You and your members are subjected to a staggering amount of marketing messages every day. In fact, estimates for the number of images and marketing content we see each day range from 500 messages more than 5,000! That is a ridiculous amount of information for your association or chamber of commerce to compete against.
How can you make sure your organization can cut through the clutter to deliver value to your members? Below are some tactics you can use to help your message stand out so your organization can better connect with your members.
If you need your members to help you with something, spell it out for them. Don't be subtle. For example, tell them, "We need you to call your state representative and tell them to vote NO on House Bill 32." Tell them specifically what you need them to do and make it as easy as possible for them to act.
Instead of saying how great this particular event is because it's the 18th annual banquet and it's fun for all, tell them how the event raises money for local charities and will provide an announcement of several key business initiatives. Be sure to explain the business and community benefits that your event provides.
Wherever possible, bring an issue down to their level. Instead of saying that stopping House Bill bill will save businesses $4.5 million, show that it will affect Bill Jones, owner of XYZ Auto Repair (with 7 employees) by saving his business $2,500 this year.
Include specific examples of members who gained new business by attending one of your events. “Jane Smith of Jane’s Cakes & Catering exhibited at Business Expo last year and make 23 new contacts and got 3 new weddings booked.” The more similarities your members can see between their own business and the businesses mentioned in your messaging, the more connected they will be to the issue.
Deal Only in Fresh and Useful Content
Keep your members informed of items they may have missed that directly affect their business. In your emails, blogs or social media posts, include links to local, state or national articles that they might have missed. Where you can, be sure to weave in members' perspectives on the issue or mention specific members as detailed in the first two points.
Remind them their success is a key measure of your organization's success too, and reinforce that with every email you send that shares beneficial content and helps their business improve. You want to develop a reputation for providing timely and relevant information so your members will pay attention to your communications.
Use Photos: They Are Still Worth 1,000 Words
4 words: take tons of pictures. No one ever said, "Gee I wish we hadn't taken so many photos of last year's annual banquet." Photos help you tell your story make your content much more interesting. And, when it comes time to start promoting next year's event, you'll have plenty of great images waiting for you to develop stories around.
Post those pictures to social media accounts and add photo galleries on your website. On Facebook, tag specific members to get their attention and encourage them to view the photos. Photo make your Facebook posts much more likely to get replies or shares. In fact, a recent study showed that photos make up 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook.
Add photos of your community or the businesses that you serve as well. Make a connection to the people your organization interacts with. And how about adding some member-generated content? Ask your members to submit photos of their business that you can use on your website or social media posts.
Make it Fun
Yes, business is serious and your members joined your association to grow their business, but you can still enjoy some fun. Photos and videos are critical here. Post photos from business around town and ask your followers to guess where they were taken. Ask questions about your followers’ favorite business book or restaurant, or their best (or worst) business travel story. Have they received great customer service at another member's business that they would like to share? Ask them for their feedback and engage them. They will pay more attention with each relevant message.
Your organization is a partner with your members. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they always have time for you, though. Given that, there will be times you need your message to get through to them. These points above are just a few ways to help your message cut through the clutter so you can keep the relationship valuable to you members.
What ways have you been able to get (and keep) your members' attention?
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