Should You Be Outsourcing Your Association’s Marketing?

Sometimes hiring a dedicated marketing employee or team just isn’t in the cards. Management, budgets, and resources can be major constraints on an association. For any organization, growth is one of the most important factors that lead to success. Especially with smaller associations, leaders often find themselves playing multiple roles in their organization and not being able to focus on important aspects of managing and overseeing the association and its members. When this begins to occur, it may be time to consider outsourcing your marketing. Below are some important cues that may lead you to believe outsourcing is the best option.

  • Memberships are declining or at a standstill. If no matter what you’re doing, your membership levels aren’t increasing, it may be time to consider looking at other options. Believe it or not, marketing can be easy to measure, if you’re working with people who know what they’re doing. If you outsource to efficient marketers, they will be able to link their efforts with marketing campaigns and see how membership levels are being affected, and have the statistics to report back to you on.
  • You are falling behind. As a leader, it’s expected that you will have a busy workload. However, if you find yourself always trying to play catch-up, then it may be wise to consider outsourcing. Not only will it eliminate the amount of unnecessary and irrelevant (to your position) work you have to do, but it will also allow professional marketers to spend dedicated time and produce better content.
  • Disappointed with results. One of the worst things that you can experience is being disappointed with the results of the work being produced. If you aren’t happy with the quality and content you are creating, then it might be best to put the job in a professional’s hands.

If your organization is experiencing any of these difficulties with marketing campaigns, outsourcing may be a great choice to look into. While outsourcing does require for you to give up some of your authority of marketing, it does have many benefits. An outsourced team will:

  • Write a detailed and comprehensive marketing plan for your association, and then move into execution for you. This is important because every organization needs a marketing plan; it will cut down time spent on marketing campaigns in the long run and increase membership levels.
  • Hire experienced professionals to exclusively market your association, without you needing to hire additional resources or do any of the work. These professionals will handle your everyday tasks that would otherwise be a burden. They will execute creative and purposeful content and track it to measure results.
  • Provide the hired marketers with marketing resources, including software, to allow them to get everything done efficiently. By providing them with resources, they will be able to create and track all of your organization’s marketing efforts, finding what works and reviewing areas to improve on.
  • Complete the planning, execution, and management of your association’s marketing efforts, based off of the plan written prior. They will also be sure to take any input you may have and create content that will be specific to your organization and your members.
  • Report to you on a regular basis for updates. Though you may be taken off the job for executing the marketing, you won’t be forgotten. This is still your association and outsourced marketers will make sure to include you as much as they can.

If your finding it tough to create, execute, measure, and manage your association, its members, and its marketing efforts, it might be time to consider outsourcing. It will relieve pressure off of you and only further the success of your association and help to directly increase membership levels.

Is your association in need of marketing help? I’m here to help! Contact me at JohnF@GrowSocially.com to discuss your association’s future and learn more about outsourced marketing services for your organization.

4 Types of Marketing Software to Consider

As marketers, we are bombarded by new technologies constantly being introduced to us each month. Although different software are helpful in aiding our marketing efforts as well as helping us to find and research new members, it certainly gets overwhelming at times weeding through the options. To help narrow down the wide variety of options, consider these four technology tools to help your association improve its marketing efforts and build relationships with members and prospects.

  1. Customer Relationship Management Software. Customer relationship management software is essential for any organization that is looking to grow and enhance communication with its members and prospects. Not only does a CRM help to identify and manage relationships with existing and potential members, it also helps track and measure marketing campaigns. These systems help monitor traffic between you and your members, and ultimately help build stronger relationships.
  2. Marketing Automation Software. Marketing automation software is crucial to associations as it allows you to relay information quickly and effectively to current and future members. From managing blogs, to building landing pages, tracking keywords, and handling marketing campaigns, an automated marketing software will help execute and measure the effectiveness of your marketing. It will pick up any information that you may have missed, and will track the information you’re marketing, allowing you to be on top of everything, and doing most of the work for you!
  3. Social Media Software. Having a software that will assist you in social media marketing will free up time to think more about marketing strategy, and help track the reporting and measurements of your social media campaigns. An effective social media software will make it easier for you to share information across a variety of social platforms, while tracking data and allowing you to easily control all aspects of your social media marketing efforts. From scheduling posts in advance to addressing your target market, it will help build the personality of your association, attracting new members and better connecting with existing ones.
  4. Analytics Software. Having a software that will take your data and turn it into a detailed report is a requirement for any organization. This software can tie into any of the others mentioned above, because it takes the results from those and analyzes it. It not only breaks down the information necessary for evaluating the success of your organization, but it simplifies it and shows you what’s working and what isn’t within your marketing efforts.

These new technologies in online marketing will assist your association in successfully reaching members and prospects and informing them about your organization. They will help you take the next steps in developing your association and utilizing the necessary resources in a marketing association.

Quick Tips to Change Up Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing isn’t a onetime event. From blogs to social media to eNewsletters, coming up with new content is a challenge for any organization. The aim of the game is to avoid becoming the boring relative that tells the same story at every get together – your audience will get bored and unfollow you. Every new piece of content needs to have something that makes it readable and shareable. It’s a tall order, so what can you do to keep your content fresh? Here are seven ideas you can use today to inject new life into your content.

  1. Change it up – if you normally post graphics, write a text update. If your blog is all text, add a video. Just remember to keep it consistent with your usual tone.
  2. Hoard inspiration – have a great idea for a blog post? See a topical news piece you can’t wait to weigh in on? Use a file, notebook, or a social bookmarking tool to keep track of ideas and topics.
  3. Crowdsource it – spend some time on social media networks and see what your members and others in your industry are talking about. Look for topics you can craft content around.
  4. Start a conversation – not sure what to say? Ask your followers a question – you’ll be getting useful feedback while keeping their attention.
  5. Look outside your niche – what’s happening in the world? Is there a holiday or sporting event on the horizon? Think of some relevant content that will still be useful to your followers.
  6. Tell a story – members do business with people not brands. Tell a story about your association, talk about the history of your services. Offer something that tells your audience who you are.
  7. Start a theme – instigate new recipe Tuesdays, over to you Wednesdays, or weekly roundup Fridays. Pick a theme that suits your association, announce it, and encourage feedback.

Creating new content and keeping it lively and interesting is no small task. Help yourself by having a content creation calendar to work to. Put yourself in your member’s place and create content that you would love if you were following your association.

Looking for more tips on content marketing? Check out 25 Tips for Content Marketing Success!

Do You Need a Marketing Consultant?

If your association doesn’t have the time or proper resources to dedicate to your marketing efforts, then the ultimate answer is yes, you should be using a marketing consultant. It does not matter how small or how large your association is. Marketing is a key component to success. So why is marketing something that many organizations can’t do themselves? The answer to that question is that, in part, you can do marketing yourself, but the reason that you should use a consultant is because marketing is more than just putting out a few fliers.

Marketing 101

One of the key components of marketing is being able to track your results and then to apply what you have learned in such a way as to improve your marketing plan’s performance. That is a process that can be labor intensive. However, without being able to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, you will lack the information needed to tell you if your campaign is working, or if it is working to the best of its ability. What you do in terms of marketing needs to be measured, evaluated, and then properly adjusted.

Another key component of marketing involves social marketing platforms. These not only involve technology, but also they involve technology that is rapidly changing. This means that a portion of your marketing energy will need to be spent just keeping up with changes in social technology. If you are keeping track of the technology changes in marketing, then you should see that this is a process that becomes very labor intensive. For all of this work, we have not even gotten into designing a marketing campaign.

Managing Your Time

For small and medium sized organizations, they say that you should do what you do best and leave the rest to other people. If you manage an association and you are reading emails and answering phones, then you are doing administrative work and not the work of a leader. That is not to say you cannot do both, but when you are focused on many tasks, do you do any of them well?

Leave marketing to those who do marketing extremely well and free up your time and resources to become the leader of your association. Take control of your organization’s efforts by utilizing a marketing consultant. We’re here to help! Click here to contact our team and see what we can do to help your association thrive.

Using Content Curation to Boost Your Marketing Efforts

What does a museum have to do with content marketing? It’s not a trick question – the answer is curation. A museum curator lovingly gathers the most interesting artifacts and displays them with printed commentary or those snazzy in-ear audio guides. You can apply a similar technique to content, gathering the best from around the web to tell a story that will capture your audience’s interest. Let’s take a look at how.

What Is Content Curation?

Content curation is the gathering of content from around the web for display on your own blog or social media profile. You might balk at this – after all you don’t want your association’s website to look like a news aggregator – but in fact, curation can be a valuable part of your content marketing strategy.

Good content curation is not simply a case of sharing any old content related to your niche. Good content curation means searching out quality content and then enhancing it by adding your own commentary or marrying it up with other content to tell a story.

Think about our museum analogy – a bunch of random artifacts displayed haphazardly on the floor wouldn’t hold a lot of interest. The fascination comes from the display and the way the story is told. This is the heart of good content curation.

How Can It Benefit My Association?

It’s no secret that Google likes regularly updated blogs, and members like regularly updated social media profiles. Content curation is a way of supplementing your original content with other items. This keeps your web presence active.

Content curation can help to establish your organization as a go-to for the best news and information.

How Do I Make Curation Work For Me?

Follow these three steps to get your curation up to scratch and make sure it enhances your original content (and you will still be producing that – the aim is to supplement not replace).

  1. Choose your content carefully – think about whether it will speak to your prospects and members and how it will inform, entertain, or help them.
  2. Have an aim in mind – don’t pick content at random, no matter how good. Think about your aim, whether that is to entertain, inform, or show your expertise.
  3. Add something – add your own commentary to content, organize it into collections, let people know whether you agree or disagree with the information. Don’t replicate – elaborate.

Content curation is starting to come into its own as a valid part of any content strategy. If you approach it with the same care you give to creating your own content, it can be a valuable supplement to it, enhancing your reputation and giving your online presence a boost.

5 Reasons Why You Need to be Active on Social Media

1. Low Expenses, High Reward

If your advertising budget is low, then the best way to reach new and prospective members is through social media. The cost of social media (outside of paid advertisements) is relatively inexpensive; the only costs being the time and money you must pay someone to manage it. A study by Hootsuite concluded that organizations are drastically altering their marketing efforts towards social media. They also found marketing departments are now hiring based on social media ability. Effective use of social media allows you to lower your marketing costs, while increasing traffic to your website and ultimately growing membership rates.

2. Climb to the Top of Keyword Searches with Each Post You Make

As you become more active on social media, your website will rank higher in searches. By posting valuable content on social media and linking it to your website, you can help improve your search engine optimization. Search engines now factor in more than just how many times a keyword is in your content. Often websites are selected by not only their keywords, but their presence and activity on social media as well. In a list of SEO tips for 2015, Hitsearch said, “It’s not just about making a lot of keyword relevant “stuff”; it’s about producing something that is useful to the [member].” A strong social media base will help your association show up in front of competitors during a keyword search, which will bring more leads and potentially more members your way.

3. Legitimize Your Association with Content You Stand Behind

Every post your association makes on social media is a chance to reinforce your brand identity. Making your content available on multiple social media platforms makes you a more familiar and recognizable association for members. Also, having these different channels where your content is posted makes it easier for new members to become familiar with your goals and outlook. Posting relative content that reinforces what your association stands for will make your organization appear strong and knowledgeable.

4. People are Talking About Your Association, Join in the Conversation

One of the main benefits of social media is that it allows you to join in as well as start conversations. If someone posts something positive about your association, you can easily thank them, and show them benefits and events they may be interested in. On the other hand if a member posts something negative about your organization, social media allows you to apologize quickly and then take the next step to make things right. The speed of this interaction means any bad word of mouth can be dealt with before it can severely damage your association’s reputation.

 

5. Find out what Interests Your Members to Better Engage Them

As easy as it is for you to interact with a member, it is just as easy for existing and potential members to get involved and interact with your association. Through likes, favorites, retweets, and shares, members can engage with your organization and promote your content for you. This is an ideal situation for your association because if others share your posts it will help to humanize your organization. Studies conducted by Social Media Today show 80% of members on social networks prefer to connect themselves to organizations through Facebook. Social media allows you to easily measure what content is getting positive feedback. This can be done by looking at the number of likes or shares a social media post has generated. This makes it easier for you to post content which stimulates conversation between members and your association.