This is part 1 of a 6-part series on predictive analytics for associations.

Membership is the heart of your association.

From the kinds of education you offer to the special events you host each year, improving the way people see, use, and interact with your association is key to meeting your membership goals. With member experience so critical to keeping them engaged, it’s likely that the overarching question that’s at the forefront of your mind is this:  

“How do we get a better idea of who our members are and how to bring them value from our association?”

Of course, you’ve probably tried to get at the heart of this problem before. You may have developed member profiles based on demographics like age, membership type, or length of activity. Maybe you’ve split them up by how much they financially or otherwise contribute to your organization. Still, what we’ve learned over years of working with purpose-driven leaders is that you probably don’t know how to target them beyond those superficial elements. 

Enter predictive analytics. 

Predictive analytics offers your association a way to segment and target your members to get a good look at what actually differentiates them—not just what your best guess is. Through better use of your current data, you can build a predictive model that’ll help you see trends in your members; divine (yes, as if by magic) the reasons for their interactions with your association; and then use your new knowledge to build activities, programs, and a personalized member experience that help them stay connected and engaged in your cause.

Traditional vs. Predictive Analytics

We used to do marketing based on member surveys, prior purchase history, then, eventually, member pathways to the website and conversion. We could see who buyers were from who signed up for education courses and came to conferences. But these were all responsive tactics to target members that required expensive manual processing and made segmentation of members difficult.

Predictive analytics presents a proactive AND flexible way to target members. Not only do we use data on those same old metrics to predict potential future outcomes, but we also test and try new metrics to suss out subsections of members that we didn’t even know we had. Then we can target them specifically to personalize the member experience and build more effective ways to keep them engaged.

Personalizing Member Experience through Targeting

Your members are not all alike—far from it actually. And if you don’t understand your existing and potential members, no matter what your targeting strategy is, you won’t deliver a fruitful member experience. You could even run the risk of inundating users with mixed messages at inconvenient times, which is incredibly harmful for member engagement and retention.

So you must understand what makes your individual members tick and WHY. Specificity gives you the flexibility to cater to their needs and desires. This is why segmenting your audience and delivering focused messages and tailored campaigns is essential to truly engage them.

Here are some demographic and online behavioral data to consider to better understand your members:

  • Socio-demographic factors including age, job, marital status, and education.
  • Engagement factors including recency, frequency, and monetary value.
  • Past campaign factors including contact type, day, month, and duration.

Luckily, predictive analytics allows your association to use this individual data to automatically segment members with a high degree of granularity, and then devise a more individualized and impactful member experience.

Advantages of Using Predictive Analytics

When exploring how to increase the value of your programs and events, it’s vital to perform deeper analysis on the member experience. If you can identify ways to improve how people view and engage with your association, while spending less money, the result is:

  1. Better communication with members
  2. Savings in marketing investment
  3. Increase in profitability

Here are some specific ways in which associations can use predictive analytics to accomplish these three ideals:

  • Automatically pinpointing potential members.
  • Amping up prospecting efforts and new member acquisition.
  • Identifying member pain points and niches with specific needs.
  • Determining effective advertising outlets and timing.
  • Driving targeted programs and invitations.
  • Anticipating traffic by location and time.
  • Predicting online behavioral patterns and movement.
  • Detecting warning signs to mitigate member loss.

Do More With Your Data and Dollars

Targeting is a no-brainer to create a better member experience today. And with the insight gained through predictive analytics, you can better target your members to unlock the true value of your data and make better use of your marketing dollars.

It’s by using this ‘predictive targeting’ that you can retain more members, increase your impact for good on the world, and calculate the future success of your association before it even happens.

Of course, it’s one thing to recognize the value of using predictive analytics to maximize member experience and another to effectively implement this approach. If you’re ready to bridge this gap and start developing real ways to bring better experiences to your members, check out our free ebook, The Association Retention Playbook: The 5-Step DIY Membership Retention Strategy and Workbook.