Associations are a diverse, vibrant sector and substantial contributors to the nation’s economy. They promote and protect vital industries and worthwhile political causes that ultimately impact nearly everyone in America. In today’s highly competitive digital environment, however, associations need marketing support to aid in acquisition and retention of members and in continual engagement with donors and sponsors.
Today's most effective marketing is focused far less on the desires of the marketer (e.g., to accost prospects with intrusive advertising and promotional messaging) and far more on meeting the needs of target audiences ON THEIR TERMS. That means providing useful content when, where and how the prospects want to consume it, which, for the most part, is online.
Why is Inbound Marketing Especially Effective for Associations?
Associations and inbound marketing are naturally compatible as they share a common goal: educating and providing people (members, donors, attendees, advocates or sponsors) with value. Association marketers are particularly well equipped to supply an ongoing stream of valuable content which is the fuel that drives the inbound marketing machine.
But inbound marketing is not just about content creation; it combines SEO, social media marketing, backlinks and other tactics to drive higher volumes of traffic to websites. A recent ROI report published by Hubspot, the world's largest inbound market software company, in collaboration with MIT, states that 93% of the organizations deploying inbound marketing methodologies have witnessed at least 75% increase in web traffic within seven months of going inbound.
Once on the website, visitor contact information is captured through downloadable premium content (such as eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.) that requires certain data to be submitted. This triggers atuomated email campaigns that nurture former strangers into becoming members, donors, attendees, avocates and/or sponsors.
Throughout inbound marketing campaigns, metrics are tracked and data is analyzed to evaluate the success of each effort and the campaign as a whole. In addition to the ultimate bottomline goals of the association, these tactics and responses are closely monitored:
- Growth in website traffic
- Sources of traffic (organic, referral, direct, email or social media)
- Growth in social media followers
- Engagement on specific posts
- SEO rankings
- Email open and click rates
- Conversion rates for content offerings
Maybe most unique and beneficial about inbound marketing is that, the useful content you post online will increase in value each time it is read and will keep converting strangers into members and loyal evangelists with no extra effort or cost.
To stand out in the sea of free educational content floating around the web, your association needs a data-driven marketing strategy with compelling content at it’s core to entice audiences and convert them into members.
Learn more about inbound marketing for your association
Watch out for our next blog in the series, Using Inbound Marketing for Member Recruitment.