5 Ways to Enhance the Membership Experience for Car Clubs
From classics and muscle cars to resto mods and rarities, vehicle enthusiasts love nothing more than sharing and showing off their rides. That’s only part of what makes car clubs so lastingly popular—and a custom website can help any group attract new members, retain current members, and publicize itself. Despite the obvious appeal of these organizations, however, they still need advanced software features to make group administration simple, easy, and efficient. With the right membership management software, your group can get more mileage out of its website.
Easy member setup
An affinity group with no members makes about as much of an impact as the sound of one hand clapping. If you’ve outgrown a website and want to move up to better support for your car club, you need membership management that makes it easy to leverage your existing member data. If you’re just getting started online, you’d probably prefer not to spend lots of time typing in names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Regardless of whether you’re migrating to a new website or planning your first online venue, look for membership management software that supports all three of the basic input options you need to make the sign-up process simple. You may not want to type in a long list of member entries one at a time, but nonetheless, you need a manual entry option for instances in which it’s the applicable choice. For larger batches of membership information, or to migrate your car club from one site to another, you want the ability to upload member data in a spreadsheet-compatible text file, complete with customized tags that identify member status or interests. And finally, of course, you need the ability to enable individuals to sign up directly online through an easy-to-complete customizable form.
Enhanced member management
Some car club members love to share their contact information and their interests in an online directory that showcases their organization. Others take a more private approach, and prefer not to publicize their group membership. Ideally, you want membership management software that can handle the needs and desires of people with either preference, including those who want to share some of their contact information but don’t want to disclose all of it, preferring to post an e-mail address but not a mailing address, for example.
From a group administration standpoint, access to member contact information should enable you to communicate directly with members via the communication channel of their preference. Directly through your website, you’ll want to be able to send group e-mail messages to all or a selected subset of your membership, and—provided that members opt in—to text your members as well. You’ll also want the ability to assist your members in performing a quick password reset as and if necessary.
Extensive event support
From big, glamorous grand concourse events that take months of planning all the way to informal weekend shows designed for an afternoon meet and greet, car clubs thrive on get togethers that enable them to share restorations and upgrades with each other and with the public. Aside from the publicity efforts required to support these events, the first and biggest challenge of all of them is the process of finding out who wants to bring their cars to the show and which cars they’re bringing. For auto clubs, membership management software needs advanced event features, including multiple options for customization that enable club administrators to ask the right questions and require important responses.
You’ll want to be able to set ticket prices, sell tickets online, break out specific activities individually, offer early bird discounts, and much more. The software that supports your car club website needs to provide all these features and more.
Advanced group communications
Along with support for communications by e-mail and text messages that you send directly to your members, you also want to provide your membership with ways to communicate among themselves, and give yourself options for sharing news with your group. Look for membership management software that provides a private chat feature through which members can talk in groups or carry on one-on-one conversations.
A customizable newsfeed feature will enable you to post and pin important bulletins, and give you the option of allowing members to share their own stories and comment on other items.
Extensive help system
When you design, create, and maintain a website for your car club, you don’t want it to turn into the equivalent of an advanced repair without a set of instructions. Some membership management software packages load up on features but skimp on help resources. A software provider that truly understands what car club administrators need will offer you multiple forms of help, each keyed to different learning styles and scenarios.
Some people want to rely on an online FAQ system that provides verbal instructions to detail a procedure from start to finish. Others thrive on illustrated guides that lighten up the verbal content in favor of more screen captures that show online steps. Another contingent looks first for videos that show a process step by step. Regardless of which of these support modes an individual car club administrator lists as their first choice, you’ll want all three of them to provide you with a holistic approach to learning and problem solving.
At the same time that help resources give you the instructions you need to complete tasks and learn advanced procedures, sometimes you’ll run into circumstances that don’t seem to fit in with the help topics and video support. That’s when you want the ability to ask a question and receive a timely, targeted answer from an online specialist. Not all membership software providers that support car clubs offer you this type of in-depth support, but it’s a necessity to ensure that your road to site creation is a smooth ride to a satisfying destination.