If you don't want your email and e-newsletter to end up in a spam folder, a professional email service is essential. Not only will a professional service, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, ensure that your text and images are properly formatted for any device, it will provide statistics on delivery and open rates enabling you to tweak your content for better results. Email services also manage unsubscribe requests and help ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM.
Besides cost and convenience, REALTOR® associations outsource their IT services for other benefits. First, technology moves quickly, and it's difficult for associations to keep pace. So, it might be easier to find the right IT skills from an outsourced provider.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS® seamlessly switched MLS platforms by making the education campaign a game where members completed tasks to earn a series of badges and be entered to win an iPad.
To help plan the technology track at the annual Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo, Maureen Murphy, director of professional development at New Jersey REALTORS®, analyzes past attendee surveys, looks at what classes are popular at local associations, and asks local technology staff for recommendations. The conference's planning committee takes into account all of this data and scours the submitted presentations for new ideas.
"By using tools such as Google Analytics, we were able to see where our website users hopped on and off the site, what pages attracted views, and how long visitors stayed on these pages. Google Analytics is free and requires only a line of code in the footer of your site to begin pulling information. We learned that Facebook and Twitter were the main traffic drivers to our site. So by using social media to promote our biweekly blog posts, we saw page views increase."
— Andrew Sims, RCE, CEO, Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®
REALTOR® associations such as Illinois, Greater Boston, and Wisconsin have produced and posted their own online membership benefit videos that are used not only to attract members and orient new members but also to promote membership value to existing members.
"When REALTORS® come to me and say they have freedom of speech to say whatever they want online, I say, 'Yes you do, but you don't have freedom from the consequences of what you say.'"
— Nobu Hata, Director, Industry Outreach and Engagement Strategy, National Association of REALTORS®
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS®' distance-learning simulcast training initiative broadcasts more than 400 education programs a year from its central Dallas office to its five service center locations throughout the area with high-definition audio and video and unilateral communication among all six locations.
Paper ballots are relics at most associations, yet electronic voting participation is often very low. Try encouraging members to vote for leadership and directors with a click on their mobile device (bylaws permitting) with apps such as MyVote, Electionbuddy, and eBallot.
From understanding the relevance of Snapchat and Instagram to realizing the impact of Opendoor, Faira, and Haus, the key to delivering technology education and information to members comes down to understanding their needs and delivering relevance.
A multichannel approach to member engagement creates a more relevant and personalized member experience. Just imagine how impersonal a text message seems to a member who doesn't text, as will an invitation to join a Facebook group sent to a member who doesn't use Facebook. Use questionnaires and opt-in preferences to learn which channels will be most effective to reach and engage members.