Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/06/2018 - 05:04

5 Steps to Prioritize Your Website Wishlist for Maximum Engagement

By Farhad Khan, BEng & CEO on April 6, 2018

This blog comes with a helpful Website Wishlist Priorities Chart & Worksheet to get you started.

Creating an organized and well-thought-out feature wishlist for your association's website is the first step to making improvements on your membership site that will drive engagement and have a positive impact on your association's growth. Finding a developer who can execute a to-do list is easy, but before you sign off on any action items, we strongly recommend taking the time to strategize which new features will bring you the return on investment and improve the performance of your membership site. 

Your starting point to compile your impactful feature wishlist will be to review your association's business goals. Setting SMART goals is important for defining and measuring success, including the success of your membership site. What do you want your members to do when they are on your membership site? Is it easy for them to access the info you want them to find and perform the tasks you want them to do? The areas that you see gaps go on the wishlist.

Doing this properly is a time commitment and takes some business acumen as well as knowledge of website marketing tactics. It's okay and normal to need some guidance and expert help. More on finding help later.

Let's start with a quick look at the purpose of your membership site and how it can be a high-performing member of your association's team.

What is the Purpose of Your Membership Site?
Your membership site serves a number of purposes for a variety of stakeholders. It can be used to provide information, to sell products, to connect people, and mostly, to connect with your members. The uniting element behind all of these goals is that your membership site is a marketing machine for your association. You want your membership site to support your business goals and bring in revenue, for instance through donations and membership dues. Your membership site needs to attract potential leads, convert potential leads to customers, boost sales, and connect with your members.

To create an optimal membership site that drives engagement, consider the following things:

1. Who is Your Target Audience?
First, figure out who you want your membership site’s target audience to be. You may have multiple personas visiting the site, but let's break it down by percentage. A great idea is to use the 80-20 rule. This is where you would identify the top 20% of users who generally attribute to 80% of your business growth. Knowing who your top users are provides you with a direction on how to create your new design to better cater to this audience. What is their age, gender, employment, financial situation, location, goals and fears? Get into the mindset of your audience.

2. What Parts of Your Site are Most Popular?
The 80-20 rule also applies to the top 20% areas of your membership site that are being accessed by most of your site visitors. To find this data, you can use tools such as Google Analytics, Lucky Orange and HotJar to study which areas, buttons and pages of your membership site are being accessed and utilized most. Having this information gives you specific areas to utilize more and which ones to improve.

3. What's Your Competition Doing?
Lastly, check out what similar associations are doing on their membership site. See what you like and what you don’t, and what will work for your audience. There are tools such as SemRush that can help with comparative research. From your research, decide which features will work best with your target audience and which ones will compliment and support your goals.

4. Your Wishlist is Growing
Understanding the user journey you want for your audience, which pages are most popular, and what fun features are out there, your wishlist should be coming along. Your list can include a design update, new call-to-action buttons, easier navigation, simpler forms and anything else that can improve your users’ experience. Please keep in mind that these wishlist features should support your overall business goals and not things that you just want on the site without a clearly defined purpose.

5. Budgets and Priorities
Most associations have to be budget conscious and implementing all your wishlist items at once is unrealistic. In our view, it's not even ideal. It is best to build out your membership site in stages to test the changes with your audience. It is much easier to redirect your efforts when you make incremental changes than if you launch everything at once. 

We suggest that you divide up your feature wishlist items between high priority items and medium/lower priority items. Start with the highest priority items, those that will really impact your most users and your association's growth, and work through the list as the budget becomes available.

Organize your wishlist with our easy-to-use Website Wishlist Priorities Chart & Worksheet. It will help you reflect on which items are high priority, high impact, and which will bring you the best return on investment. With these priorities clearly defined, you can work with a developer to create a web development roadmap that is within budget and delivers Return on Investment (ROI).

Let's Audit Your Membership Site
We offer an insightful 3-part workshop where we audit your association's business goals and your website and membership site to find which features would create the most impact on your users and members. Learn more about our popular Website Redesign Roadmap Workshop.

Want more expert advice on building a great membership site?
Register for our upcoming webinars and live podcasts with leading association management and member engagement experts!