June 11, 2019

Creating Great Member Experiences Through On-Site Search

The internet age has had a huge impact on how industry associations interact with their members. While historically trade associations communicated through printed material and published journals, today their complete libraries of information and resources can be found on an organization’s website. With such a vast and diversified amount of information housed in one place, it is critically important that associations give members the tools they need to not just simply find the material they are looking for, but also be afforded the opportunity to experience valuable and meaningful online journeys via an association website’s search functionality.

HawkSearch has a proven track record of providing highly personalized, relevant and satisfying search experiences for the membership of associations. Here are some essential elements found in HawkSearch that make these high quality search journeys possible for association website visitors.  

Federated Search Strategy

Years ago, it would not have been possible for an association to deliver the vast volume of information that it can today thanks to the internet. Because association websites provide so many resources from a single URL, it is only natural that there could be multiple servers needed behind scenes to host the information that members access. HawkSearch believes that great searches start with a federated search strategy, which empowers members to benefit from a comprehensive on-site search for their desired information, not just a partial one. HawkSearch has the ability to search in the aggregate, no matter how many servers are being used to house data.  

Search Navigation By Category & Facet  

Association websites contain an enormous amount of information for members about a variety of topics, such as education, compliance, newsletters, events, products and courses. Effective on-site search tools make it simple for visitors to receive personalized and relevant search results by organizing resources in an easy to use fashion. HawkSearch uses categories and facets to successfully navigate large amounts of data for online searchers. Each topic found on an association website is indexed into major categories for trouble free locating, while sub facets are used to drill down search results for greater personalization and better relevance. Intuitive search functionality produces extremely satisfying experiences for association members looking for information and resources important to them.  

Boost & Bury  

Boost & Bury is a very popular feature for association websites. This tool found in the HawkSearch dashboard provides administrators with the ability to control the search results members receive by either boosting or minimizing the importance of information, based on the objectives of the association’s marketing plan. Website resources can be highlighted in search results based on time of year, theme, topic, upcoming courses or for any other reason that a marketer would want to promote something. Similarly, there are times when an association may decide to deemphasize or eliminate certain information in a member’s search results, such as displaying courses that have already taken place, out of stock products or outdated data that is scheduled to be removed in the near future. HawkSearch’s Boost and Bury tools are a great way to help steer members’ search results toward greater personalization and relevance.  

Further Relevance Tuning  

HawkSearch also empowers association websites to fine tune which data fields or keywords will influence search results, so relevancy can be optimized. Let’s say that a member of an accounting association is searching for information regarding the taxation of subchapter “S” corporations. HawkSearch can be tuned to exclude fields that aren’t material to the main search criteria. Tax resources about “C” corporate structures would be excluded, as well as information about taxing sole proprietors. In this case, having HawkSearch focus on the key terms of “taxation” and “S corporations” produces much more relevant search results. Having the ability to choose which data fields will influence what people see in their searches is a great way to improve overall satisfaction and create delighted, informed association members.

Interested in hearing how HawkSearch can help improve the overall member experience of your association website? Contact us today!


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