Are you struggling with creating a marketing strategy for a
communications campaign? Here are some ideas on where to focus your energies.
By Melanie Padgett Powers
"Sometimes good enough gets you stuck.”
That was the frustration voiced by one participant of the "Marketing
Strategy for a Communication Campaign” roundtable at Association Media &
Publishing’s Roundtable Roundup on October 3, 2013.
The attendee explained how she was struggling to get
executives to go beyond the status quo and try new marketing techniques to
promote the association’s publications. However, she wasn’t getting the buy-in
she needed. The other participants agreed that "sometimes you have to spend
money to make money,” but that sometimes associations are content with the way
things are. However, if you are content, one day you’ll wake up to find the
competition has passed you by — and taken your members with it.
The marketing roundtable was a free-flowing discussion about
where to focus your association marketing efforts, how to not get overwhelmed
by social media, and how to get buy-in from association executives. Kali Eskew,
of the YGS Group, moderated the discussion.
Suggestions to the "stuck” association staffer included:
Make your analytics count. Dive into your web and social
media views, likes, shares, etc., to make your case to higher-ups.
Do research. Look for case studies or statistics that show
how your idea could increase profits, membership numbers, or whatever your goal
Get back-up. Find a staffer outside your department who has
the enthusiasm and clout to help you make your case to the executives in charge
of the budget.
Some participants didn’t have marketing backgrounds or
experience but are now being asked to promote their publications through social
media, e-newsletters, and creative marketing endeavors. They discussed not
knowing where to focus their energies, especially with social media, which can
Participants suggested focusing on just a few social media
platforms and doing them well, instead of trying to tackle too many. Analytics,
such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, can be helpful in seeing which
topics and type of wording resonate with your audience.
One participant suggested doing follow-up surveys after a
particular marketing effort to see how members feel about the messaging and the
number of times and ways you are contacting them.
Know when to outsource. Is it really a worthwhile use of
staff time to stuff envelopes? As one attendee said, "If you’re stuffing 3,000
envelopes, how many mailings a year are you going to actually want to do?”
Don’t just update last year’s message. Be creative and try
Communicate more with other departments. Often, staffers
have no idea what other emails are scheduled or the types of e-newsletters
Don’t email members one large graphic. That is not an
e-newsletter. The graphic may not load properly or quickly, it may be difficult
to view on smartphones and it allows for only one link.
Conduct mini internal social media training sessions. You need staff in other departments who can tweet on-site at outside meetings, events, and
Make it easier for members to participate. Before a special week or day relevant to your association,
such as National ‘Health Topic’ Awareness Week, email your members sample
Facebook posts and tweets they can use that link back to your website.
Melanie Padgett Powers, a.k.a MelEdits, is a freelance
writer, editor and social media strategist.