Tuesday, 23 November 2010

PART II - How do we help Associations market & brand themselves and bring in new members?

The Marketing Think Tank call hosted by BrightBlue Marketing and Big Noise Communications was facilitated this month by Andrea Lamarsaude of BrightBlue.

Some of the topics discussed included:

Ø What are some of the key components of a successful marketing strategy for an association?
Ø What are some specific marketing tools that you have used that were successful in marketing an association?
Ø What are some creative ways or marketing tactics to drive membership up in an association -possibly tied to a membership drive?
Ø What are some ways to involve the Board in building membership?
Ø How do you gain media and PR exposure for an association? What are creative ways if you have a limited budget?

There were some great ideas that came from this Think Tank and because of that we will be doing a two part blog series to cover them more in depth.

In this Part II of the series we will discuss creative marketing tactics.

In Part I we discussed how to get the Association leadership and key members on board with the marketing efforts. Once you have the leadership on board, it is time to get creative!

As we have mentioned in prior blogs, the trick to marketing is getting heard above the noise of your competition. What can Associations do to make themselves stand out from the crowd? Many associations are using outdated marketing tactics and they need the energy of creative marketing to increase membership. Don’t be afraid to push your association a little bit out of its comfort zone. As you plan remember that during any campaign make sure you play up the associations strengths around a creative theme.

As you start looking at creative marketing tactics, be careful to not limit yourself and your ideas to the size of your staff or your current resources in order to carry out your marketing goals. You can also use your creativity to find more resources in the budget that can be put toward your marketing efforts and help you reach your goals.

Your first step should be to check out your competition to see who else is marketing to your potential members. What is your competition doing that is working and what you can do better than them? Don’t be afraid to learn and borrow ideas from the marketing they are doing. You can learn from their mistakes and successes and build on what they have already tried and make it your own. Ask your leadership and key members to submit short articles of different types of tips, advice and how-to items that relate to the needs of your audience and begin building a library. Once a library has been created you can begin reaching out to the editors of the smaller area papers and sending in these tips in the form of articles with a byline to the association. This is not so much of a sales tactic, but a help tactic with the purpose of showing that your association is a trusted resource; resulting in attracting new members. This is also an option that is low or no cost.

Something than many associations overlook as a marketing tool is making sure the association is tied into the community through charity work or by helping the community in some way. Choose a cause and back it by encouraging members to volunteer their time, having your staff volunteer to help and by being a resource for your chosen cause or charity. Not only is this just a good thing to do, it will create free media exposure and show that your association is an active member of the community resulting in attracting more potential members.

The most important things to remember are to think outside the box and get creative; look at low or no cost ideas that give the association exposure, and build on ideas that have worked for your competition giving them a twist of your own.

We would love to hear some of your creative ideas you’ve found success with as you market your association!

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