April 27, 2016
Do you like ice cream? That’s a silly question, I know. I mean, who doesn’t? Think of your two favorite flavors (I’ll give you a minute to narrow it down). Got ‘em? Now imagine that you could only eat those two flavors of ice cream for the rest of your life. Sure, you can review the menu, talk about other flavors with friends and even try a sample, but no matter how much you may plead you would only be allowed to order one of those two flavors you listed. I imagine that would be pretty frustrating, for both sides of the transaction. As consumers we may get tired of those flavors and eventually stop visiting. As the shop owner, they know you are interested in other flavors but just can’t find a way to get you what you want.
This is the type of challenge that one of our clients, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), was facing. They manage a robust online community with 15 individual communities that their members can participate in. While members can participate in any community they’d like, NHPCO only tracks their two main areas of interest in its AMS, limiting the relevant content they could deliver. By utilizing the Informz integration with Higher Logic, they were able to identify all areas members were interested in and increased the reach of their message by over 58%.
I sat down with Andy Duncan, the Director of Membership for NHPCO to talk about the challenge he faced, how utilizing the Informz for Higher Logic integration helped to meet their needs, and what is next for his organization.
Chris Scavo, Informz: Tell me a bit about how your online community is currently structured.
Andy Duncan, NHPCO: Our Higher Logic communities are built around our 15 disciplines, so there is one for CEOs, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and so on. We ask our members to select their primary section, and in some cases they choose a secondary section as well. This works great for the way we have always done it and we store this data in our AMS. However, when you try to translate that to an online community in Higher Logic where we create 15 of these communities, we don’t want to say “ok, you can only join the one that is your primary and your secondary section in our database.” We want our members to join and participate in whatever section they would like. We thought about writing back the sections that they participate in the most frequently, but that would overwrite the primary and secondary information that we already have, and there is value in keeping that clean.
CS: How has the Informz integration with Higher Logic helped you deliver more relevant content?
AD: It has allowed me to take what we know of those traditional primary and secondary section members and enhance my communication strategy. Now I can take people that have expressed interest in another topic or profession through the act of joining its community, and put them in that same compound group with the primary and secondary folks out of our AMS. This allows us to keep that engagement flowing in the way they want without forcing them to go to a preference center and update their sections. Depending on how the member has chosen to interact with us, we are able to get them the information that they want.
Where that has had very practical success for us is that most of our community sections have monthly “chats,” like mini-webinars. We send out emails about these using compound target groups of the primary and secondary section members. So if people were interested in that subject area but it wasn’t their primary or secondary section they weren’t getting the news.
CS: So now that limitation of having only two main sections isn’t as significant because you can tell what community they are participating in and open your audience up more through the integration.
AD: Exactly, and that’s where we saw the jump. It’s easier to sign up for a myNHPCO community than it is to go to our website, log in and update your profile to choose a primary and secondary section. So when I created the compound groups, I saw an average increase of over 58% of the members included in those groups.
CS: Talk about increasing your reach!
AD: Yeah, because some of this increase comes from choosing more than one thing, or expressing their interest in more than one thing. It’s not that we have 58% more people, but that we are giving that many more people the information that they want.
CS: What are your plans for utilizing the integration moving forward?
AD: It’s an important part of our onboarding campaign to fully introduce new members to areas. We can use automation rules as decision points within an automated campaign to decide whether or not to send members messages about uploading their profile photo from their myNHPCO profile, remind them to log in and agree to the terms, and other kinds of transactional items. If they are in an onboarding campaign and we know they haven’t visited, sending them that message prompting them to do so is another great use. The idea is to send them more messages directly about what they are doing so we are not sending them something that they have already done.
CS: Do you have any advice for other clients thinking of taking advantage of the Higher Logic integration?
AD: Look at where there are gaps in your current communication in terms of how you are able to reach people. Are there audiences that are engaging with you on your Higher Logic platform that aren’t engaging with you in a way that you can easily reach? Find those people that may not be opening your newsletter or doing some of those things, but are communicating with you and engaging in your community and take advantage of that to reach them through other communications.
CS: That is great advice, and a great story. Congratulations on the success you have seen so far, Andy, and be sure to keep us updated!