Networking group web design case study

Learn how this networking group achieved success using Bloomtools products.


This networking group was quickly building up its number of members but was finding it hard to manage the database and set aside the time needed to grow their group, with their limited number of staff. The members also felt that they didn’t have enough opportunities to promote their business through the networking group.

Challenges

  • Administration – The group needed a simple system to manage their current members and the new member processes. They needed a simple way of keeping track of their communication with them, logging the activities and events the member had attended, and assigning them to an Account Manager to contact them every three months.
  • Sales-
    • New membership sales: The networking group wanted to increase their memberships, so they needed to promote themselves to their prospects, enable people to sign up, and then approve them prior to becoming members. They also needed to simply communicate all the important details and membership benefits to their new members.
    • Membership Renewals: They needed a way to increase the percentage of membership renewals that would save administration time and resources in chasing funds each quarter.
    • Sponsorship: They needed to demonstrate they could add value for their sponsors with their online presence.
  • Relationship building – In order to improve their relationships with their members, to keep them year after year, they needed to offer them more opportunities to promote their businesses and regularly communicate with them to keep them informed.
  • Events - They needed a simpler and faster way to send out invitations to events that made it easy for their members (and non-members) to book themselves in and pay (whether early bird, member or non-membership pricing). They also needed to manage the teasers to the events, registration lists and name tags.
  • Communication - They needed a simple and easy way for a small team to send regular messages including news, event invitations and feedback surveys to members, prospective members, sponsors and alliances.
  • Social Media - The group had a presence on the common social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In, but didn’t know how to use these sites to increase traffic to their website, increase sales, or even promote member interactivity.

Solutions

The implementation of all the tools and strategies to solve their challenges happened in three stages over nine months, allowing the networking group to master each stage before moving onto the next. Stage One focused on website, email communication as well as event management and CRM, Stage Two developed their membership online directory and membership management and Stage 3 concentrated on getting their social media sites to work for them.

By using the Bloomtools Third Generation Website, as well as some additional Bloomtools add-on tools, the networking group was able to achieve the following:

  • Provide a central location to attract members and add value to members - The website needed to be attractive to the target market and clearly cover who they were, what they did and why their networking group was different. The team at Bloomtools needed to come up with a great looking website design that achieved all that, without looking cluttered and busy. The website needed to immediately direct people to where they wanted to go. For example, a prospective member wants to see the benefits of becoming a member, whereas an existing member will want to find the more specific information they are interested in. It was also important for the website to be easily updated by the non technical staff and be able to instantly feed content into the website eg. newsletters, events, industry feeds.
    Products: Website, Promo Boxes, Newsletter listing, Event Calendar/Listing, Testimonials Manager
  • Implement a membership management system - The networking group established a simple system for managing their members. This system worked in conjunction with their website to manage everything from new member payments through to membership renewals. Members could make payments and update their details via the website, making it easier for them and saving the networking group on a lot of administration. Because much of the process was automated it made the entire system much simpler and more effective for the networking group to manage.
    Product: Membership Manager
  • Created a membership directory - The group established a searchable directory on their website for members to promote themselves. They were able to set up three levels to the directory, giving sponsors greater exposure and content above the gold and silver members. This directory increased the benefits of membership and also increased the traffic on the website. Best of all, the directory was easy to keep up to date as members could very simply do it themselves.
    Product: Member Directory
  • Allowed members to advertise on the website - To give members and external suppliers an added opportunity to promote themselves, the group made advertising space throughout their website available. This advertising was also an extra revenue generating source for the group because the members were required to pay for this space on a measured basis.
    Product: Advertising Manager
  • Sent out regular news updates - The group compiled and sent out a monthly news update to their membership network and other contacts. The updates included news relevant to its members, updates about the group, upcoming events (and a link to book for this event) and profiles of member businesses. The news updates were a great success because they kept everyone informed and provided more exposure for the members.
    Product: Database Marketing
  • Listed and managed all events on their website - The networking group utilised Bloomtools event management system that allowed them to list all upcoming events on their website. Members could view all of the events, choose a particular event to read more about and then book, pay and even print a receipt through the website. The system also automatically managed the event numbers, payment transaction, invoices and even name tags for the participants, so it dramatically reduced the time the group spent on event administration.
    Products: Database Marketing, Events Calendar/Listing
  • Created a photo gallery for networking events - The group took photos at all of the networking functions and social events, and then made all these photos available for viewing on their website. Their members loved the chance to see photos from the events and this helped them attract new members. They also placed testimonials from members about these networking events throughout their site.
    Products: Photo Gallery, Testimonials Manager
  • Managed and Tracked the relationships with Members and potential Members - All prospective members are now added into the Bloomtools CRM. This can be done automatically from the website sign up form, event registrations and even manually from other activities. These prospects are assigned to the closest Account Manager depending on the state they come from.
    Members and prospects are put on a call cycle, which is managed by the CRM, and the General Manager at any time can see how each Account Manager is doing by using the report generator included in the CRM.
    Integrating this with Google Apps has saved the business even more money, by removing their need to purchase the expensive Microsoft Office licenses for each team member, and Microsoft exchange server to manage their emails. Having the CRM integrated with member communications, tasks and activities has created a lot of efficiencies and has enabled all the networking group staff to do more with their time and prevent members and prospects from being attended to efficiently and effectively.
    Products: CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), Google Apps
  • Worked Social Media - With limited resources, it was hard for them to keep each of their social media presences up to date. The great thing about the Bloomtools tools is that they can be integrated to feed content into these external sites. Some of their social media presences and comments on, could also be feed back into the website. The best outcome came when they were able to pool all their strategies to get all their online presences to working in together, rather than as separate identities. They made their website the central location and the other external sites to attract, build and feed people back to the website to enhance the results and communication they were getting from their members. As time went on, they increased the amount of functionality on their website, to create a clear distinction for members and prospective members, they were able to cleverly create two distinct areas within the one website to increase the results each area achieved.
    Products: Twitter Feed, Facebook Feed on their website, Additional template.


Products/Tools used

The networking group used the following tools:


Keep in mind, one of the many strengths with Bloomtools is that you can start with a few of our products and tools and expand over time as your budget, understanding and business grows.


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