The Big Shift happened in 2016. Kansas Association of REALTORS® made the transformational shift from the “everyone” mentality to planning and communicating to a particular type of member. If you are like KAR you could be thinking, “We want to serve everyone, but we only have so much band-width. How do we reach the people most important to our success and still serve all of our members?”
The Goal: To engage with our Brokers, and to overcome the reputation that “REALTORS® don’t read.”
The Communications Hypothesis: By focusing on a sub-set of members, the association will write, say, and do things that specially speak to that group and move away from generic “everyone” messages. Bringing attention to a few important member groups will help KAR focus on planning activities, and relaying information that they know interests that specific group. The result will be stronger connections with certain member segments, and even more value to all members.
Two Member Groups Important to KAR’s Future
Choosing member segments isn’t a random decision. First follow a methodology to choose your target groups. Then, get to know them by fact and build a communications strategy.
KAR chose Broker Owners (with <20 agents) and new members (with <3 years in business). For this article, we’ll refer to them as brokers.
a. The group is alike in a way that’s measurable
b. The segment is important to the KAR’s future
c. If the association could reach them, KAR can influence this group’s thinking, alter their perception, and give them a reason to be more engaged.
Don’t stop brainstorming at brokers or new members. Targets don’t have to follow traditional demographics. Groups like “Members who are committed to success” or “Members who want to be tech-savvy but aren’t yet” are valid segments, even if they are harder to identify individually.
Gain Agreement and Plan to be Hyper-Relevant to Them
The Executive Committee agreed with the planning philosophy around their target audience. Brokers influence a lot of Agents in the association, so if the plan works, a focus on brokers means better engagement with all members.
KAR initially considered a broker-only newsletter, but decided this wasn’t the right tactic for them. Instead, KAR chose to develop a second eNews focused on a pain point for brokers: Technology. Education is a secondary topic because brokers need to easily share class information with their Agents.
Beyond the eNews, there are several ways KAR built a plan for better broker connections:
1. Publicize how KAR’s value proposition applies to brokers so all staff and leadership understand.
2. Launched an Annual Broker Summit.
3. Measure Broker feedback every October through formal research.
4. Established broker engagement as one of the 3 Association strategic goals.
5. Developed a formal outreach program to deepen the relationship and clarify expectations – one broker at a time. A simple leave-behind clearly states what brokers should expect (KAR’s value proposition to brokers).
6. Incorporated broker information into KAR’s eNews process: one article every month is specific content that is relevant to brokers.
7. Manage broker content based on actual member behavior; Verify the content is relevant using data to track headlines and click-through rates.
8. Survey again the next annual cycle to see any change in broker perception.
Focus on a Few to Gain the Attention of Many
KAR is reaching more members by honing in on a few. You might have to sift through data, have multiple conversations, and even experiment to determine the best tactics to reach your most important member groups.
Does segmentation leave anyone out? Maybe. But if you are more specific with how you convey your value, you are more likely to reach more members than those in your target audience.
If you see that “getting members to pay attention” is a strategic issue, then attack it head on. Put some steam behind your strategy and energy into a plan to fix it.
If you are reading this article, it’s because nSight Marketing uses the same approach. You are our most important segment of association leaders. We focus our thinking around what we hear and see is important to you. We manage our relationship with you based on what you need, and not what we think you need. We hope by sharing association’s stories, you’ll get a few ideas to apply to your own communications strategy.