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11 ideas for marketing your association in a flash

3 min read

Digital Technology

SmartBrief exhibited for the first time at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting, held Aug. 7 to 9 in St. Louis, and when our team wasn’t on the floor meeting with current partners and speaking with potential new ones, I attended many of the education sessions focused on membership, marketing and communication.

One of the most effective session formats, which consistently drew standing-room-only crowds, featured multiple ideas from a variety of panelists — each limited to a minute or less (in some cases, 15 seconds or less). Here are 11 tips — many are a combination of two or three speakers’ ideas — from a session called “60 Ideas in 60 Minutes for Marketing Your Association in a Social Media Age”:

  1. Ask why members join. Have people share the reasons why they are members. These testimonials can be featured as part of your website, Flickr feed or even a video series posted on your YouTube channel.
  2. Offer unique discounts. Ask exhibitors to offer member-only discounts at association events — for a limited time. Vendors can build the marketing into their booths, as well as pre- and post-show marketing, to drive traffic and boost sales.
  3. Add social recognition. Use social products, such as branded badges, to reward and recognize volunteer and member online community efforts.
  4. “We missed you.” Send a postcard to non-attendees/non-members during your annual event with messaging that spins ahead to next year’s meeting.
  5. Tap the executive team. Get them blogging or hosting Twitter chats with members and the industry as a whole. Members and potential members enjoy the transparency.
  6. Create a speakers’ network. Share a portion of the revenue from meetings/webinars with speakers/content leaders who promote the events to their communities in advance.
  7. Go online with offline. Tweet or blog about upcoming print publications, such as research in quarterly journals — without violating your own embargo rules — to stir excitement and conversations.
  8. Populate your video channel with useful content. YouTube is the second most popular search engine — not Yahoo! or Bing. Make sure that members, and others, can find content from your organization there. How-to clips are popular choices.
  9. Brief is powerful. Produce a weekly e-newsletter — open to all readers — that includes a tip of the week. Weekly frequency is the new minimum, as it is key to any return on investment for any sponsors, as well as reader growth.
  10. Open your meeting. Put a live Twitter steam on your public website with posts containing the conference hashtag. Livesteam selected sessions (ASAE livestreamed this one). Have interns blog about selected sessions, with take-aways. Tag photos that attendees contribute and open those pictures to non-attendees.
  11. Beef up LinkedIn. You can easily add an RSS feed to your association-led LinkedIn groups that gives members something to chat about.

Image credit: Soubrette, via iStockphoto