At the end of 2019, Section staff members, Bailey Pattison, Communications Specialist, and Mike Sosa, Data Coordinator, attended the first annual Membership, Marketing, & Communications Conference (MMC), hosted by the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE).
This day-and-a-half event was dedicated to those who work or are involved in the membership, marketing or communication areas of associations. We learned from sessions led by thought-leaders and practitioners in this space and also had the chance to talk with companies who are leading the charge when it comes to helping associations build their membership and marketing/communications strategies. Though the conference targeted association staff, some of what we learned can be applied by our own members working to grow their local branches.
Here are some key takeaways we think you’ll find useful in your membership, marketing, and communication efforts at the Branch level:
- Use content you already have. Many branches already have a variety content, and they may not even know it! Identify where you’re putting out content and think of ways to repurpose it. This strategy will maximize your reach while also saving you time. Here of some examples of ways you might reuse/repurpose existing content:
- Share social media updates across all other social media platforms your Branch uses.
- Repurpose social media content in blogs and newsletters. If you’re struggling to put into words all that your Branch has been doing when you are writing your monthly Branch newsletter, it’s perfectly okay to scour Branch social media accounts for newsletter updates.
- Branch newsletters are a gold mine of potential social media content. For example, take a newsletter update from your Branch president and repurpose it as a social media series. Repurpose snippets from other sections of your newsletter on social media as well. If you spend time putting together a newsletter, why not make sure it’s seen across multiple outlets? Bonus: you won’t have to double your effort as often to come up with social media content.
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose Section content for your Branch communications as well! Share links to Texas Civil Engineer articles on social media, or reuse articles in your Branch newsletters. Take Section social media content, and share it on your Branch’s social media channels as well.
- You have data. Use it to your benefit! Start with your Branch’s membership list and then add all the contacts you have acquired through the events your Branch hosts. Once you have a comprehensive list, the next step is to segment your data into targeted groups so your communications can make a greater impact. For example:
- Create segments based on location and/or areas of interest for event notifications
- Create segments based on current benefits and offerings for membership renewals
- Create segments based on company size and/or total number of members in a company for sponsorship and fundraising campaigns
- Member feedback is essential. You should be constantly soliciting feedback on members’ interests, meetings/events, continuing education topics/speakers, communication methods, and much more. Here are a few tips to help transform your surveys…
- Every survey needs a purpose (the “why?”) and an actionable result (use the data you get to improve!)
- Get them in person! Provide a way for your members to give feedback at your regular meetings and events. This could be via a dedicated computer with a google form open at the registration desk, a printed out survey for each person, or a general open feedback period at the end of each meeting.
- Spot Surveys are a great alternative to the general membership feedback survey (which you should still send out 1-2 times a year). Rather than send out a long survey that asks for feedback on every aspect of membership, you can use spot surveys to target specific areas that you are interested in improving. For example, you could include a brief 2-3 question survey in your meeting follow-up email that asks the attendee to provide feedback on that specific event format and topic.