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Association Posts

5 Content Marketing Mistakes Your Association Needs to Avoid

Is your content marketing in good shape? From Facebook updates to eBooks, content marketing is the go-to way to communicate with your members these days. Your content needs to interest your readers and give them a reason to come back for more, so make sure you steer clear of these five common content marketing mistakes.

1. No Plan

No plan spells disaster for your content marketing. Without a plan, you run the risk of creating haphazard and unfocused content with not enough updates, or too many updates. Before you start creating, have an aim in mind. Do you want to raise awareness of your association? Increase your subscription rates? Once you’ve got your aim, map out how much content you are going to create, and when. Schedule it in so you know it will get created and sent at the right time.

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2. No Value

The Internet is a noisy place, and your members are busy people. The content you create needs to bring something to their lives – something that will make it worth taking the time to read. That means now is not the time to sell. Now is the time to answer a question, solve a problem, provide some valuable information, or even just make your members laugh or smile.

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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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Making Marketing Automation Work For Your Association

Does your association use automated marketing? Perhaps you associate automated messages with more sales-focused marketing efforts. In fact, as an association, you are selling your message, and marketing it should be one of your top priorities. With the current popularity of social media and the wealth of information and networking available for free, making your message and benefits clear to members has never been more important. Marketing automation can help you do just that. Here are some key areas in which marketing automation is good for associations, and what you can do to make the most of it.Marketing Automation for Assocations

Targeting Your Messages

Marketing automation works best when used in conjunction with a solid, well thought out plan. The messages your association sends out should have a very clear purpose, whether that is encouraging members to renew, inviting them to an event, or promoting a specific service. By using marketing automation, you can tailor the messages you send out to best connect with your members. For example, if a member is due for renewal, you can design a campaign to remind them to renew, and highlight how your association adds value to the life of that member. To do this you simply personalize the campaign based on their behavior and demographic to ensure the message speaks directly to their needs and concerns.

 

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How to Engage Millennials in Membership (Advice from a Millennial)

How many times a day do you hear the word “millennials”? I’m going to assume it’s a lot. Many employers are still learning how to speak the millennial language and weave them into a pre-existing organizational culture. They’re one of the larger demographics of consumers and they’re stepping (rather, taking leaps and bounds) into careers, promotions and leadership roles all around.

We all know associations can provide a multitude of opportunities to a professional in almost any field. There is networking, higher education, accreditations and certifications, sales leads, career opportunities, resume building experiences and more.

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

As of now, the working public includes both baby boomers and millennials (we are fast approaching the inclusion of Gen Z, too). There have been hundreds of new technologies introduced (AND phased out) in the time that is equal to the age difference between coworkers today. Continually evolving technologies can create discrepancies in workplace, especially when different age groups prefer different communication forms (e.g. email versus Slack). Associations can embrace differences rather than ignore them.

As a millennial, I can tell you what I expect from my membership. I look for networking opportunities that can happen offline AND online (opportunities that can overlap into my free time activities and personal goals, not trump them). I want you to come to my corner when it comes to communication. I expect your website to be up-to-date. I think you should be present on social media – and give me the facts and latest events, but do it with personality. I look for recognition opportunities (I want my friends and family to know that I’m kicking tail at work!). I want to get noticed as a stand-out employee by other employers, too. I want to meet and network with people of all ages and races and backgrounds. I like to go to events – and I expect free food and booze (even if I don’t say it). I hope that my membership fee is reasonable enough and beneficial enough for my company to view as an investment and not a liability.

Granted, I am only one person. There are many other millennials who might have smaller or larger expectations than the above. How is your association working to investigate what those expectations are, and, furthermore, how are you creating opportunity and loyalty with this new age of members?

It’ll be different for every association, but here’s a good place to start:

  • Invest time in getting millennial members on the phone or email and asking them what they want!
  • Involve millennials in content production: try a social media takeover, guest blog posts, etc.
  • Empower millennials through recognition or spotlights.
  • Be open-minded to change, advancements and progression.
  • Let millennials be brand ambassadors for your association (we do things in packs, you know).
  • Make all of the above clear in your communication efforts.

There is no crystal ball answer to winning over millennials. Even as marketers, we’ll never completely know what our audience expects and wants. It’s an age-old fact, though, that the best way to communicate is to first listen. And if there’s any demographic that wants you to listen, it’s millennials.

Have you seen great results in communicating with millennial members or potential millennial members? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

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“Stop Thinking Like an Association” to Debut at ASAE Annual Meeting Led by John Foley, Jr. and Samantha Lake

ilinklogo_280WILMINGTON, Mass. – (August 1, 2016) John Foley, Jr., CEO of interlinkONE, Inc. and strategic association advisor, and Samantha Lake, Vice President of Association Marketing Services for Grow Socially, will present a one-of-a-kind learning lab session at the 2016 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. This high energy and insightful discussion, titled “Stop Thinking Like an Association,” will take place on Monday, August 15, 2016 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm MDT.

As we move deeper in to the digital age, associations often find themselves stuck in the rut of “business as usual.” Guided by John and Samantha, attendees will transform their mindset from that of an association, to that of an entrepreneur; ready to take risks, embrace change, and welcome challenges. Attendees will leave the session with an entirely new outlook on what it means to lead an association. John and Samantha will open the minds of participants to a culture that values forward thinking, creative problem solving, and team work by highlighting the benefits this mindset can bring.

“I am both excited and honored to present with Samantha at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting and to share crucial knowledge to those attending. Too often, associations find themselves saying ‘we’ve always done it that way.’ Our goal is to change that mindset and I can say with complete confidence that this presentation will do just that,” said Foley.

The sixty minute session is open to all ASAE Annual attendees. Those who are among the first to arrive will receive a surprise gift box packed full of valuable tools to help along the journey to success. John and Samantha are allowing attendees to pre-register for both the session and the gift box to ensure a seat and a box. Registration for the session and the gift box will be available at Association Marketer. Sign up for the Association Marketer eNewsletter to be notified when this registration becomes available.

Registration for the conference is separate through the ASAE Annual Meeting website: http://ilink.me/ASAEReg

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, interlinkONE, Inc. provides a collection of innovative marketing software solutions including MAX, a powerful and user-friendly marketing automation tool. Designed to take the stress out of communication with members and prospects, MAX gets the right message to the right people at the perfect time, and on a platform suitable to them. This intuitive system lets users build campaigns that deliver compelling content to their audience, promote awareness, build relationships, and educate. And with MAX’s easy-to-use system, anyone can use it; no expertise required. To learn more about MAX and how you can stay in front of your members visit MarketWithMAX.com.

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Media Contact:
Donna Vieira
Vice President, Marketing
interlinkONE, Inc.
donnav@interlinkONE.com

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