Association Digital Marketing Trends: Predictions for 2017

Historically, membership was the foundation of professional societies and trade organizations. Before the dawn of the internet, associations were key in bringing together like minded individuals in similar fields to share common interests, purposes, and knowledge. 

In today’s interconnected world, knowledge is quickly and easily available via our desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, or phones, whether we’re on the go, at home or in the office. As a result, association board rooms and leaders are left grappling with how to remain relevant in a world of rapidly changing technology and consumer behaviors. 

In the for-profit world, innovation is the life-blood of success, growth and long-term profitability. Today, associations have unique challenges in finding new, diverse, sustainable sources of income to complement stagnant or declining membership revenues. While it may not seem intuitive for many associations that have built their names on long-standing traditions, it is equally important for associations to keep innovating in order to find new ways to connect with younger generations. One way to keep your organization thriving is to keep your website up to date by utilizing the latest digital marketing trends to draw in new members while remaining connected to current membership.

The following are four digital marketing trends associations should be applying to their digital strategy in 2017 to attract new members and engage loyal, long-term users.

1. Video, Video, Video

Video is now an essential part of digital marketing, and one that associations can embrace to reach new members. Video accounts for the majority of content consumed on mobile and nearly half that is consumed on desktop. 

Video is shareable and can be used in the form of simple social media ads or even a large-scale campaigns; 2017 is the year to carve out space in your marketing budget for video production.

2. Enabling Automation

Associations are always looking for ways to improve how they communicate with current and potential members. Utilizing marketing automation tools allow associations to market to members on multiple channels, including email, social media, websites and more, as well as to automate repetitive member communication tasks.

Marketing automation tools provide associations with the ability to create personalized experiences for members, track member engagement for various email marketing campaigns, monitor organizational trends such as registrations and downloads, and more! 

3. Using Data to Drive Decisions

If your association doesn’t have a system in place to gather data on your audience and their actions, 2017 is the time to start. There are numerous resources available to help collect this information, from Google Analytics to heat maps and exit surveys. However, it is essential that you not only collect data, but analyze it. From A/B testing to segmentation, 2017 is the year data is applied, not just gathered.

Each visitor coming to your association website has specific wants and needs as they navigate page by page. The end result is that each visitor will then walk away with a unique perspective on your association based on the type of website experience they had. It’s imperative that associations start to take a closer look at the user journey of their website and gather actionable user experience data to create an unparalleled online experience for their members.

4. Personalized Content

Personalized content is not necessarily new to the digital world, but this year more organizations than ever before have plans to use this tactic as major part of their online strategy. Your members expect to see personalized content because they see it on almost every other website they’re visiting, from Amazon to Facebook, with targeted content and ads.

Serving your members personalized web content is essential for associations because it offers members a tailored experience that shows the organization understands who the member is and what the member is looking for. Make sure that your association is using best practices around personalized content as this will help drive member engagement.

Is your digital marketing ready for the rest of 2017?

Get ready to embrace 2017 with a full digital marketing plan that incorporates some or all of the ideas above to bring value to new and existing members. 

Conducting an audit of your current marketing efforts is a great way to establish what’s working and what’s not, enabling you to reassign your efforts and budget to those tasks found to be most worthwhile, as well as trying new tactics to improve your association’s overall engagement and membership.

From video to personalization, all the above suggestions are about making your site more engaging to your users, providing an exceptional online experience for valued members. If you’re looking for further professional guidance and expertise on digital marketing for 2017, would be delighted to speak with you! 

Written By the Partnership Team at 

About Author

staff at
Our marketing team is always on the prowl for useful facts and internet tidbits. Be sure to check our blog often for all of our updates and posts!

Featured Posts