Association Marketing Plan – Mid Year Checkup

Categories: Association Marketing Strategy

checkIn my post 5 New Years Resolutions for Associations, I shared my marketing goals for the year, my plan for getting there, and how the same tactics can be applied to member-based organizations.

After learning about how 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail, I was determined to beat the odds. So, now that it’s halfway through the year –how are we doing?

  1. Content, content, content.

Just as we set out to do, producing engaging, informative content through content marketing has been our primary focus in the first half of this year. What is content marketing? The Content Marketing Institutedefines it as a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.

How have we been successful? Our team has been creating content on a regular basis and dedicating the necessary time and resources. Just as content is important to our business as a software company, content is a necessity for any association if you want to expand your brand and provide more value to your members. We’ve seen our prospecting efforts grow dramatially. And businesses all over the world are seeing their organizations transform through content marketing.

Here are a few statistics on content marketing according to an ebook published by Hubspot:

  • Content marketing spend grew 50% from 2011 to 2012.
  • Inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads.
  • Inbound leads are 8 times more likely to close than outbound leads.
  • 65% of businesses say they have acquired a new customer through LinkedIN.
  • 81% of organizations rate their blog as “useful,” important”, or “critical.”

Not sure what to write about or how to get started? Check out our blog post discussing 25 Blog Ideas for Associations.

  1. Plan, and stick to it.

Our success is due in large part to just having a plan. We developed a calendar that included items for our events, marketing campaign launches, and other initiatives. Everything that went on the plan was designed around one of our four primary priorities and goals. We used these four primary objectives to drive daily activates to add value for the organization. If a new idea or opportunity is presented that is outside of this scope, we evaluate if it will have a positive impact on one of our goals. If it would, then it usually gets added to the to-do list; if it doesn’t, then it is shelved for a later time. By minimizing the number of preset yearly priorities (try not to go above five) and basing time spent off of these goals, you will find it much easier to both achieve your desired goals.

My advice is that it’s better to see one dynamic plan followed through completely as opposed to twelve mini-ideas halfway executed. There is a very fine line between being flexible and lacking focus. It’s often easier said than done and sounds obvious, but make sure you concentrate on what will drive the greatest results.

  1. Delegate

Delegating has also been an area where we have found great success this year compared to last year. One technique we’ve used is outsourcing oursurplus work to allow for more concerted efforts on high-level activities. We have used affordable, contingency-based platforms like Elance and oDesk to assist in administrative tasks and external agencies for digital marketing activities.  By delegating executable tasks to external teams, your internal resources can focus on more strategic initiatives.

  1. Dig Deeper

This has been yet another success for our team. A primary objective at the start of the year was to increase our list of prospects – thus, we needed to have more information regarding our lead process and find opportunities for improvement. Over the first six months of 2013, we have developed a much better understanding of current and prospective client needs and expectations. We have also tested our communications and gathered knowledge on what generates the greatest number and most qualified leads. By taking the time and energy to really focus on this initiative, we now have much stronger insight into what activates and efforts are going to drive the best results. This makes us smarter marketers, saves time, and grows our business.

  1. Be Bold

The willingness to try and fail is hard for everyone to learn – especially when the goals are aggressive and the stakes are high. By making a conscious effort to take more risks and be bolder with our marketing strategy, we have found a few pleasant surprises. We’ve certainly taken some risks, through rearranging our priorities to focus on content marketing, trying new messaging, and targeting new audiences. Many of our risks have so far been rewarded,  which in turn gives us the confidence to try more new things. If you are struggling with this challenge, remember that the bigger risks usually generate the greatest rewards.

What are you doing differently this year than in years past? Where are you seeing success in your organization?

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