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Use Your Content to Build Long-Lasting Member Relationships - 10/8/2014 -


Muller

Use Your Content to Build Long-Lasting Member Relationships

Inbound marketing is much more than simply using social media to post content. Here are five essential elements to help associations attract, retain, and activate members through an inbound marketing strategy.

By DJ Muller

Inbound is the new outbound when it comes to marketing. Put simply, inbound marketing is data-driven content marketing that is designed to add value through the delivery of great content and build relationships via interactive, two-way communication. Traditional forms of advertising that push a single message to the masses are no longer enough to attract and engage your entire audience. Your members have come to expect personalized content that is relevant to their specific interests.

Although this newer type of content marketing may seem a bit overwhelming, the truth is that itís a cost-effective way to bring new members to you. To deliver this, your association may need to consider shifting and leveraging its resources.

Here are five essential elements to help associations attract, retain, and activate members through an inbound marketing strategy.

  1. Know your audience on a deeper level. Contrary to popular belief, member-based organizations have a competitive advantage when it comes to inbound marketing, as they have access to key information needed to understand their audience. Take the time to use the resources that you have at your disposal. For example, if you are using membership software to organize and store member data, you can use employee, billing, industry, and committee information to create reports and segment your members for future messaging. You should also consider dividing your members into categories based on their duties and responsibilities. For each type, identify what problems they are trying to solve, as well as their challenges and goals. By understanding what is important, you will be able to create and disseminate relevant content that appeals to the specific interests of each group.

  2. Identify and take advantage of the great sources of content all around you. Too often organizations neglect to implement an inbound marketing strategy because they believe that they will not be able to produce and share content on a regular basis. However, if you know where to look, there are great sources of content all around you. For example, consider using the FAQs youíve compiled and turn them into content or create stories that show off a memberís success. If you ever get stuck in a rut, donít be afraid to simply ask your members what interests them via a survey.

  3. Strategically distribute your content. Inbound marketing is much more than simply using social media to post content. If you want to implement a successful inbound strategy, the distribution of your content should involve optimizing your content, using your blog and social media channels, creating landing pages, and establishing a channel calendar to plan the timing of your posts.

  4. Build lasting relationships. Inbound marketing is all about building relationships. Instead of outwardly selling yourself to potential members, this type of marketing lets you be a part of their journey and online experience. Use your content to showcase your organizationís personality, and always be honest and appreciative. This means taking the time to thank those that choose to engage with your content.

  5. Measure your success. Association professionals frequently resist creating an inbound marketing strategy because they donít know how to accurately measure its results. However, there are a variety of tools you can utilize to justify your resource and time investment. Applications like Google Analytics allow you to analyze a variety of metrics including page content, engagement, audience behavior, traffic sources, and social media traffic. Using these analytics, you will reveal critical insights such as which type of content drives the most leads for your website, where to add landing pages and calls to action, and whether the majority of your visitors are new or returning. Beyond Google Analytics, tools such as Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, and Twitter Analytics provide different measurements to track growth trends and audience engagement.

In todayís tech-driven environment, designing an inbound marketing strategy that builds lasting relationships with your members and potential members is crucial to your organizationís success. Take the time to know, segment, and personify your audience, develop valuable and relevant content, disseminate your content across multiple communication channels, and measure your results so you can see whatís working and whatís not. Your investment will be well worth your time.

DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International.


 

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