Referrals - And he told two friends, and she told two friends, and so on, and so on…..

Posted by Maureen O'Neill

Jul 29, 2014 1:37:00 PM

The business of referrals is a time proven one. As an association professional, you already know that who you know impacts the health of your organization.  Stating the obvious here, “associations” are about getting like-minded people together to serve a common set of goals.  So how do you expand your sphere of influence to grow your membership beyond its current levels?

Here are 9  tips to building and maintaining a healthy referral program to drive growth:

  1. Know where you want to go. Use business intelligence reporting from your membership management system to track the new member acquisition rate, as well as your retention rates to determine what membership growth goals you want to put in place, and be sure to include a timeline.
  2. Create a program for your referral business.  Formalize the processes, marketing programs, program ownership, and metrics you will use to measure success.
  3. Not every member is a referral source.  Find the top 10%-20% of  your members that are engaged and thrilled with the membership experience. 
  4. Offer rewards to members that regularly refer new members. (Event tickets, discounts, free advertising spot on your website, etc.)
  5. Be specific!  Let the referees know what kind of members you are looking for…trade members, associate members, members by a certain geography or demographic, etc.
  6. Track who is referring most often, and give recognition publicly if appropriate, ie Association XYZ Ambassador of the Quarter.
  7. Create “bring a friend” event opportunities, as well as thought leadership your members can share on their social networks.
  8. Say Thank you.  Each time you receive a referral, thank the member who sent it your way. Figure out how your appreciation will be expressed- a note, a lunch with your Executive Director?  Continue to cultivate this source. If he or she has referred one member, he will likely refer another if acknowledged for the effort.
  9. What comes around goes around.  Referral Karma can be a wonderful thing.  Reciprocate by referring business to those whom are referring business to you.
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Topics: Association Marketing

2014 WebLink Summit Agenda Released!

Posted by Alex Davis

Jul 25, 2014 6:25:00 PM

Come one, come all. The Summit is in reach!

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July WebLink Employee Spotlight - Benji Craig

Posted by Alex Davis

Jul 22, 2014 2:49:00 PM

Last month at WebLink, we started a new tradition - the WebLink Employee Spotlight. As a part of this tradition, each month we will feature one employee that works diligently to serve you and your team every day. Designed specifically to give you the opportunity to get to know the faces that work behind the scenes, we hope you enjoying getting to know us on a more personal level! Without further ado, here is this month's Employee Spotlight!

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Topics: Association Marketing & Research

4 Keys to Brand Management in the Digital Age

Posted by Alex Davis

Jul 18, 2014 10:56:00 AM

It is your task as an association to not only connect with your members, but to also serve as a stage from which your members can connect with one another. As you have become accustomed to operating in what we refer to as the "age of information," the necessity of incorporating a digital strategy into your existing marketing efforts is undoubtedly obvious.  From successfully connecting with multi-generational audiences with differing communication preferences to disseminating inbound content across multiple channels to expand your reach, the implementation of a digital strategy is key to your success. 

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Topics: Association Marketing Strategy

Defeating Data Conversion

Posted by Aaron Beymer

Jul 17, 2014 1:14:00 PM

Data conversion is paramount to the success of effectively implementing a new member management system.  If the process used to convert data from your legacy source system is not well-defined, it can negatively impact the integrity of the new system forever.  And what good is a new system if it contains inconsistencies from the very beginning? 

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Topics: Data Conversion

New eBook: De-mystifying Inbound Marketing

Posted by Alex Davis

Jul 15, 2014 10:51:00 AM

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Topics: Association Content Marketing

The Answer to Increasing Productivity in Any Type of Organization

Posted by Terry Dwyer

Jul 11, 2014 1:47:42 PM

As I have discussed before, mastering the balance of our people, time and money is crucial to improving efficiency and achieving organizational growth.  However, there are a number of other strategies that you can begin to implement to increase the producitivity of your staff department wide. 
  1. Create and foster a high-performance culture that drives results.  This starts with accountability at the individual level, reinforced with recognition processes that emphasize excellent results.  It also includes holding individuals responsible for delivering on commitments.  This builds trust throughout the organization as people learn they are accountable to others, and others are in turn accountable to them.
  2. Engage at the “ground level” to find out what people are actually doing, and why they are doing it.  I do this so I can find out about the “stupid things I have asked people to do.”  Invariably I find that something I requested is being done, but it isn’t what I really wanted.  In other words, I asked for the wrong thing, and I will likely get what I asked for.  By engaging at the ground level, I can more quickly redirect the nature of my request to generate the desired outcome.
  3. Try to always state “Intent.”  If everyone knows your intent, they will soon understand that your goal (intent) is to “head North” and they can begin to make all of the individual decisions and employ the many individual activities that must be accomplished in order to “head North.”  This leaves most of the decision making to employees who are on the ground.  They are the most informed and best equipped to make the right decisions.  As long as you have been clear on intent (“head North”) they will get you there without you having to be involved in each decision.
  4. Reward people who ask for help.  We all work with very smart and accomplished people.  A downside of this is that they can think “I’m smart and I’ll figure out how to do this.”  While this is laudable, it can interfere with getting to the best answer, and it can slow things down.  High performance cultures insist that team players ask for help when the challenge can more quickly be tackled by the thinking that comes from several individuals ideating and debating several options, then selecting the best.  It also moves things along faster if done well.  Too many times we see the team held up because of one individual who thinks “This is my challenge and I have to figure it out on my own.”  Don’t reward that behavior.  Encourage asking for help.

Running an organization is no easy task, but, if you carefully maximize the utilization of your available resources and employ one or two of the suggestions above, you will see palpable results.

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Topics: Association Leadership

How to Bring Your Metrics to Life

Posted by Terry Dwyer

Jul 8, 2014 12:07:00 PM

Metrics matter to every organization, and they provide a roadmap for all employees (or volunteers) to understand what is important, how the organization is doing against its collective goals, and how individuals are doing against theirs.  Bringing metrics “to life” makes managing to them easier, more fun, and more effective.  There are a number of ways to bring them “to life,” and it is dependent upon organizational leadership to make them do so in a way that best fits your organization and its culture.

As a software company, we drive our product development efforts using the agile scrum methodology, with two week sprints as our interval.  The development team meets each morning for 15 minutes (maximum) to discuss what got done the day before, what “blockers” (obstacles) each developer has standing in their way, and what they are going to work on today.  At the end of the two week sprint, the team reviews what got done, and then plans the next sprint.  We have applied this same two week interval to the whole company and use it as an opportunity to bring the whole team together every other Friday afternoon (Thursdays in the summer since we have summer hours) to review what was accomplished the prior two weeks.  Attendance is voluntary, but we have excellent participation for two reasons.  First, the meeting stays pretty short and each speaker gets to the point quickly in order to keep it moving and lively.  The second reason participation is high is because we serve beer to attendees.  Surprisingly, this works.

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Topics: Association Management

Need help with Inbound Marketing? Answer the phone

Posted by Benji Craig

Jul 1, 2014 11:00:00 AM

The Internet has turned marketing on its head and it has gone through a massive revolution. Outbound marketing – magazines, TV, billboards, etc. – has taken a backseat to new and better methods of educating consumers about new products and services.  The new ways of interacting with the possible consumer are faster and more interactive than the old ways.  Additionally, the consumer has taken the reigns of how they want to learn about products and services with tools like social media (talking to others about your products, services and brand) and with mobile devices (connecting your brand and content whenever they want).

Answering the phone to do Inbound Marketing

Even with all of the access the internet provides to people, your phone is still ringing, right? Every day you're answering questions to members about the location of your next event or providing the general public referrals to your member service providers.

Your job as an association is to be the beacon for your industry and to provide the answers to your membership and consumers so that you can leverage the daily experiences from your front lines to develop your strategy for content development, which is the cornerstone for inbound marketing.

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Topics: User Experience

What You Didn't Know About YouTube

Posted by Alex Davis

Jun 25, 2014 11:52:00 AM

The integration of social media and a digital strategy into your existing marketing seems to be all the hype these days. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to Instagram, you have to meet your members where they want to meet you if you wish to increase member retention, augment new member sales and keep your audience engaged. 

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Topics: Association Marketing & Research

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