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How to Grow Your Association’s Membership with Marketing Automation

Can marketing automation help grow your association’s membership? Simple answer, yes. Marketing automation is the use of software to automate your marketing processes in a much more efficient way, and to deliver consistent, timely, and relevant content to your prospects and members. For associations, utilizing an automated marketing software can translate into growing membership by allowing you to do the following:

Keep Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is essential for your association. You want to make sure your message is strong, clear, and consistent across all channels. Through marketing automation, you can plan out your entire campaign and see the overall structure as a whole. This allows you to make sure there is consistency. For potential new members, they will easily be able to understand your association’s message. Having this strong voice will attract those prospects.

Boost Member Engagement

gears_marketingYour current members play an extremely important role in the growth of your association. With engaging members, they can help spread the word about your association and recruit new members. If prospects see this engagement and passion from your current members, they are more likely to want to join. If all your members are silent, then the attractiveness of your association will suffer. Without their help it may be difficult to grow and continue success. With automation, you can monitor which members are engaging and help push content to those who are not.

Maintain Current Members

Just as it is important to grow and find new members, it is equally as important for the success of your association to maintain the members you already have. Losing members is not a good sign for the growth of your association. If prospects see satisfied current members that have been with the association for many years, it will certainly increase their likelihood to join. Through marketing automation, you can send out personalized content to all of your different members based on their needs to keep them engaged and attract new members along the way.

Track Content to Your Prospects

When you automate your marketing efforts, you have the ability to automatically send out specific content at specific times. Just like points along a “sales funnel,” you are giving them targeted messages at the right time to push them through to join the association. Also, you have the ability to track what they click on to better improve those tailored messages. When tracking prospects, automated messages push their general interest into commitment to your association. Turning interest into commitment, means turning prospects into members.

Increase Flexibility

Marketing automation, like mentioned before, allows you to send what you want, when you want, to whom you want. Give prospects what they want by tailoring your message to each recipient. Your automated campaigns are created by you and can be altered to what fits your association’s message. Just set up your steps, import your prospects and members, and boom – your marketing automation software takes care of the rest!

Most associations have one overall goal: Gain and retain members. Using marketing automation software allows not only maximum reach to prospects, but also constant personalized content to current members. By taking care of your current members and targeting prospects with information that is relevant to them, you are increasing the ability to grow and succeed as an association.

 

A Note From The Author

If you like what you read here, I encourage you to read the Association Marketing Toolkit, which is full of additional resources, tips, and ideas for marketing your association!

Marketing Automation for Associations

 

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Get Off Your @$$ and Get Social: How to Get Your Association Involved

How social is your association? Your association thrives on the involvement of both its members and the goodwill of others in your trade area and local community. What does that mean for your association? It means it’s time for your association to get social and build good relationships both online and offline. Here are ten ideas to get you started.
  1. Get involved in community events. From the local fête to a beach clean-up, look for chances to get your association involved with events happening in your local community. As well as getting your name known, you’ll get to know people in your locality, and establish your association as caring about its community.
  2. Host an icebreaker or fun day. Of course your AGM is important (see next point), but “come along to our AGM” won’t draw in non-members. Hosting a more laid back event is a proactive way to reach out to your local community. As well as potential members, you’ll be making connections with those who might not be interested in joining your organization, but who could be allies.
  3. Make your AGM or conference more social. An AGM or conference is a good way to get your members together for networking and discussion – but you have to make it appealing. From the way you market it to the general tone of the day, make sure your event is positive and worth the time and money to attend. Don’t forget the importance of social media and a mobile-friendly approach to your event.
  4. Involve your staff. If you want a more social association, start with your staff. Whether paid or voluntary, make sure your staff gets a chance to have their voices heard, and are offered plenty of motivation to get involved in your activities.
  5. Run a contest or giveaway. From a Facebook giveaway to a local prize draw, a contest can be an engaging way to get people involved with what you are doing. Rather than just asking for a name or a Facebook like, encourage involvement with a contest that needs some input from entrants.
  6. Sponsor something. Could your association sponsor something in your local community? From a local sporting event to your community theatre, sponsorship not only gets your name seen and known, it also establishes your association as community-minded and generous.
  7. Get talking. Being a good conversationalist should be part of your association’s social action plan. Talk to your members and others in your local community or trade area regularly. You can reach out with questionnaires, join or start a conversation on social media, or simply ask someone at a community event what matters to them.
  8. Encourage involvement. If you want to inspire your members to get more social, provide them with opportunities and make sure they know about them. Write up some interesting copy with eye-catching graphics to let them know what is going on, and how and why they should get involved. Keeping in touch is the key to encouraging your members to be more social, with you, with each other, with others in their sector, and with their local community.
  9. Make the most of social media. Social media is your opportunity to start and join in with conversations worldwide. Make the most of social media with regularly updated profiles that offer something interesting to your followers. Reach out to your members, prospects, and others in your industry with questions, information, and a friendly, approachable attitude.
  10. Get your voice heard. From local consultations to national topics of importance to your area of expertise, reach out beyond your own borders. Get your association involved with topics that are relevant to your association, and to the local community you operate in.

Keeping your association social is key to keeping its membership active and interested in being part of what you do, so don’t wait – get out there, and get social!

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Creating a Successful eNewsletter for Your Members

As online marketing becomes increasingly popular and widespread, businesses are continually looking to find ways to remain successful and stand out from the crowd. eNewsletters give you the opportunity to update your audience and provide them with new, valuable content. However, with the large amount of eNewsletters being sent out by different companies every day, it sometimes becomes difficult to stand out. To help you create a successful eNewsletter that will appeal to your audience, we have five important tips to be aware of, as well as some sample campaigns to give you some inspiration moving forward.

5 Tips for an Effective eNewsletter

Clipboard with Checklist and Red Pen

1. Subject Line:

Your subject line is the most important part of your eNewsletter. It is the first thing your audience will see, and it’s also the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not they will open your email. If your subject line is weak and your audience passes right by the email, all the effort you put into the content inside the eNewsletter will go to waste. Make sure you set time aside to work on coming up with a creative subject line so your email doesn’t get buried in inboxes and spam folders. Some basic tips to remember when creating a subject line include:
a. Keep it short – if it needs to be longer, make sure your important keywords appear
towards the beginning so you can be sure they’re seen.
b. Avoid using words that will cause your email to be marked as spam, such as free,
deal, earn, sale, etc.
c. Tell your audience what’s inside – they signed up for your eNewsletter because they
want to receive your content, so make sure they know what they’re getting when it
arrives in their inbox.

To see which subject lines are working best for your audience, try utilizing an A/B testing method. Send out one subject line to a small sample of your audience, and another one to a different sample group of the same size. Use whichever one had higher open rates on the rest of your list. Also, be sure to regularly check data reports to see which subject lines had the best results on your audience over time.

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Strategic Planning for Your Association

When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your association’s business plan? Now that we’re halfway through the year (can you believe it?!), it’s time to see what you have accomplished so far. By looking at what your plans were for this year and evaluating results up to this point, you can see what has worked and what hasn’t, helping you to make key decisions and adjustments for the second half of the year. In reality, best practices for marketing and overall association management are constantly changing. By looking ahead and developing a strategy, you will be able to make necessary adjustments in a time-conscience manner. Below are some practices to consider as you begin strategizing for the second half of the year.

Take a Goal-Oriented Approach

When planning for the future of your association, it’s incredibly important to take a goal-oriented approach. With tools and trends constantly changing, the first step is making an assessment of your current strategy. Researching new technology, the outside market, and competitors will help you surpass competition. Once research is completed, you can begin positioning your association and setting goals for the upcoming months. Come up with the direction that you want your association to take. Think about where you really need to improve. Whether it’s increasing membership levels or delivering more value-added benefits, make sure that you have a main focus.

Create a Strategic Business Plan

Once goals are set, it’s imperative to create a detailed strategic business plan. In doing so, you’ll be able to form a step-by-step guide targeted at achieving results. Begin by taking what you have already completed for research, and compile specific tactics aimed at your goals. The elements within your strategic plan should all be driven by underlying elements, including:

  • Financial plan, allowing you to project what your expenses will be in pro-forma statements.
  • Marketing plan, which should identify key communication, promotional, and lead generating tactics for your association.
  • Membership goals and strategies, indicating projected new members, along with methods for improving numbers.
  • Timeline & summary of key events, which will give you a high level outline of what the upcoming months will look like.
  • Roles and responsibilities, providing the necessary insights into what resources are required in order to achieve the desired results.
  • Measurement techniques. Remember you need to measure, monitor, and continually improve your efforts based on analysis.

Focus on Your Members

Not only is it important to make sure everything is running smoothly internally, it’s also essential to make sure members remain satisfied. Keeping your existing members happy is what truly matters for your association. They must come first and remain a top priority for your association every step of the way during the strategic planning process. By creating a satisfaction survey and sending it out to members, you will be able to see clear insights and feedback. This will not only help improve relationships, but it will also help you gain new members for the second half of 2016 and beyond. Showing members that you value their opinion is one key recommendation in an effort to maintain and grow.

Update Your Competitive Value Proposition

Lastly, developing an updated competitive value proposition will help set your association apart from others. Research what competitors are offering, and really try to get a grasp on why potential members may veer towards joining a different organization. By performing this due diligence, you will be able to update your messaging to state why your association provides more value. Ensure that your strategy encompasses methods for proving value to members, whether it be case studies, testimonials, or other methods of showing member satisfaction.

Now, keep these tips in mind and think about this: Is your association ready for the second half of this year? It might be tempting to say “yes, last year the second half of the year was successful, so I’ll continue on this path for the rest of 2016.” In reality, however, this is a dangerous mindset. Not adapting to the evolving marketing and overall business model landscape is a sure-fire way to see a decline in membership levels. Ultimately, updating your strategic plan is the best way to ensure a healthy and productive future.

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