ASAE CEO Singles Out Technology

John Graham, CEO of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) came to speak at our September 21 luncheon down here in Georgia. By "our" I mean the GSAE (Georgia Society of Association Executives).

As I enjoyed the fare at Atlanta's swanky Commerce Club, I wondered, "What will the ASAE's message be for us?"

So consider me, a tech guy, at an event attended by roughly half hotel and resort people and half association executives. Rarely is technology the center of attention. That's okay. I love learning about millennials, or governance, or upcoming issues like the Department of Labor's new rules about overtime.

Imagine my surprise when John Graham's three bullet points came on screen. It was my turn to nod and joyfully agree with the topics.

Spotlight on Technology

I was floored and grateful when Graham put the spotlight on a call to action concerning association technology. To paraphrase, he said, "People can get the information we offer anywhere via Google and get it for free. We have to deliver it better, faster, and with more authority than anyone else can."

He started by explaining the greatness of associations and what they bring the world. He let us all know about ThePowerOfA.org -- ASAE's website with compelling information for the government and general public to see why associations are America's lesser known giants of public service. If you haven't soaked up the positivity radiating from the Power of A, I encourage you to take a look and feel good about what you do.

After extolling the greatness of associations, Graham put up three simple points:

Mobile.

Engagement Model.

Technology Initiatives.

I could barely contain myself. He was saying what I would want to if someone (unwisely) gave me the mic at a GSAE luncheon.

Mobile. Your members want to view your content on their smart phone, buy your products there, register for your events there, and possibly even watch your webinars and take your courses on it. It's more than just having the website coded for mobile responsiveness. It's gearing your web page layouts and content for smart phones (for example, not making them crowded pages, overly busy).

Engagement model. Think of Netflix and not the Big Cable Company. Netflix let's you choose from a variety of plans and get just the amount of content you feel like paying for. Traditionally people paid associations one price for full access. Now, there are two big ways to think of an engagement business model for associations. One is to imagine the people -- especially young professionals -- who don't want to buy in to everything for one big price. They might be willing to buy in at a lower level, maybe just a Tier 1 membership, for example, that is very affordable and allows them the right to do something like register for Annual Conference. A second way to think about it is this, you might be able to get a lot of people who would never consider membership to join at a low level -- one you almost give away for free. You offer them one simple benefit. Why do this? ASAE has just such a product and in six months they have greatly increased their member total. And all these people who have been added are getting all the marketing messages from ASAE and being encouraged to deeper levels of engagement.

(A quick note: your website in iMIS RiSE can drive people in an engagement model to consider moving up in levels of engagement.)

Technology initiatives. Graham noted that people can get the kind of information associations provide from other sources -- for free! But we know that associations have the most and best information in our specific fields. What we can and must offer people is a one-stop shop for the quickest and most complete imformation. That means SEO -- search engine optimization. ASAE has spent 2 years improving their ability to tag content and win page rank. I might note for Quick Topics readers that iMIS RiSE makes SEO optimization very easy. And associations can utilize consultants or learn themselves about Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Google Search Console. (Um, I can think of one consultant team in particular eager to help you).

Bottom line: future relevance needs technology. Thank you, John Graham. We're glad you said it.


NEXT TIME: Another 501CiO Client Wins Website Award at Discovery Conference.

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501CiO Consulting, LLC, specializes in getting small and mid-sized associations affordably into the Cloud version of iMIS. We build award-winning websites for associations. We setup, we train, we implement. Most of all we serve the association industry proudly.

technology, SEO, RiSE, mobile-responsive, iMIS, Google-Analytics, engagement-model, associations, association, ASAE