Being a member of an organization is exciting — it makes people feel like they’re part of something exclusive. For some business owners, however, establishing and managing a database of members via website or desktop application development can feel like they’re peering over a tall fence at the treehouse club they weren’t invited to join. Membership management is a complex structure, and not all businesses are “in” on the best solution.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to your chapter website, education portal, or whatever group you’re trying to bring together? Here’s the “secret handshake” of membership management:
1. It Starts With a Solid Platform
Architecting membership software from scratch is a challenging and sometimes expensive process. Conversely, forming your member community from a ready-made web platform like a content management system (CMS) can save time. A CMS such as WordPress, for example, provides a foundation for those core website features while allowing for the flexibility and customization that comes with plugins.
2. It Incorporates Key Membership Features
Plugins often make key membership features possible. What tools are we talking about? Think purchasing and renewing options that consider membership dues structures; individual account management settings; or back end database management for admins. These are the features that distinguish your website as a membership portal and online community.
3. It Encourages Community Interaction
Speaking of community, member engagement is crucial too. In this case, we’re not necessarily talking about marketing engagement (although it does apply), but rather member interactivity. In addition to those essential member features, you’ll want a platform that incorporates events and ticketing, forums, groups, and other social trappings.
4. It’s Secure
Since your members will hopefully spend a lot of time within your member site, you’ll want to ensure it’s secure. Provide tools that safeguard data and promote privacy among members. The content within your portal — which can often include addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information — isn’t just vulnerable to hackers; some of it can be exposed to members of the community, as well. Let users choose how and what they share with other members and then encrypt that information with SSL.
5. It’s About the Members
Ultimately, membership management is about the user experience. Likely, your affiliates are paying good money to get in on your group. Listen to them. Offer pathways for members to submit valuable feedback so you can improve on processes wherever possible.
Ready to transition your old website to an interactive community? Give us a call today and find out how we can help you create an exclusive community with membership management tools.