A Website Redesign Boosts Member Engagement, Retention, and Value

Listening to what members expect from their digital experience can pay off in lots of positive ways. Find out how a website redesign yielded several mutually beneficial outcomes for one association and its members.

Staff at the Auto Care Association realized members needed to have a better digital experience and improved access to information about its tools, resources, products, and services. But tackling a website redesign is not a quick process. It requires a lot of groundwork. Before even talking about technology, it’s essential to do research on what the business needs are.

“There needs to be a really good alignment between what the association wants, what the critical business needs are, and ultimately understanding what users are hoping for,” said Nathaly Branham, Auto Care’s web manager. That means member focus groups and surveys, to understand why they are visiting your site and what type of content they are looking for. It also requires getting buy-in from internal and board leadership to support necessary tech upgrades.

Once Auto Care had a good idea of what members wanted, it was clear they needed content management system (CMS) and association management system (AMS) updates to support all the new bells and whistles for the redesigned site. The legacy systems couldn’t support what the new website is able to do now.

The power of the updates is apparent in several ways. For example, a streamlined online purchasing process means members no longer have to deal with cumbersome faxes, invoices, and spending time on the phone with an Auto Care sales representative.

“Now they can go ahead and go through the entire purchase process online,” Branham said.

DIY Member Updates

An ongoing challenge for associations is keeping member information updated. Auto Care’s new website allows members to log into the site, and provide quick links to the membership portal to update their profile, where they work, see their peers’ information, and add new employees to their membership.

All Auto Care member-company employees are automatically members. Giving members the ability to update their own information has nearly tripled the logins to its website because members see the benefit of being able to access their own information, Branham said. Previously, only a primary contact at a member company or a couple of people who were using the membership had that option.

Opening up that access to everyone also gives Auto Care a chance to engage with more employees from each member company. And that means each company is better able to see what a valuable resource Auto Care is for their employees, which helps with member retention.

Better Engagement

Because the new site is so easy for members to navigate, the average session duration has grown exponentially, up 242 percent. Another added benefit to a more easily navigable website? Auto Care’s customer service department has seen a decrease in member questions and an increase in requests that are much more specific than they were before. “Now it’s more intelligent, more informed,” Branham said.

Members see the information on the website and can clearly understand what they want to add to their subscriptions. That means the sales team doesn’t have to fish for answers because members know what they want right out of the gate. It cuts through a lot of wasted time and effort on everyone’s part.

As is often the case, listening to members to find out what will really make their experience better, careful planning, and leadership buy-in can yield fantastic results. “The website redesign really helped us bring that level of personalization, quick access, and discoverability to the different types of members we have in the association,” Branham said.


(Chaosamran_Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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