Discover how to build your association’s brand so your members and potential members will recognize and understand your value proposition.
Your brand is what sets your product or organization apart. Keeping your association’s brand fresh, easy to understand and accessible is an important part of marketing. You need to be able to measure your marketing success with membership leads, site traffic, engagement, career center growth and revenue generation. It’s important to create goals and ideas that can be measured with percentages, revenue or leads.
Let’s explore some ways to help you stay on track when it comes to understanding your association’s market, setting a marketing plan, growing brand awareness and ways to measure your success.
Understand your membership persona
Have you asked yourself who your members are lately? What are their stories, careers, interests? It is important to understand the demographic of your members and what membership benefits they want. Surveying members yearly is a great way to get the answers to these questions. Having this information will help you understand your members’ needs and formulate a membership marketing plan encompassing program creation, events, and activities for your association.
This question was asked in the 2022 Association Trends Study by Community Brands . The study has some great insights from association professionals and members to explore. Career resources and networking opportunities continue to float to the top on most of our findings. Members are also reaching out for certifications, training and other offers that are going to help them stay ahead of the curve in their industries. Check out 10 top reasons members join from the study below.
Make a plan
It cannot be overstated how important a marketing plan is for every association. Whether your organization is small or large – marketing plans are for everyone. Not only do they need to be completed at the start of every year, but they need to be updated and reviewed quarterly. Keep your marketing plan simple and easy to read. You can organize your yearly marketing plan in four quarters and focus on one quarter at a time when creating it. Make a list of all the goals your organization wants to achieve for the year and then figure out how to allocate the plan throughout the quarters. It’s important to always leave an open section in the marketing plan so you can document what you achieved on the goal and what steps still need to be done to finalize the idea.
Put the plan into action
Now that you understand the goals your association wants to reach, it’s time to put the plan into action. Think about how your messaging will reach your current and potential members. Using your association’s career center as an example is a great opportunity. After reviewing the 2022 Association Trends study, we learned that career resources are a big draw for members. Branding your career center, marketing the opportunities on it, and helping your members see the resources available to them can help draw new members and job seekers to your association. Telling a story to your members is a great way to help market your membership benefits and build brand recognition. Member testimonials are such great story telling tools. You can have a member share a video about how the association has helped them in their career. Another great opportunity is to find a member that has recently excelled in their career by resources they received in your career center. This can also help provide opportunities for potential members to join your association. Your career center is an excellent way to drive visitors to your association website as many may be searching for jobs in your industry.
Have a well-designed website and logo
Make sure your users can understand, navigate, and contribute on your association’s website. This is important so members don’t get frustrated and give up trying to register for one of your programs. Make sure your logo is recognizable to your members. The best way to ensure brand recognition is utilizing your logo at events, on marketing materials, magazines, social media, and email messages. Your organization should have branding guidelines confirming the correct logo colors, fonts, sizing and how the logo can be utilized for partners and organizations. Technology is changing every day in our world and it is vital that your association stays on top of these changes. In the 2022 Association Trends Study, you can see first-hand what members think of the importance of technology as it relates to the member experience – from 2017 to 2022.
In closing, brand recognition and marketing plans are so important to help reach your association’s strategic plans. Continue to analyze your marketing efforts and adjust the plan as needed. If your members are joining for career advancement, make sure to market your career center to provide professional growth and resources for them.