Are you are a small association with limited budget? Are you a large association where trade-offs are necessary to fund mission-critical projects? Are you in-between? No matter which describes you, you can always use ideas on how to market on a budget; here is a top 10 list of ways to improve member connections and save money at the same time. If only one of these ideas catches your attention, it will help you focus on the member and get you out of your daily grind. Here goes:
10. Listen twice as much as you speak. Tap into unconventional sources. The greatest way to get ideas is an ad-hoc group of volunteers. And great innovation comes from your new members. Even better, get out more! Even a small association can pay for a little market research one time a year. Caveat: when you come back, be sure to turn it into something valuable whether that means an action, an article, or a debrief to your members.
9. Refocus on fewer, better offerings. The hardest thing for a staff is what to do away with. What is your sacred cow program, one that you do every year that loses money, or you see declining attendance or readership? Give it up for connecting your members’ needs with a new tool.
8. Start using social marketing regularly. Give thought to your posts, and be regular with them. Know who participates in social media and market to them.
7. Give more face time! No matter how wired we get, there will always be the need for building face to fact trust. What I mean is make a point to be present at members’ event or meeting. Make a live phone call to new members to introduce yourself and show that you are available.
6. Change the time you send emails. Most email research says Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 3pm is the best time; recently, I read “What Americans Really Want…Really”. Dr. Frank Luntz found that the best time to send emails is 6:30am. He found most people go online within minutes of waking up to check their email. (Sound familiar?)
5. Conduct a strategic communications audit. Print them all out. Step into the conference room Close the door. Lay out your communications side-by-side on your conference room table. Is the member seeing branded documents? Are the benefits and call to action clear? Does the member have to scroll on their monitor to get to the good stuff in your newsletter? Chances are they aren’t reading down there. Invest some time in an unbiased review to identify a few things you’ll change to improve your connections.
4. What’s the current state of your homepage? Just look at it. Have a group of new members look at it and give you feedback. Better yet, Google WeWe calculator and run a test to see if you are focused on your member, or promoting yourself.
3. Ask board members to deliver your key messages to five other members. Key messages are based on the promises you make to your members as an association. They carry through the year and through all of your communications.
2. Ask each board member and committee chair to personally develop a list of 10 easy tasks and then solicit 10 uninvolved members to each do one task. Get more members involved!
1. Tap into your staff. Facilitate a 15-minute meeting where you and staff brainstorm -0- dollar tactics that will really pay off.
Don’t repeat for the sake of repetition. Make some positive change in 2011.