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February 17, 2016

February 2016 Newsletter

Table of Contents

  1. ASAE Technology Conference & Expo
  2. What is a customer journey, and why do I care?

ASAE Technology Conference & Expo

By Julie Kennon

Hodgson was out in force at December’s ASAE Technology Conference & Expo, excited to experience the conference’s innovative “five pathway” setup. In a nutshell, each attendee picked a path: CEO, CIO, Content, Mobile or Technical. Each path was guided by an expert Thought Leader, who led in-depth sessions on his or her particular area of expertise. Our takeaway? Increased opportunities for specialized training and on-target networking were a big hit and made this conference stand out from the others.

We left with three actionable strategies for associations ready to redesign their web presence. Before you take those next steps, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Do your research, and then develop well-defined goals. This forces you to think through the scope of the project clearly and gives you objective criteria for evaluating proposals. If, for example, you’ll need integration with a tricky AMS, look for someone with experience and knowledge in that area. The more specific your goals, the more of a case you have for finding funding for the project and choosing the vendor that will deliver exactly what you want.
  2. Think about what makes your website’s users tick. During a session called, “UX Mind Games,” Jared Schwartz (VP of strategy and innovation at Beaconfire RedEngine) talked about how social media sites have trained us to need the positive reinforcement of likes and retweets. What can users get from your site that will keep them coming back? A good web technology firm will help you find a way to reward interactions, which will all but guarantee repeat visits.
  3. Don’t be afraid of big data. You have an unprecedented wealth of technology literally at your fingertips: use it! How can social media drive membership? How can large-scale demographic data help you customize your content? Use all the information you can to be sure you’re really maximizing your digital footprint.

Now you’re ready to launch a website redesign project! Hands down, your website is your most valuable marketing tool. The ASAE conference highlighted all the ways associations and nonprofits can make their online presence work for them. If you’d like to learn more about the conference or about Hodgson’s capabilities, email us.

What is a Customer Journey, and Why Do I Care?

By Julie Kennon

You should care, because it’s an important element of your web properties ecosystem.

A customer journey is an examination of who’s looking at your website and what they’re trying to find.

It’s a way to educate yourself about your users and how they interact with your website – specifically, are they doing what you thought they would do, and more importantly, are they doing what you WANT them to do? Oftentimes a customer journey map is developed as an infographic, identifying key interactions your customer has with your organization. The customer journey is always considered when designing and developing your web presence, and it’s certainly present when developing content.

Our partner, Sitefinity, has published a blog describing ways organizations, and their web technology partners, develop websites. This post is specifically centered around the design and development of personalizing the user experience for their targeted users. Colleges and universities, for example, consider their targeted users to be students, alumni, and parents. Associations consider their targeted users to be members and donors. We took note, and thought the tips were useful enough to share.

Here are some highlights:


  • Engage in agile marketing: It recommends starting small with your personalization, such as with a geographic region. Start with a basic section of your website, such as the homepage, and pick a few conversions you can track (this might be a user signing up for an email, or a user watching a video).
  • Personalize your content (or a design element): Start tracking the results against a non-personalized version of content (your classic A/B marketing tactic). After you’ve seen the data from 40 to 50 conversions, consider if it’s getting the result you expected, and more importantly, wanted.
  • Once you are happy, move on to the next segment, personalize it and repeat…that’s agile marketing!
  • This is not dissimilar in execution, but it’s only focusing on a measurable conversion item: a form, a call to action, a specific link.
  • Test multiple approaches to getting a user to convert. Try an image, a text link, a long form, a short form, calls to action above the fold, below the fold, etc. You get the idea!
  • Then, determine which is the most effective.  It’s all data, and the numbers don’t lie, so you’ll have a winner.

When thinking about how to start personalizing, the article suggests looking at who you target and how you target them. The answers, the blog explains, lead to either an educated guess or analytics-driven recommendations, which is where we usually end up, too.

At Hodgson, we always put the users’ experiences first…the customer journey is an important piece of our web strategy workshops and the definitions phase of our projects.

If this piqued your interest and you’re considering a website project, email us. We’d love to chat with you.