Technology Tips and Tools to Help Bar Associations Build Trust and Support Members – Part 1
When it comes to maximizing your bar association’s potential, are you taking advantage of all technology has to offer? It may be tempting to stay in your organization’s comfort zone, but you could be missing out on key ways to build connections and engage your members.
Thankfully, we’re here to help! This series of posts produced in collaboration between Vocalmeet and Lexum will cover our top tips and tools to help your bar association make the most of what the internet has to offer:
Tool: Your Website
It may feel like a cop-out to start with what’s arguably the most obvious tool in your association’s belt–its website–but it’s a crucial factor that can be easily overlooked.
Build a Solid Base
Regardless of what you’re making, it needs to have a solid base. The same is true for your association’s website: if your site isn’t visually attractive and user-friendly, you’re already losing out on potential members.
First, make sure your website is modern: if it looks like it was built before Y2K, you’re not going to find much success. It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover when you’re browsing the net, so if you want to keep your audience on your page, make sure your site’s design is snappy, clear, and interesting.
Pay attention to both the user interface (how your website is laid out) and the user experience (how it feels to use your website); if either of these is lacking, you’re going to frustrate your members. Frustrated members are more likely to wander, so be sure to make the process of using your site painless for everyone involved.
A good way to achieve this is through integration. If all of your website’s sections–whether that means your store, forums, continuing legal education, blog, or more–are properly integrated, your users will be able to navigate your site with ease. Additionally, integration means a more seamless experience with more consistent branding. If all your pages match, members are less likely to get confused. In this line of thought, make sure to pick white-label solutions (in this case, software that can be purchased and rebranded to match your association) when relying on third-party vendors to power some of these sections.
You’ll also want to beef up your site’s search functionality. This is especially important when it comes to your continuing legal education courses or publications, of course (members can’t purchase material they can’t find!) but it also applies to your site as a whole. Allow for an array of filtering options; you could include sections for keywords, categories, fields of law, popular posts/courses/books, speaker/poster, profiles, pages, and more! (Look out for part 2 in this series, where we’ll go into more detail on this topic.)
If your bar association is partnered with other quality organizations, consider adding a section presenting them and their logo. For instance, if you run a county bar association that belongs to a larger collective (for instance, a state bar association), you can indicate this with their brand image. This will show your members you belong to a larger network of credible organizations–promoting your peers and proving your reliability in a single step! (Just make sure you get permission first.)
Catching the attention of members may sound difficult, but there are a number of ways you can accomplish it.
First, you’ll want to put context-specific member testimonials at the front and center of your page (or somewhere else easily accessible!). For instance, on a page dedicated to a practice guide, try to include some feedback from practitioners heavily relying on it. After all, who better to promote your products and services than the members who use them? If you don’t have a stock of reviews available, don’t worry; you can offer CE program discounts or vouchers to those who submit them! Soon, you’ll have plenty of quality member quotes to use.
Your association should also establish a knowledge hub section on its site. This can encompass a variety of formats–videos, blog articles, Ask Me Anything sessions (whether they take the form of livestreams, recorded live sessions, or forum threads), news updates, anything! If you find it useful or interesting, your members likely will, too. By establishing a broad, frequently updated body of resources, your members will be more inclined to keep coming back for more.
Finally, you can appeal to the kid in all of us: achievement badges! By offering digital badges (also known as eBadges) for accomplishments like completing programs or course tracks, you get to reward loyal members with a virtual sticker. Members can then display their badges on their profiles or on social media–showing off their accolades and promoting your association at the same time! Everyone likes to be validated for their hard work, and you’ll be scratching that “collector’s itch” for some of your audience.
You may also like: Let’s Get Digital: 3 Strategies to Boost Member Engagement Online
When you’re looking to boost engagement, you can’t go wrong with a sleek, appealing website. Make it intuitive, make it fun, and make it smart–your members will appreciate it!
Looking for more tips and tools? Have no fear, this article is just the start! Check in next week for our tips to enhance your research ability.