I was at a meeting yesterday with a membership professional who asked the question, “Why do membership bodies need an app?”
I found myself responding, “Because Mark Zuckerberg has taught your members.”
While he certainly isn’t the only one, Zuck’s influence is incontestable. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have led the way in reforming what users expect from digital platforms. Mobile meets those expectations.
Whereas websites are largely passive (you need to go there and possibly login), mobile apps actively engage their users with fresh, relevant information delivered to purses and pockets. The exchange of personal data for personalised services is a trade the majority of us are willing to make.
Therefore, apps are the dominant platform for conducting this exchange, offering it so seamlessly that we opt-in reflexively.
When we’re not physically sharing the same space (and even sometimes when we are) mobile devices are our human-to-human engagement channel of choice.
App notifications and badge alerts (those tiny red dots) are irresistible to most app users. Why? There’s a lot of cognitive science on this. But concisely put, think about what is lying behind that dot: human interaction.
It might be your spouse coordinating dinner, your boss weighing in on the upcoming meeting, or your darts mates telling you the match is at a different pub (hits close to home for me!). When you see that dot you just have to know! There are people we care about behind those dots. They’re the modern equivalent of a knock on the door.
As a result, mobile devices – and apps in particular – are where your members are. It is where we all are. 89% of UK adults use mobile daily, and nearly two-thirds of all minutes spent on mobile are within apps.
What does this mean for membership bodies?
Seems like engaging apps have to be part of the digital strategy.
- Membership bodies are groups of people. Apps offer the interaction channel members expect, and to which they respond.
- Member service delivery requires personalisation. Apps are the platform for members to define what they are interested in and receive personalised updates across services and programmes.
The stats speak volumes. App notifications have a 3.2x greater click rate, and a 12x higher subscription rate than email.
Mark Zuckerberg has taught your members how to use technology. Those determining the membership body digital strategy would do well to follow his lead.