Who Needs Luck! 5 Tips for Making Data-Driven Decisions

Categories: Association, Chambers of Commerce, Marketing & Strategy, Membership Sales and Retention, Uncategorized


St. Patrick’s Day is full of celebrations surrounding good food, green beer (and shots of Jameson, let’s be honest), parades, dying bodies of water green, and overall celebrating Irish culture and traditions. Part the fun behind St. Patrick’s Day is the notion of “luck” and all the symbols that represent it – four leaf clovers, leprechauns, pots of gold and the like. Although I am as Irish as they come, today I abandon my heritage (not really) and make the case that we should dump the idea of luck in our organizations, and start using data to its full potential!

Often we just throw an idea out into the world because it sounds like something our audience will be receptive to, and hope it sticks. Your success, in that case, depends a lot on luck – right? The timing was spot on. You reached the right person. They have a need for what you’re offering. When you think about it, how often do those things align? While that approach may be easier on the fly, you’ll ultimately see more success in acquiring, engaging and retaining more members by taking the time to determine what data drives the most value for your organization. Only then can you make strategic decisions to give your organization a solid foundation for achieving the intended outcome of every initiative.

There are a lot of places to find and apply data. We put together some ideas to get you started:

1. Use data to identify prospects

When you understand what types of businesses are currently getting the most value out of their membership, you can easily determine what organizations to target for potential membership. Results from the WebLink Connect™ Top Member Categories report (or something similar) will tell you which industries are getting the most leads by simply having a presence on your website’s Business Directory. This data can guide you toward the types of organizations you should be pursuing for membership. Run this report each month to identify trends.

2. Use data to grow website traffic & referrals

Now that you know what types of businesses people are naturally searching for on your website, amplify that reach! Doing so will give your website more traffic, while simultaneously funneling that traffic to your members so they can get more leads. For example, consider adding links on your homepage that go directly to content for popular categories. If a lot of people are on your website looking for information on realtors, create a “Moving Soon?” button on the homepage that directs them to a special landing page with information about any applicable member organization – realtors, home builders, moving companies, etc. This is good for your Google search rankings AND for directing visitors straight to your members.

3. Use data to demonstrate value

If you’re generating leads for your members – MEASURE IT. Being able to show members what you’re doing for them really drives home the value of their membership. On the other end of the spectrum, use this data to show prospects how much they’re missing out on because they’re NOT a member! “Fear of loss” is a big motivator. Continue to strengthen that value so the numbers keep growing and you have bigger, better data to show both members and prospects.

4. Use data to get to know your audience

Take the guesswork out of what your members will respond to by defining and developing “member personas”. Think of three to five different kinds of people who represent you. Who are they? What do they want? What are their pain points? What is their title or specialty within the organization? Once you have your personas you can work on connecting what you do to provide value, to each persona. One easy way to do this would be to add a checklist of member benefits to your member profiles, and send an email to members asking them to “update their preferences” and indicate what their priorities are. That way they are TELLING you what they care about the most! Use this data to communicate certain programs more to certain personas, and find areas where you could improve or create programs. (Side bar: WebLink Connect™ users, set this up in the affiliation codes!)

5. Use data to track marketing lead sources

You have a ton of different marketing sources, from your website to social media to partnerships to advertising…time to start tracking them! Back out your data to identify how prospects found you, and determine what the conversion rate to membership is for each marketing source. Use that data to inform your marketing strategy: put more resources into the channels that are getting the best conversion rates, and consider how to improve (or perhaps even drop) the channels that aren’t.


Data can be used to inform your decisions on MANY levels. It can be intimidating at first, but you have to start somewhere! For detailed information about the above and more, check out this webinar hosted by WebLink President, Founder and CEO DJ Muller: 5 Surefire Ways to Grow Membership Using Data.

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