Thank you to Evan Hendershot, Digital Marketing Specialist at Protech, for this guest post!
Every association is unique. They have different goals, and varying job roles and responsibilities from organization to organization. But generally speaking, there are a few marketing strategies that are consistently effective in the association world.
Rather than listing off general tips and tricks to set you on the right path, I wanted to share real examples from the Protech marketing team to prove that these strategies work. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
1. Prioritize email communication.
An old favorite among marketers is still alive and kicking. In our industry, nothing rivals email to put the right content in the hands of prospects and existing customers.
Let’s look at a recent Protech webinar as an example. Nearly 80 percent of Protech’s June thought leadership webinar registrations were acquired via email, while social media and other promotional methods made up the other 20 percent.
Email also happens to be one of the biggest drivers of new visitors at www.protechassociates.com, regularly settling in as one of the top five traffic sources each month (along with direct, organic, cost-per-click and referrals).
2. Find niche topics for content marketing.
Many of us who market to businesses (B2B marketing) are always on the hunt for topics that are interesting and unique. Particularly in the association space, it’s vital to not only provide educational content, but also create something that they won’t see anywhere else. We have the numbers to back it up.
In the first six months of 2019, we published 42 blog posts. Among those, 26 could be categorized as “tangential content,” or content that’s not directly related to Protech’s brand. Of the 42 posts, seven of the top 10 most-read could be considered tangential.
These niche topics ranged far and wide, from member engagement predictions to crafting the perfect out-of-office message before an annual meeting. This approach isn’t just working for us. Content marketing firm Fractl found that tangential content resulted in 30 percent more media mentions and 77 percent more social shares than on-brand posts.
Our recommendation? If you want to position your business as a thought leader in the association space, read all your competitors’ blogs, then try to feature a topic no one else has. Or at least find a new spin that’s off the beaten path.
3. Be strategic on social media.
LinkedIn. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. Snapchat. And so many more. How do you know which is worthwhile?
We focus on three social platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And our strategy differs across platforms. Facebook is used to show our customers and prospects who we are. Not what we do, but who is working behind the scenes to keep their association management software in top shape.
Twitter, on the other hand, is the best place in the association world to boost brand awareness — especially during association events. The week of the recent ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo (the Super Bowl of association meetings), Twitter was abuzz with association professionals, leading to a 216-percent jump in impressions for our posts when compared to the previous week.
Last, but certainly not least, is LinkedIn, which is reserved for high quality or new content. Why? Unlike the fleeting nature of Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to bombard your followers’ feeds by oversharing.
All of this is to say that you cannot simply post the same content to each social channel. Try to take a step back and determine whether you can be a little more strategic. And if you’re in the association space, you will definitely want to borrow the Twitter tactic mentioned above to boost brand awareness when the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo comes around again.
4. Become a CAE-approved provider.
Every three years, Certified Association Executives (CAEs) must renew their certification to maintain this widely-respected credential. In order to renew, CAEs need to earn 40 credits. That’s where you come in.
Businesses selling to associations must make use of this mutually beneficial program by first becoming a CAE-approved provider. Once that box is checked, seek out former association professionals or association management experts among your staff to serve as hosts for monthly or quarterly CAE-approved webinars.
On the surface, the added benefit of a single CAE credit offering may seem trivial, but it has a real impact on attendance. Over the course of one year, Protech’s least successful webinar — when measured by lead generation — was the only presentation in which we did not offer a CAE credit.
Simply put, these webinars will attract new leads and nurture existing ones for your organization, while providing the necessary education that CAEs require to re-up their certifications.
Of all our tips, this one is certainly the most involved. There’s more to hosting a webinar than meets the eye, especially if you’re creating brand new content on a monthly basis. Try starting with the simpler steps, then work your way up to becoming a CAE-approved provider.