Gathering member feedback is a common practice among associations, but when was the last time you’ve gathered member feedback specifically about your association’s website? 

Your website is a key channel to engage your members and a critical resource for them to understand and utilize their membership benefits. Ensuring your website is meeting and exceeding member needs is good for business. However, the process of gathering good feedback about your website can feel like a daunting undertaking if it’s not something your association has frequent experience with. 

Creating a digital experience that understands and responds to your members’ needs should not be considered a one-time undertaking for your team. As an organization built around members, consider the ideas below on gathering member feedback as ongoing opportunities to leverage the resources you already have at your fingertips. 

1. Get more out of your member satisfaction survey

While it is common for associations to put out an annual member satisfaction survey, it’s less common that this survey includes questions on how the website specifically contributes to their satisfaction (or lack thereof). 

We recommend asking questions in your next survey to understand: 

  • How often people are referencing the website per year
  • How often they wish to be using the website (and for what purpose)
  • The current challenges they have with the website
  • How the website could better serve them / better facilitate aspects of their membership

Your member satisfaction survey is also a perfect way to ask for volunteers that are willing to give feedback on future work related to your website. 

2. Meet them where they are, literally

More than likely, your association has at least one annual event. Take advantage of this face-to-face time to gather valuable feedback on your current website. 

In-person short surveys: During the event, ask participants a few questions on the spot (similar to the questions posed for a member satisfaction survey) to gain insight with minimal effort on their part. 

In-person interviews: Incentivize members (with a membership perk or gift card) to sit down one-on-one with a UX research professional to engage them in a deeper discussion and observe their behavior on the existing website. Using this data, the UX researcher can recommend what could be improved, capturing both easy updates and longer-term opportunities. 

3. Leverage current website behavior data

We always recommend to our clients at Velir that any kind of member feedback should be paired with website analytics data. The strongest insights come from combining big data (analytics) with qualitative feedback. Analytics can show us what is happening and where, and qualitative research can provide us answers to why that might be. 

4. Ready for a redesign? Proactively set up an exclusive, volunteer-based “feedback committee”

For a more in-depth, qualitative look at your website, find key collaborators among your membership base and find them before you’re in the midst of a redesign undertaking. This ensures you have a reliable group of member volunteers to give feedback throughout the project should you choose to embark upon a website redesign. 

Ask the committee to evaluate: 

  • The unique value the website gives (or should offer) to members
  • How the content could be organized most intuitively for them
  • What design/visual aesthetic is most impactful for them
  • The usability of key pages/sections

It is best to gather feedback before and during the design process, as well as after the changes have been implemented to ensure the new solution is truly member-centric. 

It’s important to note that gathering member feedback through any of the strategies listed above is recommended to be an ongoing effort - there is no need to wait for the “perfect” moment to start better understanding your members’ website experiences. If and when you decide to move forward with any of these efforts, consider working with a qualitative and/or quantitative research professional who can complement your in-house team, guide the design of the research study, and ensure an unbiased process. 

While some of our recommendations are a low-lift effort, the quality of insights is only as good as the research design. By incorporating member website feedback as a regular part of your process, you can evolve your digital experiences to best serve your valuable member base. 

If you’re interested in learning how we can help you incorporate member website feedback, reach out to us and let’s chat about your goals. We’d love to identify ways that we can help you overcome your current challenges and get to the next level with your digital marketing efforts. In the meantime, you can contribute to the discussion by commenting below or follow us on Twitter, @Velir.