What's Next: Doing More With Your Tech
What's Next: Doing More With Your Tech
Among the many changes brought on by the pandemic, association organizational structure and staff size changes are among the top. If you work at an association, your team may have shrunk, you may have taken on more responsibilities than you had before, or you may even be in a completely new role. Whatever your situation, you’re probably wondering how you can do more with your technology when you don’t have the headcount. Maybe you’re exploring new digital platforms. Or perhaps you already have a large tech stack at your disposal (lucky you!), but you don’t know where to begin. In this session, you’ll learn how to do more with less by getting your tech to work for you, what every association must have in their tech toolbox (and why), and key considerations for new vendor evaluations
Katie CammerSenior Manager of Growth and Expansion, Healthcare Businesswomen's Association
Annie HendersonMarketing Communications Manager, ASBO International
Beth ArrittAssociation Strategist, Higher Logic
Alex Mastrianni: Welcome to the member engagement show with Higher Logic, the podcast for association professionals looking to boost retention, gain new members and deepen member involvement.
Heather McNair: Throughout our show, we'll bring on some experts, talk shop about engagement, and you'll walk away with strategies proven to transform your organization. I'm Heather McNair.
Alex Mastrianni: I'm Alex Maiani and we are happy you're here. Hi, everyone. If you've been listening to the show regularly, you may have heard the first couple sessions in our what's next for association webinar series. This time we're sharing our third and final session, a topic that's filled with practical tips, how to do more with your technology. We've got a couple guests today, two customers, Annie Henderson, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Association of School Business Officials International. And Katie Cammer, Senior Manager of Growth and Expansion from Healthcare Business Women's Association. They're joining Beth Arritt, who you've heard here many times before. She's our association strategist here at Higher Logic. They shared their favorite tech tools. Why they like them and ticks for how to use them to increase productivity. If you'd like to check out the slides that are mentioned during the webinar, you can find them in the episodes resources. Oh, and one last thing in case you haven't signed up yet, our annual conference super forum is happening this month, it's free to register and we've dropped the link that you need in the episode resources or you can always head to higherlogic. com to find out where to sign up. You'll get tons of practical content just like this to help you accelerate member engagement. All right. I think that's it. Turn it over to presenters. Enjoy the show.
Beth Arritt: Hello, everyone, my name is Beth Arritt. I am an association strategist at Higher Logic, but in my past life, I spent a lot of time in associations, including the last seven years at AAAE, American Association of Airport Executives. Thanks for joining us for the third and final, sadly, session in our What's Next for Association's Webinar series. Annie Henderson who spoke on session one is re joining us, thankfully, for the final sessions. Annie, for those joining us for the first time. Can you just give us a quick intro?
Annie Anderson: Absolutely. I work with ASBO international as their marketing and communications manager. We are focused on supporting the individuals that are at the district office develop budgets for our schools, and we support them through their professional development programs, awards, and I along with my small, but minute team help market anything and everything in relation to that. And I've been with them for two years now.
Beth Arritt: Excellent. Then thanks again for joining us. Really appreciate it. And last, but absolutely not least, we have Katie Cammer here with us. Katie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Katie Cammer: Sure. I am the senior manager of growth and expansion at the Healthcare Business Women's Association. Our mission is to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. I've been with the organization for almost eight years now and currently lead the team that is good managing our global expansion. So we have presence in the United States, Canada and Europe, and we are expanding beyond to Asia Pacific India throughout Canada. So we are really excited. So excited to be here. Thanks, Beth.
Beth Arritt: It's really excited to have you on this... Just in the pre- conversations that we've had this is going to be fantastic. I'm really excited to get going. So then I'm excited to get lying. Let's dive right in on how to do more with your tech. So let's talk first about an overview kind of tech tools that association should have in their toolbox. And I know I have a lot from my time working association and it's just evolved and grown over the years. I know I've learned a lot more since I came over here and working with a lot of different people. So Katie and Annie, I would love to know some more about the tools that you use in your data that are essential to what you do. So, sorry, I got bug flying in my house. So how to do more with less by getting your tech to work for you. Annie, Katie let's share some examples. Let's talk about scheduling tools.
Katie Cammer: So you probably or you may know about Calendly already. It's a fantastic automated scheduling tool. It can be connected to your Google, Apple, Outlook calendars, your meeting platforms like Zoom, got webinar, Teams. And this year, this past year, we found a unique way to utilize this tool. As almost everybody did, when the pandemic started, we shifted all of our events from almost exclusively in person to a hundred percent virtual. Managing over 50 chapters virtual events was challenging because they were virtual the webinars were open to anyone in the entire association. So we had people scheduling webinars at the same day and time, topics and speakers were being duplicated. So we found a way to utilize Calendly to our benefit, to kind of keep a calendar that it worked well for everybody. So to avoid over scheduling and managing over 600 webinars last year, and we continue to use this tool now. We implemented a signup through Calendly to book an open date and time. So taking it one step further, one books through the calendar on Calendly and books, our date and time that then is connected to Airtables which is kind of a beefed up Excel- type software that we can embed the calendar direct resource center. So at any given point, it's up to the minute with what's going on, what webinars are scheduled, what dates, what topics, what speakers. It's been invaluable to have this tool to, again, manage our over 600 events, our hundreds of volunteers and it has been incredible. Cannot undersell the value of screen recording tools. There are so many on the market. I use multiple, one is Loom. They're all very similar. They all have very similar capabilities. Most of them you can record not only your desktop or an open tab, but your webcam as well. It is super helpful in customer service. As you're applying to customers, if you don't have time to meet with somebody who's having trouble doing something on the website or a volunteer who's having trouble running a report. You can create a 30 screen recording tool that locks them through the process. And actually this tool has been incredibly helpful for us building out our volunteer resource center. So we can more easily onboard our volunteers, walking them through processes of things. All of these are free. They have free versions. They also have paid versions. So we use Loom, CloudApp. CloudApp's really nice because it has one or it has the capability of creating a link. So if you're sending a screen recording to someone, you don't have to upload a file to the email, you can just send them the link. And then the other one we use is Screencastify. And I have them all saved as Chrome extension, so I can easily record directly from my browser.
Beth Arritt: I love the way that those can be done as Chrome actually. I have Loom and Vidyard, I think are the two I have on mine right now. And those are both incredibly helpful especially when you're like, oh, okay. Yeah, sure. Here's how you do this. Yeah, I can't describe that. Let me just walk you through it.
Katie Cammer: Instead of setting up a meeting that would be like, not that long, maybe 15 minutes, you're still saving 15 minutes, multiple times a day, just shooting off a screen recording.
Beth Arritt: It's so helpful.
Annie Anderson: So another really great useful tech tool to have in your back pocket, especially no matter what size of organization you are, video marketing platforms, when you want to engage with your audience, it's been proven year after year after year, probably for the last, let's just be honest, 10 years, that video is more captivating and garners that attention that you're looking to grab from audience. So using a video marketing platform such as Animoto or Biteable is a great way for your organization to pull in your audience for any type of program, award, events. And they're so simple to use. If you just have maybe you have a stockpile of conference photos just hanging around on your work computer and you want to pull them together into a captivating video, you can use these tools to do that for your next conference with the call to action of register today or maybe your organization has a program that is non dues revenue focus, and you want to build it up a bit, a great way to introduce it to your audience is to pull in some stock B- roll even that you can capture with Biteable and build a really captivating video to enhance a program that's maybe non- dues revenue based. And this has endless possibilities, whether it's still images, B- roll stock, anything like that. You can pull these in. There's music that you can overlay, and then you get a link. You can get the raw footage. You can upload it, you can save it for other usage, you can manipulate it later on. These are really great tools and they both offer not for profit discounts. So I always consider that as well, too. These are really great. And just overall, these are very user friendly platform. I personally have used them both in both associations that I have worked for. And they've been immensely helpful when driving home and delivering your deliverables on maybe your integrated marketing plan that you have. So video marketing platforms are truly an essential part of your tech tool box as an organization.
Beth Arritt: So wholeheartedly agree. We had Vimeo at AAAE just because we wanted to be able to embed... We had a pro version of it because we wanted to be able to embed the videos for online conferences and things like that in ways that you could only access them through our website. Lock them down to a domain and Vimeo, if you have it for that also has a tool that just comes along with it that has all of this stock B- roll footage, stock images, stock music, all these different templates you can work from. And it was, I mean, so many commercials out of it. Really just quick hits and it was so and so easy and so simple. We did our video birthday card to our... Or not birthday card. Holiday card to our members using it as well because we took... It was a 10- year type thing. And we did the last 10 years or something like that. And we took photos from all of those that we had from conferences and stuff in the last 10 years just celebrating the decade and things like that too. So it was really cool. There's just so much you can do with them if you dig into them and they're not that hard to use. It's not like you're trying to use crosstalk.
Annie Anderson: crosstalk differently.
Beth Arritt: Yeah, yeah. Not hard to use at all. So let's talk a little bit of graphic design marketing platforms because there is a suggestion in here that is absolute brilliance. I'm just going to say it now. Absolute brilliance about can Canva.
Annie Anderson: All right. Well, so.
Beth Arritt: Oh, look. Annie's blushing.
Annie Anderson: Oh my God. Okay. I mean not every association is big enough to have an in- house graphic designer and while in our organization we do. But when I look at the amount on her plate, sometimes I'm like, Ooh, I'm just going to try and take this on myself. So I created a free Canva account. I mean, when it comes to social media images, when it comes to even reporting on graph. If you have to report a fulfillment report for partners, strategic partners to earn their dollars every year, this is a great tool between Canva and then PicMonkey as well. But what I love about Canva is that even in the free version, you can add team members to your account and then you can share your creations with your team members and bonus outside individuals. So what Beth is referring to is we created social media cards for our speakers, whether they're doing an individual webinar for us at any in the year or if they're going to be a speaker at our annual conference. So you can see in the slide, it says I'm presenting at ACE, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So we just had our graphic designer have take our mock up of what we did. We pulled it into Canva. We inserted an element where you could plop in your headshot. And all we had to do was just share that link with each presenter and they can create a free account. They can just take it real fast. They can plop in their headshot, download it and then blast it off onto social media. And that takes the work out of our hands. We have 50 presenters. We can't do that for every single presenter. There's just not enough time in the day. So this is a really great way to do something real easy for them, send it off and then leave it in their court to take on if they want to promote themselves. Presenting at your conference or giving a presentation like a webinar for your organization.
Beth Arritt: Did you get a lot of them using it?
Annie Anderson: A fair amount? Yeah, we did. Who's ever more social media savvy, definitely. They were on it. This is great. I love it. And we're using it throughout the year for other webinars and it's really been well received. So it was time well spent.
Beth Arritt: Good. And I know crosstalk What was that? Sorry.
Annie Anderson: PicMonkey is similar to that as well. They're they both have their own features that are really great. I actually really like PicMonkey because they have more graphic design features like Photoshop does. So it takes a little bit more time to kind of understand how to use it, but otherwise it's just a really great platform. And I've been using it probably for the last seven years.
Beth Arritt: Oh, cool. I didn't even realize PicMonkey had been around that long. I've only recently heard of it. Canva inaudible.
Katie Cammer: I love the way that you kind of got the buy- in of your speakers, Annie, because we use a platform called LucidPress. All of our volunteers have access to it. We've got our brand collateral, we've got brand photos. We've got all of our formatting and they use it. But I think taking it one step further to have speakers be able to manipulate things themselves. You're right. It takes the onus off of you. The back and forth of like, oh, that's not the headshot I wanted. Let me send you an updated one. So anything like that? That's amazing.
Beth Arritt: I was going to say, oh, your picture's not big enough. Oh, this is the wrong size. Oh, it's too square. But all of that's gone because they can see it for themselves right then and there and just fix it, that part, all that back and forth that it saves, fantastic. Speaking collaboration and back and forth though, I think Katie's going to talk about one of my favorite tools.
Katie Cammer: I think Annie's going to start off.
Beth Arritt: Annie's going to start off.
Annie Anderson: Trello is my love affair. I have to be quite frank about that. I absolutely love Trello. And the reason for it is because I need to keep everything that's happening, super organized. And Trello does that for me and my entire organization as well. So we have several role boards on Trello. And then within those boards, we have columns. We have a marketing project board where we've got probably about 12 columns. Each person on the team has a column or we have a content build column, a design in progress column, a design circulating column, and then a design complete column. And with each of these columns, you put individual cards that you build with all the information based off of the project. And you can assign who's responsible for what step in the project, who at what due date does it need to be completed by? And it helps to keep a project on track. So for example, we are currently in the midst of building marketing automation for one of our programs called MBA. And I built a card. I put all of the players on it. So that would be my supervisor, my graphic designer, my digital counterpart, digital marketing counterpart. And then I just built out, okay, here's the steps to our process. Annie's responsible for building the content doc. Annie's responsible for then building email, review those to our copy editor, review those here design over to Rochelle for banner design and it helps streamline the process. So, if anybody ever has a question, hey, where is this project? What's the status on it? All they have to do is jump into our marketing project for and see exactly where it is. It's been so helpful for us to use, and we have it for membership. We have it for our recognition programs. We have it for our partner program. We have it for anybody who wants to use it, can use this platform. It's been so helpful. We also use monday. com and we have found our corporate sponsor part team. Loves monday. com to keep track of deliverables for our partners. Remember I said that buy- in. So it has a couple of extra features that fellow doesn't that really were for that team. So we do have two project management tools in our organization. And it's truly just based off of how what features it provides, how we use it for projects who has access to it. And it's just been such a great help for us overall to keep us effective and efficient.
Beth Arritt: I love Monday the way you love Trello. I actually used to be a huge... Loved Trello, and I sort of fell out it and then Monday sort of fell into my lap and I am such a huge fan of Monday. It oh my gosh. It can do so much. You can track all kinds of stuff. At AAA, we tracked all of the graphic design projects, all the marketing projects, everything we had our forms because if you wanted a graphic design project, you filled out the form because it's inside Monday. It filled out the put things in there. And then we were able to track where it was. Put all of the drafts in there and talk back and forth. So say the graphic designer was out and I had to jump in. I could jump in. Everything was right there. I could follow it. Just pick right back up where she left off take care of everything. Oh my gosh. It's and we use it here too. And I just absolutely adore my yeah.
Katie Cammer: inaudible.
Annie Anderson: Sorry, Katie, go ahead.
Katie Cammer: I was going to say Higher Logic introduced me to Monday because we use it for our strategic services account, I guess. And it's so easy to use between organizations. So obviously Higher Logic set it up for us, but we have full capabilities to be able to go in and see what's going on, on both ends, make updates. It's been a game changer for our strategic services for sure.
Beth Arritt: Yeah. That's one of the other great things about it too, is that you can bring in guest accounts. The only things they can't do are at a person or create a new board. Everything else is available to them. And you don't have to pay for gas accounts. So like if you're working a lot with other organizations, you're working with say you're managing external vendors, you're managing external graphic designers external copywriters, things like that. You can bring them all in. And when we updated, upgraded I miss, no, it was when we switched to hosts, which is a big undertaking. Even if you're not changing your database. We used Monday and we had four or five external vendors involved in us. So, and they were all on the board and we had everything on there who was supposed to do what, and it just helped so much because there's so many moving parts and something like that.
Katie Cammer: It's so much easier than back and forth in emails and trying to use an Excel spreadsheet. And the integrations from Monday are amazing. It integrates with Teams. So I have it right there. I'm in teams all day, every day and I don't even have to go outside of teams to be able to access Monday. It's amazing.
Beth Arritt: Yep. And they I'm on a bigger RSD kick right now as anybody who know, will tell you and they have a lot of RSS integrations too. So you can input output based on RSS, which is really cool. It does allow to even things that it wouldn't normally integrate with, it allows it to integrate with, which is kind of cool.
Katie Cammer: I was going to inaudible that too, because it can go if I get an email in my Outlook, like, hey Annie, can you start this project? Sure. I'm an extension on my Outlook and I just hit create card and it creates the card I put in the information I need and bam there it is, I love it.
Beth Arritt: Nice. Now I'm going to have to see if they have that for Monday. inaudible right?
Katie Cammer: inaudible. If they don't have it, Beth, that's a good product suggestion.
Annie Anderson: crosstalk.
Katie Cammer: We would think they would have it for Outlook.
Beth Arritt: You would think they have to. Right. I mean, that's a pretty basic one. Sorry, we could be literally... You could see we could be here all day just talking about project management tools because we love them because they're so helpful. And because we all work on so much how many webinars last year? How many did you think?
Katie Cammer: 600.
Beth Arritt: Oh my Gosh. How much your head is still in one piece and not exploded.
Katie Cammer: Because I was not the one putting on the webinars. It's our fantastic volunteers at our chapters. It wasn't me doing actual work but they're the ones who really more webinars, more events than we've ever had before.
Beth Arritt: That's awesome. So that continued this year somewhat with the...?
Katie Cammer: Yep. It has because we just started doing in person very I think at the beginning of September and we only had a couple of events do that so far. So yeah, it's continued this year. We continue to use column to book the slots and then Airtable to kind of help keep it all situated and organized. It's continued and I think it will. As I mentioned, we kind of had been almost exclusively in person events and while 600 is a lot and I don't think something that we will aspire to forever. We know that the power of webinar is of course you reach bigger audiences than you can in person. So I think we'll continue to use the tools and just webinars in general to reach our members.
Beth Arritt: It's okay if it's working. Don't crosstalk right. Right? Don't have to toss into the building.
Katie Cammer: It's be more confusing because again, we've had like the repetitive topics is it's just helped us be so much more focused on what we're offering.
Beth Arritt: Oh, that's a good point. That's really good point. Okay, so sorry. I'm going move on. I can get distracted by that all day long. So let's talk a little bit about the big part of what we're talking about today. Believe it or not, how to do more with less by getting your tech to work for you. I'm sure that everybody on here has some existing processing tools that are doing this for you in some way or shape or form. But I know I'm personally constantly learning about new tools and new ways of using them. And Annie and Katie both have really great recent examples about this. Katie, I know you have a really great story about HBAs volunteer program and how it's evolved. So can you tell us a little bit about that?
Katie Cammer: Yeah. So in 2017, HBA had about 15 chapters and I'd say approximately 200 plus volunteers. Today, we have over 50 chapters and over 780 volunteers. I know that's a crazy, crazy growth. So before we kind of shifted to this new model and for 50 chapters and almost 800 volunteers. Our volunteer management was largely manual. Each chapter was responsible for manually tracking their volunteer, their roster, getting application for open board roles. We did that via PDF. It was completely manual HPA staff had to then upload to our AMS. Manually give access to reports and permissions, and it wasn't sustainable for growth. And I am being growth minded. We knew something had to change. So we implemented Higher Logic's volunteer module. The biggest thing there is that it captures all of our volunteers, all of our applications in one system. And Beth, if you go to the next screen, we have just a couple of screenshots of how we capture our volunteer opportunities. So we have all of our opportunities listed in one place. So volunteers can come see what's open for application. It integrates with our AMS through activity sync. So once somebody has applied for and been approved for a particular role, it adds them to the website. It gives them access to communities. So it's taken the burden off of the both staff and volunteers to manage the application process, the permission process for the growth we've seen over the last couple of years. We now have volunteers continuing to manage their applications, but they do it in a much less manual way. So no longer PDFs the volunteer module in Higher Logic. And it has set us up for success in terms of growing even further because again we couldn't keep going the way that we were going.
Beth Arritt: And did you find everybody's... You haven't had a lot of trouble with people making their way through the technology or anything like that? It's worked pretty well just across the board?
Katie Cammer: Yeah. So I kind of manage the backend piece of things. But the application process is relatively simple. You don't have to be signed in but in the application or on the opportunity page itself, we've just got a little note to apply. And it also has helped us track the rest of our volunteers. So while in 2017, we had 200- ish volunteers in our system that we knew of. We knew there were so many other committee people working for the HBA, volunteering their time for the HBA, but we didn't know who they were. And there wasn't a way for us to recognize them without knowing who they were. So it's allowed us to capture everybody from global board all the way down to chapter committee members. And it's worked relatively seamlessly, knock on wood for the last couple of years and we're continuing to use it.
Beth Arritt: That's awesome. I mean, volunteers are so integral. It's critical to be able to get them signed that easily, but also to be able to track and recognize them and thank them for their work because you know who they are and what they did.
Katie Cammer: And give them the tools they need to do their volunteer jobs. So I mentioned that it gives them access to reports and communities and add them to the website, but also be automated and roll it, lets them know, hey, you've been approved for this role. Here's the link to our volunteer resource center, bookmark this page. If you have any questions about your opportunity, here's the link to that opportunity and that automation has saved us so much time and effort. I can't tell you how many replies I get back saying, I'm so excited to be volunteering. Thanks for this resource. I'll bookmark it. And yeah, it's been great.
Beth Arritt: Awesome. So Annie, I know that you have a conference coming up in 2022 and that there's some tech that's actually helping you out a lot too.
Annie Anderson: Yeah. So we are going to be using it. We have been using the microsite care within the community part of Higher Logic. And we thought that this was just a better way to take advantage of what we already had access to instead of going to another platform, paying additional fee and going through that process. So just using what we already have to save on your budget with that. So our next conference in 2022 is our leadership forum conference. And it was very simple to set up. I was not the point person. My counterpart, our digital coordinator was the point person. And as he was running through it, this was his first time using the back end to build the site. He was like this is actually really seamless to do you just navigate to site set up, create new, you go through all the basics of naming it, giving it its own branding colors and then uploading pictures. And then when it actually comes time to build pages he was really blown away of with the options available to build each page. So the sections of splitting it into a couple of different columns to the... He counted, which I was really impressed with him when he did that. He took the time to do that? Couple 130 wizzy wigs or widgets, whatever you like to call them to put onto each page, which that is whatever you're trying to accomplish, be it image of calendar, gosh, directly linking to directories that you already have set up on your community, member directories. You can do all within this microsite feature. And it's been so helpful for us as an association to have this at our fingertips to use we're right now managing our eight annual conference coming up and we needed something just more streamlined, something a little bit easier to do because everyone's got 20 plates on sticks, spinning in the air right now. And this was the answer to that conundrum. And it's been really a great working process. Again, it's almost common sense based building, which we all really like intuitive base, user- friendly interface, super easy. So if you have a conference coming up, whether it be in- person or virtual and you have the community section, this is a great option because it also has a ridge to your EMS. I missed, we have it bridge to our IMS account for our EMS. So it works really great that way. Members can look each other up, easy registration so then it filters to each members profile that they were registered for. This they've been involved. So we can look back and like, okay, who attended? Who do we want to pull? Who do we want to follow up with because these are ways to create leads for other things in your association. So just having that again, a part of your overall integrated plan marketing plan this has just been that answered that question that we had about what are we going to do? How are we going to set up this conference?
Beth Arritt: Yeah, we can... Go ahead.
Katie Cammer: I was going to say, I love that you don't have to be a web designer to design these web pages. I mean, like they are truly dragon drop build and the number of widgets that you have options to drag and drop on your page are amazing.
Beth Arritt: Yeah. These are-
Katie Cammer: That wasn't the case a while ago. I have had to hire an expert, QML coder. Do this and now anybody can do it. And that every association has all their people... You're wearing 17 different hats. You're doing all these different things. You have skillsets beyond belief. Now you can add this into your list.
Beth Arritt: Yep. And we use it for all of the HUG connects. We use the registration in there and setting up like that. It makes it so easy. I can also go back and see who's done any of the HUG connections. There's over 800 people that registered for those overtime, which is super cool just this year. And I can see all that because it's... And then it's all connected to at least on the Higher Logic site where it informs. So I can also pull those people in. And if I want to send them an email saying, hey, how have you liked it? Piece of cake? It's super helpful to have that. I've been playing with it for our super forum which is coming up. Super forum coming next month, October 19th through 21st, I believe. I've been doing a... There's a HUG community that's going to be... Where we're going to have all the recordings and discussions and stuff. And it has I basically pulled together a landing page where you've got the most recent discussions and the most recent files of recordings of bins here, but then underneath it breaks it out because of the tax you want only the marketing automation stuff that's here, you want only the community stuff that's here and then it breaks it out by product and forums, real magnet, community, vanilla. So it's super easy to do that because I only have to do is use tags and it's drop and drag, just like you said, super helpful. I do want to touch on one of my personal favorites just to being able to do more with less, which is obviously automated campaign. I love campaigns. Campaigns are amazing. You can get so much done. Annie I know you're working on right now. One right now. Yeah. I think you were talking about.
Annie Anderson: Yeah. So we're in the process... We're using Trello and we're in the process of building the outline for our automated campaign. For one of our programs we have on ASBO and then putting it all down on paper, writing it out. And then once we do that and we have it all done and approved, we're going to take it into Informs and we're going to build out our automated campaign to our well lukewarm to hot leads. Dump them right into that automated campaign and just let them ride the wave all the way through to create that conversion. And again, this program is a non- dues revenue part of our association and putting a little bit more time and effort into building that and using the automated campaign, taking a link, putting it on our website so that anybody who visits that when they get notice from their local newspaper, like, oh, this school district, won the NBA award. Then another district, either neighboring district who sees it, then jump on over to our web page, see that are you interested, click here to learn more and they can just put in their email and then they're entered right into the campaign and create a conversion out of that. So this tool is going to be essential to hit our strategic goals that we set for ourselves as an association in 2022. And maybe we were a little locked in trying to get this all done before our annual conference in October, we're going to do it. We're ready.
Beth Arritt: You're a Trello board will make it so.
Annie Anderson: Right.
Beth Arritt: I mean, I didn't put a picture of it on here, but there's an addition to the campaigns, which you can connect to Community. Community also has all of those automation rules too. Katie, if either of you taken advantage of... Katie have you used this?
Katie Cammer: Yeah, we use them for a number of things. So we obviously have our automated emails when the member joins. We also have kind of re- engagement campaigns throughout the community. So we have automation rules set up that looks to see when somebody's last logged in, how many posts they've made in the past. How many discussions they've replied to? How many connections they have? If they haven't logged in, in a while, we'll send them our email that says, we miss you. We want, how are you doing? And it seems like a personal touch and it is a personal touch because it's coming from me. And I get so many responses back from people saying, thank you so much for checking in. Here's what's been going on in my life. I'm looking to get I'm looking to get... I'm hopeful, I'm happy to be getting re- engaged with the HBA. I'm so glad you reached out. Those always make you feel really good because it provides that personal touch without having to send hundreds of emails each month. Another way we use those automation rules is getting people to fill out their profile. So if somebody posts but they don't have a picture attached. So we use so many of the kind of the suggested or the best practice automation rules and in our logic that have set us up for success. And I get so many people who respond to me saying, I didn't even know that I could add a picture or I didn't have a picture. Thanks for letting me know and I will update one now and we've gotten our conversion rates are... I don't have the numbers in front of me that our conversion rates are fantastic. So this is Kristin. Because we love... That really does so much more for us. We're doing more with less. We're able to touch all of these people without having to send all these individual emails.
Annie Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. Just to add to that too. One part of the community and Beth, you might remember this, we talked about it in one of the plug connect sessions that we can identify exactly who downloaded a resource from the community. So if they downloaded a resource pertaining to the program that we are trying to revert, well, it's going to take that out and plop them in automation. Like let it ride the wave again. So there is a lot of just connection that you can do that's possible within Higher Logic and automation that helps you reach your goals for your association. It might feel overwhelming. All this information is just like, oh, wow, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that. But just taking it one step at a time. If you just want to do one new feature in a month, just, okay, I'm taking this month, I'm going to learn how to do this. I mean, going to apply it because you still have to do all those crazy day- to- day things. Right? I mean, we still have to get everything done. And that's just one thing that I adapted to learning about higher logic when I'm came on board and everything, it was like, are we using this tool to the best of its ability to everything we have access to? And when I started learning like, wow, there's so much to do.
Beth Arritt: I remember emailing me and asking that question. Yes. crosstalk let me show you.
Katie Cammer: And kind of do the same point we made about the microsites. You don't have to be a guru for creating marketing campaigns in order to make this work. Right. It's building and it's pretty dummy- proof.
Beth Arritt: Yeah. It's so easy to do. And then if you want to take it to the next level, you can do things like bring it into informs or a real magnet and make a story level targeting or dynamic content note to all of the people who haven't filled out their profile picture saying, hey, did over the community, you could upload your profile picture in the top of your newsletter, things like that. You can go crazy with it, but just even the basics are so helpful. And then if you add web tracking into it, that's a whole other level that we can't even get into you right now. There's just so much more that you can have with that webinar by itself. Okay. So let's see, we've got about 15 minutes left and we want to have some time for Q&A. So let's talk really quickly about key considerations for vendor evaluations. So no matter what tool you're using, you are absolutely going to need a vendor that's going to support your associations needs. Is this vendor familiar with your use cases as an association? There's just so many questions that are essential to ask when you're starting out. So Katie and Annie, so what are some of the key questions on your list to ask?
Katie Cammer: I'd say, let me go first. I think this isn't a question, but I say my first piece of advice would be to shop around and compare. So you may have gotten a recommendation for a product vendor that your colleague at another association or just that uses and it works well. It kind of checks all your boxes. I still recommend comparing products. Oftentimes there are multiple products in the market that fit your needs for obviously different price points and using the rest of these considerations will kind of help you to determine which is going to be the best for you. So beyond the shop around and compare model, I say, ask for real life references. You want to know about customers from their customers directly and specifically about specific functions of the product. So like what's their customer service like? What are existing integrations? You want to hear from people who are actively using the product, maybe in a similar way that you are to make sure that it'll, or that you would to sure that it's going to work the way you think it will with these integrations.
Annie Anderson: Yeah. And just to add to that too, the cost one what are you buying into? How much does it cost? So for example Trello, it based off of how many licenses you purchase for the platform, but they also have that guest account as well, where you don't pay for the guests, but you pay for everyone else who has that full access. I actually just recently we renewed back in July, I think. And I spent I just had a curiosity how many of our folks have a license and are they actively using it? And really, I got to not just down probably about$ 300 because some of our folks decided not to use it, or they jumped over to monday. com and started using that. So I'm like, oh, okay. There is this new thing. So that's a consideration is the additional fees. Always look into if they offer a not- for- profit discount, which many of them do. Animoto does. Canva does. I think PicMonkey does as well. Biteable does. And then as Katie mentioned with three recordings, some of them are free. So that's also a big bonus. And is it just overall really worth it and can your team access it as well? Do you have three people on your team who need to all access it. See if you can add them and they can have their own login or if not share logins. Those are also some other considerations when you're looking for vendors platforms to incorporate into your arsenal of marketing tools.
Katie Cammer: And additional fees could be like one time implementation fees that you've got this annual rate, but you haven't calculated into your budget any implementation fees. And I love your example of users and saving money, if you can by knocking some users off your account, if they're not actively using it. Another key consideration is who manages the setup and training. So are you expected to train yourself? Are you expected to train your team? Who does the initial kind of setup of the platform? Are you expected to do that as well? What kind of discovery goes into the setup? I think for a lot of platforms, a lot of vendors, you're paying a significant rate. I think in many cases, vendors should be the ones doing the setup and doing the training. That way you're not teaching yourself and you're making sure that you're making the most of the platforms that you're paying for. And you made a good point earlier that you're just making the most of what you have, making sure that about all the tools that you have access to and how to use them.
Annie Anderson: Exactly. So if you don't know everything that you have access to with higher Logic informs real bag, men, vanilla, inaudible. look into all of it and know you have it and know how to have it and know how to use it because you might not need to go somewhere else to get it and then pay extra when you did need to.
Katie Cammer: crosstalk all those questions. Right, Beth?
Beth Arritt: Totally. I can handle most of them. I could answer them like on an individual basis, I could go in and say, okay, you're using this, this and this, you're not using this. I will sometimes talk people through goals and be like, okay, are you using X? No. Okay. Well you need to be using X because that will help you with that goal. But we do have, in addition to me entirely amazing, amazing strategy team here at Higher Logic that can help you figure out if you're using the most. Figure out if you're help you plot out how the best way is to ramp up to that because like we said, there's a lot you could do. Oh, I can do this or this or this. But they've worked with so many different customers on how to set this stuff up, that they're very aware of the best ways to do those things. And I will stop with the plug now because that's not what this actually is, but any good vendor should have people like that who can at least help them walk you through that? What I learned working with ASI on IMS, it's what I love about working with Higher Logic. On forums even before it was Higher Logic and then Higher Logic is that they have that strategy and they have the resources ASI there's an external user group called Hi HUG. HUG is our own internal user group that we have all kinds of resources and weekly events and things like that To help just use a product. Any vendor that's going to invest in you and making sure that you can use the product is I think a vendor worth taking the time to stick with.
Katie Cammer: I agree. And I will take a minute to just to Higher Logic forum because when I came on the community was already implemented. I was on the team, but I wasn't the lead to implement the community. And so I was largely teaching myself the support staff, the support @ higherlogic. com email address. They probably all get like, oh, Katie's on another method. Like, who are we going to, assign this to, don't sent it to the new site because we're done. But that along with the support center at Higher Logic which is so robust, there's so many tools, there are so many tool kits. Anything that you can possibly think of. So making sure your vendor has something like that is so important because if you are teaching yourself you want to be able to do so well and Higher Logic's done that.
Beth Arritt: Well. And you want to make sure that the vendor has free training too. I know some that turned training into a call center. It's like, wait, I need all this money for the software. And then you want me to pay you to teach me how to use what I've already given you the money use. What? I'm sorry, what? I mean, making sure that they offer really good, robust, free training. Whether live training, on demand training, things like that options. Okay. So really quick, I do want to mention once more that super forum is coming up, October 19th through October 21st, it is over 60 sessions with a lot of... It's just jam packed with a lot of stuff and I'm sorry, it can't be in- person. I've been in- person several times it's a lot of fun. Hopefully next year we'll be in- person, but I did the virtual and last year and it was fantastic. So just block off those days on your calendar, it's all free. A huge thank you to our panelists. Annie, Katie, thank you so much for your time.