Meeting Members Needs
Founded in 1909, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) offers members many benefits, including ongoing education, seminars, networking opportunities, a reduction in professional expenses, and much more. It reports current news and events through its publication Disclosures, an active voice in the Virginia state government.
Like many CPA state societies, VSCPA was growing and evolving to meet the needs of its membership. As a result, it needed to reimagine its website to better meet these goals and maximize the user experience to ensure they are quickly able to access engaging and beneficial content from the organization’s robust offerings.
With various options available, VSCPA was seeking a content management system (CMS) that provides the functionality and flexibility to help the organization and develop new features, while also empowering the organization’s marketing team to be more responsive, complete tasks more quickly, and drive more original content.To fulfill this objective, VSCPA opted to migrate to an open source solution developed by Unleashed, which would create an engaging and fresh new web presence for its members and visitors. Our team collaborated with VSCPA to create a digital experience that utilizes best-practice security measures, responsive design, and an integration with VSCPA's custom-built, SQL-based association management software, AM.net.
Integration and Innovation
In order to meet the needs expressed by VSCPA and build a solid foundation for future growth, Unleashed selected Drupal as the appropriate platform for VSCPA's web initiative. The new website was built to leverage Drupal Commerce 2, several community components, and custom integrations to meet and exceed VSCPA's organizational goals, while also providing a scalable platform for future enhancements and growth. We completed a thorough discovery process with the VSCPA stakeholders to understand how to bring success to the initiative.
Unleashed built a custom integration between AM.net, the association management system (AMS) benchmark for CPA societies and the new VSCPA Drupal website that is used to seamlessly sync user profiles, user memberships, e-commerce orders, events, and products. During the website build, our team also developed event tracking functionality, as well as dashboards in Google Tag Manager/Analytics.
These tools are referenced for key performance indicators (KPI) measurement and tracking to continue to enhance the site's functionality following launch. Additionally, a campaign profile was created within Moz, the organization's search engine optimization (SEO) solution. Driven by VSCPA's targeted keywords, the profile campaign provides monthly reports to the VSCPA team with analysis and suggestions provided by the Unleashed team.
Planning with KPIs
KPIs help an organization define the primary areas of focus to help progress and goals. The Unleashed team helps to develop these by analyzing business goals, audience segments, common user tasks, website information, and content management.
By defining these indicators early, we develop a clear focus throughout the process of planning, building, testing, and continuing to grow a successful web presence. Unleashed worked with VSCPA to establish the following KPIs to ensure the new website would align with the organization's goals following launch:
Increase membership applications
Increase donations (contribution) transaction volume
Improve conversion rate for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) purchases
Increase organic traffic
Overcoming Design Challenges
Unleashed’ design team and solution architects evaluated the information architecture and design needs for the new website. Our discovery process identified a number of important content structures, like publications, events, firms, people, locations, and other pages, which help facilitate engagement with visitors and VSCPA members.
Our team evaluated VSCPA’s audience needs and the types of tasks they would want to complete on the website. This helped guide our design efforts—with wireframes, a style guide, and design mockups—focusing on better navigation and call-to-action opportunities.
Member Offerings Online
Our team worked with the VSCPA team and identified three things website visitors can purchase: memberships, contributions (donations), and event registrations.
VSCPA services CPA firms, who can manage a staff list, memberships, and bulk event registrations. Membership payments can be recurring and have a suggested contribution when members sign-up or renew. There are multiple membership types that VSCPA offers, which have different pricing. Contribution pricing is set by the purchaser with preset, suggested amounts.
Specifically, the VSCPA’s event registration process was reinvented to make it more personalized and more dynamic. Event registrations are particularly interesting. Each registrant can now select a number of different sessions to attend, receive discounts if they are a member, pick special options like meals, and be registered with other firm attendees. We created custom event registration products and session selection forms.
AM.net provides a significant portion of member, event, firm, and e-commerce data. However, it cannot handle authentication. For that, we evaluated several single sign-on solutions before recommending that VSCPA use Gluu to fit their needs and the needs of their users.
Content migration from the prior CMS started with an audit of the volume of content and complexity of the source structure. The “Article” and “Topic” content comprised some 5,000 pages, which was a good candidate for migration to the “Publication” content type on the new Drupal 8 website. All other existing content was recommended for manual migration by VSCPA. The goal was to ensure content was on-target for the new website, and we wanted to help content managers at VSCPA practice using the new Drupal 8 interface.
Once the website was live, user feedback was positive, and Unleashed monitored several analytics and logs to understand any immediate, post-launch priorities. Once those were identified, our team is shifted our focus to utilizing a KPI dashboard to learn from those measurements and inform our continuous improvement cycles and position the VSCPA website to grow.
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