearly and succinctly stated on the website’s homepage in a prominent place. How do you serve your members and your industry or community? What makes your organization unique?
Post Information for a Range of Users
Remember, your website is an ideal tool to recruit new members. Therefore, you want information posted that’s relevant for potential members, not just existing ones.
Create a members-only section for paid association members. This builds in exclusivity that drives people to consider membership to access this content gold.
As well, include sections for both likely members (people in your industry) and the general public (journalists, locals, etc.).
Use Email Capture and Popups Carefully
You should definitely have an email capture bar or similar function on your homepage, plus a few others sprinkled throughout the website. You can either use a DIY email system on your own, such as Mailchimp, or hire experts to help with email management. This lets you build a list for event promotion, conferences, fundraising drives, and membership campaigns.
To obtain more emails for your mailing list, offer something in return, known as a lead magnet. This can be something like an info sheet, short ebook, or discount on events or merchandise. Either set up your own website store, or use a third-party service.
While you want those email addresses, use popup windows judiciously. There’s nothing more irritating than being bombarded with requests to sign up for something before you’ve even had a chance to check out the site. If you must use a popup, time it so your user has had some time to read whatever drew them to your website in the first place.
Place Revenue-Increasing Items in High-Traffic Areas
Because so few in-person events are able to take place right now, many associations are scrambling to make up for lost revenue. You should use your website to help bring in money however you can:
- Virtual conferences
- Online training (live or prerecorded)
- Publications for purchase
- Services and consultations for sale
- Store merchandise (caps, tshirts, totes, etc.)
- Membership drives
- Fundraising campaigns
- Use banners, buttons, and sidebars to highlight these revenue streams on your homepage, as well as internally in the site.
X “Extras” That Are Really Musts
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to boost your industry authority and improve your online search rankings with a blog. This is a wonderful way to share knowledge, entice new members, promote existing members, and cross promote with other groups or thought leaders. It’s also prime advertising space, next to your homepage.
Other elements that you should include are:
- Images and graphics
- Links to social media accounts
- Calendar of upcoming events
- Career resources section
- Online library or archives
- Links to resources
Let It Work for Members Too
Set up your website to help association members make money too. You could offer deals on advertising or links to their websites in relevant blog posts. A public member directory will likely bring them traffic also. If you’re not sure how to best help them, conduct a survey, and implement some of the members’ ideas.
Jaffe Management specializes in website design, member communications, email lists and more for associations. Reach out today to let us know how we can help your group use its website to its fullest potential.