Part Two: Three Membership Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

This is the second of three recommended membership marketing resolutions that I wanted to share at the start of the New Year.  In this resolution, I want to encourage you to experiment with digital advertising as a means to spread your message much more broadly and allow prospects to initiate a relationship with your organization.
Digital advertising -- from Search Engine Marketing (SEM), to social media advertising, to banner ads and many other options -- continues to grow at a very rapid pace.  In the US it is estimated that digital advertising, “will account for 21.8% of all ad spend ($109.7 billion), up from 19% the year before.”
However, very few membership organizations are tapping into this channel.  The most recent Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlighted that only 14% of associations use search engine ads and only 12% use paid banner ads on other websites to create and build awareness of their association.   There is a great deal of usage of association sponsored social media sites, but in a sense this digital presence is preaching to the choir instead of targeting brand new prospects. 

Digital advertising offers some terrific benefits to marketers.
·        Flexibility – With SEM and social media ads, you can adjust and allocate funds on a daily basis.  It is not like a print advertisement where once an ad runs there is not opportunity for adjustments.
·        Coverage – Digital advertising gives you access to every corner of the world where there is an internet connection.  Reaching this broadly with traditional media like direct mail can be prohibitively expensive.
·        Targeting – Digital advertising allows for pinpoint targeting by a person’s interests, job, geographic location, and behavior.  You are able to place the right opportunity in front of the right person. 
·        Measurement -- Response to digital advertising can be measured down to the penny.  You can know impressions, clicks, and with some effort the ultimate amount of purchases. 
·        Speed – You can literally have a digital advertising program up and running and producing response in a day.  However, you will want to take the time to put in place a relationship building response path to get the maximum value out of your media spend. 
There are many options to explore with digital ads, but here are some real life options that are working for membership organizations right now.

Social Media Advertising
Ads in LinkedIn or Facebook can be targeted by interests, likes, groups, skills, professions, and more.  Ads can be a direct membership offer that takes a prospect directly to a membership join site. Facebook allows for tracking directly from the click on the ad to your website’s “Thank You” page to verify the purchase.   Or you can offer free content to encourage a prospect to start a relationship with your organization like the sample below. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Both search and content ads can place your membership in front of prospects who are searching for answers.   An ideal offering for these ads is some free content produced by your organization in exchange for their contact information and an opt-in to continue communications.  This sample offers a free whitepaper on an important solution specifically provided to members of this association.

Google Remarketing
Many organizations have done their due diligence on Search Engine Optimization, but once a visitor leaves their site, they have no means to continue the interaction.  Google Remarketing can be used to continue to present a specific product or offer to the visitor on other pages once they have left your website. Here is an ad that appeared in the Washington Post following a visit to my company’s website. 

Another benefit of digital advertising is that you can start small and gradually build your program.  So it is something that you can experiment with over the course of this year. 
In my next post, I will look at one more resolutions that you may want to consider in this year.  And if you find posts of help, you may want to participate in a webinar on these resolutions that I will be doing for the ASAE Membership Section Council on Wednesday, January 29th.  Registration for the webinar is free, but a site registration with ASAE is required.  You can sign up for the webinar using this link.

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