Sunday, June 15, 2014

Are your association members using the web?

Perhaps this post seems to be a discussion a decade late but I spotted this AP news story in the local paper: Skip the Website? Some Small Businesses Still Do.

  • “It's cheap. It's easy to do. And it can take less than 20 minutes to set up. Yet more than half of all small businesses still don't have a website. ... Fifty-five percent of small businesses don't have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Internet search company Google and research company Ipsos. That's a slight improvement from the year before, when 58 percent said they didn't have a website.”

Are your association members among this 53 percent?

Last winter, a national association hired me to speak at their national conference and gave me the title “How Specialty Contractors Can Use Websites and Social Media.”

To prepare for the presentation, I conducted an online survey of members and reviewed 10% of its member company websites.

Some interesting findings of my survey included:
  • 95.7% of responding members said they use their websites as a sales tool and/or to find new customers.
  • 97.2% of responding members said they update their websites once a month or less!

Are you kidding me?

Thanks what I told the audience.  I was stunned with the results ... after all, how many people would read a daily newspaper if it remained unchanged day after day for 30 days?

As I reviewed the member websites, I saw three problems:

#1 most were using generic company websites rather than specific landing pages for their portion of the corporation.

#2 most were filled with “old news.”  One, for example, had section tabs which said "coming soon" but were dated 2012!

#3 Most featured “me” focused content and copy.

What does this mean to associations?

Strong associations depend on the strength of the industry or profession of their membership. If people in your industry or profession are struggling, they are unlikely to join your association or participate in its events.

My former AMC conducted website and social media training for members of the National Christmas Tree Association. In the early 2000s, we recognized that few of our members had websites and fewer were using social media. Our goal was to help members grow so they would continue to engage their professional association.

What is your association doing to help members?

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