Wednesday, 22 April 2015

3 Communications Best Practices from 3 Online Resources

Sometimes, the best way to communicate is to keep it simple.  Here are three tips/best practices from three online resources:

From Association Advisor: Recommendation #1: Don’t Fall Victim to Shiny Object Syndrome
A new approach may be just what your association needs to help reach your communications goals, but don’t fall victim to “shiny object syndrome.” Before you make a decision to invest in new communications tools, ask your members, vendors and advertisers which of your association content channels they find most valuable and which communications platforms they are most receptive to. Your research may also help you uncover new communication platforms that members are gravitating towards or reveal to you that you already have access to tools that can amplify your communications when integrated into an ongoing plan. Marcus Underwood, Chief Innovation Officer for Naylor, says that the ROI of any new technology is important to consider prior to making a purchase but to keep in mind that the value of the investment may not always be quantifiable in financial terms. Underwood explains that certain technology investments and upgrades are just standard operating expenses for running a business and warns that there are also risks associated with not keeping up with technology.

From the Canadian Association of Labour Media: Don’t make it all about you. The best way to get someone’s attention quickly is to talk about them.

If you want your message to cut through, you need to talk about your issues in a way that will make people listen – make them feel something – make them see that what we are talking about relates to them and their families.

You are stronger when you talk about ordinary people and the values we care about like security, family, fairness and respect. Use too many technical, legal terms, and acronyms, and your audience will get lost or bored. Grab your audience’s attention by speaking directly to them about the things they care about – and make sure they know you care, too.

Connect with your members and the public on shared values, beliefs and experiences. Talk family, dignity, respect, opportunity and fairness. People will be more inclined to listen to your message if it’s about the broader public interest and not just your self-interest.

From Silverbear (and, yes it was around the holiday season!)  Explain why you’ve been good

This is a key part of a letter to Santa. As we’re all aware, Santa already knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, but it can’t hurt to mention again the good deeds you’ve done this year.

In the same way, it’s important to reinforce the value your members have received over the course of their membership. It’s easy for them to forget events they’ve attended, training they’ve undergone, CPD points they’ve logged and other areas of value they have had over the year. So make sure you emphasise these to help jog their memory.

You should be able to quickly pull together a member value statement from your membership software solution to help you with this.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Some of the Marketing Tips that Caught Our Eye

There are a ton of resources out there to help you enhance your marketing efforts.  Here is a few samples of the tips and best practices we have seen that you should be aware of:

Via MemberClicks Inc.: Take a Risk  You hear it all the time in human relationships, people lamenting how the object of their eye only likes people who are bad for them. Most people are drawn to risk takers. They like rebels. They want to follow someone who’s speeding down the road. They want excitement. Boring rarely receives a cult following.

If you want more loyal followers, if you want people to join, you must do something different than what you’ve been doing. Let more of your personality show. Let your members’ personalities shine through. Host a membership drive that expresses your members’ stories, not just a spotlight that gives their name and employer. Remember the tattooed librarian calendar from the Rhode Island Library Association?

Via Association TRENDS: Subject line length  Subject lines with fewer characters continue to outperform longer subject lines. With more and more subscribers checking email on mobile devices, a short, engaging subject line is more important now than ever. Be direct and let recipients know exactly what they’re about to see once they open. Keep in mind, while subject lines with less than 10 characters averaged 49.73 percent open rates, that doesn’t mean that a longer subject line won’t do the trick. We’ve found that above all, relevance and clarity trumps persuasion and creativity. The best way to know what your audience responds best to? Test it!

Via Digitec Interactive: Not ROI, ROE  No matter what social media platform you choose, the important thing to remember is that social media is about engagement. You don’t need to advertise on these platforms to reap the rewards of going social, you just need a page or profile. The ability to have conversations with your friends and followers, as well as to curate content that lets prospective members get a glimpse of the association’s mission, goals, and character is what social media is really all about. Social media is an engagement tool, and success is measured not by Return on Investment (ROI), but by Return on Engagement (ROE). What’s not to “like” about that?

Via Association Marketer: Embrace “membership season.” By focusing your membership drives on a particular time period, you can offer time-limited discounts and offers to encourage your prospects to join now instead of waiting till later.

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

What Else Can You Be Doing To Retain Your Members?

Defining your value with your members is a high priority on every association’s list. Here are a few ways that you can increase your value:

Start by Truly Engaging Your Members

Cited as a common problem in most associations, we struggle to get our share of our member’s time, and the time we do get we are torn with promoting products and services, and truly finding ways to have meaningful conversations.  What are you doing to ensure that they feel significant?  One way is to seek their help to solve a problem they have raised.  Did they not like the last conference?  Ask them to volunteer their time.  Disagreeing with a certain association policy?  Ask them to nominate themselves (or, be nominated) to sit on the Board of Directors.  Asking for their help with show that you have heard their issue, and are seeking their assistance to solve the problem.

Don’t forget Lapsed Members

Sometimes, members just won’t renew.  Possibly because they were not satisfied, but other reasons could include retirement, maternity/paternity leave, or they simply just forgot.
It is crucial that you find out why.  If they have no intention of returning, organizations should have a set series of questions and conduct an exit interview, so that as a whole, you can learn from these experiences, and create change.  Asking them if there was anything you could do to have changed their mind, etc.  At times, you may be able to bring some back – other times, you won’t.  But don’t just let them walk off into the sunset without finding out WHY.

Don’t Be Slow to Make Changes

We often find that while the world is changing rapidly, associations are slow to adopt.  There are certain theories about this – fear, board involvement, and lack of expertise come to mind.  But there are ways to overcome those.  Moving towards making faster decisions should be part of your strategy.  Whether this means finding the right team to help you along the way, or moving from a working Board of Directors to a Strategic one, put policies in place to ensure that your association keeps up with the times.

What else could you be doing to create, maintain, and show value?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A Few Thoughts on Maximizing ROI For Your Sponsors...

If you have an event coming up and are looking for some ways to help maximize the investment your sponsors have made with you, here are a few tips that you may be interested in:

  1. Give your delegates something to talk about.  Sponsors have selected your conference/event to sponsor, because your members and other meeting participants are targets that they believe will help drive sales.  Help your sponsors out – give your delegates some information in forms of social media, blogs and other content that will keep your sponsors top of mind.  Remember to include the fact that they are sponsoring your event, and will be there if they have questions, etc.
  2. When onsite, make sure you are introducing your sponsors to as many people as you can.  When chatting with your delegates, many times you will come across problems, challenges, and areas that your sponsors can help solve.  Instead of just suggesting that they find the sponsor and have the conversation on their own – facilitate the introduction.  It will not only lessen the time it takes for a delegate to actively seek  out the contact, but will give your sponsor additional ROI.  
  3. If part of your sponsorship includes a booth or table top, encourage sponsors to avoid being “just another exhibitor” that delegates will want to avoid.  Time is money, and you want to ensure that you have done everything you can to maximize their investment with you.  Perhaps come up with tips and best practices for your own event, focusing in what your unique delegates want to see/hear and how they want to be approached. 
  4. If you can, have a meeting with your sponsors and exhibitors either the night before or first thing in the morning before your event.  Give them an opportunity to see that you appreciate them, and that their involvement is recognized.  Giving them time to ask questions, or perhaps learn about how and when they can do more to maximize their investment will show your sponsors that you have thought it through, and just haven’t taken their money without providing them with some sort of return. 
What things have you incorporated lately that has raised the ROI for your sponsors?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at