Part 1 – Marketing You Cannot Ignore
Marketing is an essential component for your local chapter as it is for any business. Sharing information, however it is done, is what brings current or prospective members to your events, whether a standard meeting, an educational conference, or a networking event.
There is a fundamental message about your chapter’s mission and values that can be shared through word-of-mouth quickly and effectively. Every board member should know it and how to implement it for successful marketing to get people in attendance or to read the content you have spent time preparing. Most importantly, members are potential sales people and should be inspired to share the message of your local chapter on their own with colleagues that prospective members.
As we approach the end of the year and reflect on achieving chapter goals and mission, we have prepared a 2-part article series that offers tactics on successfully marketing the chapter and its events.
- Encourage and build relationships. Your membership is based on the connections that people have created with each other (and with others outside your local chapter). This isn’t just about the word-of-mouth marketing noted above, but also about building trust for your chapter’s messaging.
- Content as an idea. While members should drive your chapter, the content you provide is just as important. And content acts as a driving marketing force on its own, searchable through keywords and sharable by members.
- Images are marketing staples. Visuals grab people’s attention. Use photos/images to your advantage, especially those from events. Show potential members what happens at an event and remind current members how it was to be a part of the experience was. It will keep them coming back for more.
- Social media is necessary for sharing. The value of social media should not be minimized in this modern and technologically savvy world. Use social media to announce meetings and share content, such as blogs and newsletters. Encourage members to post on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, and share an image on Instagram. Find whatever outlet best serves your chapter’s messaging and institute a plan of action.
- Connect with the community. Your local chapter serves a purpose in your community. By connecting with the community members, especially businesses through sponsorship, you add another layer to your marketing avenues. Special events that give back to the community also serve as a great way to establish a positive reputation and encourage organically grown marketing.
- Create a marketing plan but be open to organic sharing. Design a strategy to get the word out, whether through formal advertisements, brochures, or sharing campaigns. But create your plan in such a way that it naturally encourages both members and non-members to share your content. Be open and flexible to changes as time goes by, too.
- Promote the members, not the chapter. No matter what outlet from which you choose to share information, remember that the messaging should center around your current or prospective members. They are the key to success as a chapter and should be at the forefront of all marketing activities.
Whether you are looking to market internally or expand externally beyond current membership, sharing your messaging as well your well-planned events serves the members and the chapter.
Check back in December for Part 2 – Marketing to Close out the Year.
Looking for quick tips on how to use the StarChapter software to better serve your members and save time? Check out our new Knowledgebase, loaded with video tutorials, user guides, and articles especially for board volunteers! All videos are now in a format that does not require an external media player.