Of all the tools your association makes use of, your website and AMS are among the most important. If all is functioning as it should, your website is bringing them in, and your AMS is keeping them interested. We can talk about the importance of both your website and AMS ad nauseum, and they are important. However, it’s very rare to discuss the way the two are integrated. While it is not a common topic, it is certainly a critical one. Having your website and AMS be alien to each other is not going to spell success for establishing and sustaining a healthy and growing community. The two need to be integrated so smoothly, they are almost one in the same.
So, what are some of the things your AMS provider can do to ensure your association website and membership management solution are copacetic and your members pass between the two as if it were nothing at all? Below are a few features you should expect when it comes to website-AMS integration.
- This is obvious, but might as well be mentioned – you should confirm that your AMS provider is capable of pairing your website and their solution via a member portal. The key is to make users feel like they are being contained within one free-flowing system when transitioning from website to AMS and back again. If there’s an evident detachment between the two, the whole experience will feel rinky-dink. You want the whole experience to feel professional and legitimate. Ensure your provider can demonstrate how they plan to connect your public-facing and member areas, so you can rest assured your members’ experience will be pleasing.
- One of the best ways to confirm whether your association website and AMS are effectively integrated is to gauge how confidently members are navigating between the two. If people are having difficulty locating the pathway to access the AMS portal through your website, something isn’t right. The path that will lead users toward your AMS, and the value it contains, should always be at hand – no matter where someone may find themselves while navigating the various pages of your website. It can be very discouraging when all you want to do is gain access to an online community, but aren’t even able to find the way. Something that is supposed to be easy, should be easy. Your users shouldn’t have to spend any amount of time trying to figure out how to get in – it should just be there, ready to go.
- When your AMS and website are well integrated, the transition from one to the other is simple. Not just when you’re a member, accessing the AMS through a password-protected portal – but also when you’re a prospect, travelling from the website to the AMS via a registration process. Nailing the login portal should be a breeze, but making sure your registration process is simple can take some finesse. Gather an understanding from your provider how they plan to construct the function of registration, so prospects can maintain positive momentum on their way from your website to your AMS.
- Whether a user is accessing your AMS through your website via a login portal or a registration process, the experience has to be tidy. That is to say, the calls to action should be clear and undisturbed by peripheral fluff. The portal or registration is just the middle ground between the two areas users are interested in. Either people want to consume the content available on your website or exploit the value provided on your AMS. The process that grants the user access to either of those things is just incidental. So, it needs to clearly communicate what is needed from the user and expeditiously deliver them to the place they want to arrive at. Any element that makes it more complicated to access the location users are seeking is something you’ll want to eliminate.
- Moving between your association website and AMS, and back again should be so smooth that it goes completely unnoticed. If the transition is slow or clunky or dysfunctional, it’s not going to provide the impression your association most certainly wants to give. If your association doesn’t have enough self-worth to ensure your online environments work in lockstep together, what kind of message will that send to members (both current and prospective) about the value you intend to provide? The harmony (or disharmony) between your website and AMS will offer a glimpse into your culture as an association – so ensure the two are synergistic.
- Even though your website and AMS are different things and serve different purposes, they should still both be representative of your association’s brand and culture. From a user experience perspective, the environments should seem like one big thing, instead of two silos that are completely separate from each other. This can easily be accomplished by a provider who is experienced in developing websites and member management solutions, and who understands how to mimic design and functionality elements. Having your website and AMS be indistinguishable from each other will give users the sense they are within a large, symbiotic system instead of a collection of systems that have been smashed together and are incompatible. Having your systems match one another will instill confidence in your members.
Your website and AMS are meant to complement each other, so ensure your provider has the knowledge to make the two mesh in a way that allows the lines between them to blur. In a perfect scenario, your members and prospects will transition from website to AMS and vice versa without batting an eye. When no one even notices the transition is when you know your systems are well integrated.
Guild has a depth of experience developing websites and association management systems. Therefore, we are perfectly positioned to ensure the two assets are integrated in a meaningful way. To learn more about how Guild can create an enjoyable user experience, or to schedule a live demo of our solution, please click here.