Target Your Association Branding Efforts to the Proper Audience
Aligning your association branding foundation with your messaging is essential to speaking directly to your audience. You cannot assume your audience immediately consumes everything you publish just by putting it in front of them. You need to establish a robust content strategy -- as well as a social media strategy -- to effectively distribute your message.
So, what options do you have?
How do you get your message out?
How do you solicit more funding or gain more members?
Medium and message. Your association has to establish a strong message, one that is predicated on your brand.
How to Build an Effective, Robust Association Branding Success Story
If your organization wants to establish a strong social media and content strategy, it must consider the following seven elements:
When it comes to search engines, the more content you have the greater chance your website will come up higher on a person's search. Furthermore, the strength and context of the content have a role to play. You cannot just throw a bunch of words on a page and expect the words alone will achieve your goals. Search engine optimization (SEO), a vague concept to most, is the process by which your content is made more likely to be found by Google and Bing.
How to take advantage: There's merit to the saying, "the more, the merrier." Create more content that is relevant to your audience and employ a sound SEO strategy.
According to Statistics Canada, from 2007 to 2009 internet usage for searching rose by 3 percent. On the other hand, the percentage of contributions increased 6 percent over the same period. That trend has continued. That means more people are writing or commenting on blogs, in discussion groups, and adding photos.
How to take advantage: Your organization must seek out the conversation and engage your audience where they are already having the discussion. It could be blogs, discussion groups, or social media. What's important is that your message does not sound like marketing. Have faith that a consistent brand message alone will draw them to your doorstep. As soon as an audience feels like they are being preached to, they will disappear.
Those people ditching their television for services such as Netflix and YouTube have already voiced their dislike for traditional television commercials. In fact, adblockers -- applications that block banner ads and pop-ups -- are starting to bite into ad revenues for some major Internet sites.
How to take advantage: An organization has to convey value and content without the use of heavy-handed advertisements. Establishing a YouTube channel can draw a significant crowd.
Social Media Usage
69 percent of Canadians used at least one social media platform. Approximately 68% of Americans use social networking sites. That number rises to 90% for young adults.
How to take advantage: The more social media platforms you use, the more of your audience you can convert. This is because different demographic sectors use various social media platforms. Younger audiences tend to explore newer platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, while older ones use more traditional social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Segment your audience and communicate with them on their terms.
Your audience has a lot on their mind. Just walk down the street and watch the number of people with their noses stuck in their mobile phones. According to Kissmetrics, your website has 2 seconds to load and 8 seconds to prove its worth. That is right. In less than ten seconds someone visiting your website will decide if you are worth engaging with.
How to take advantage: The strength of your content strategy will be tested every time someone lands on your page. Landing pages use a hyper-focus with no distractions to convert a particular subsection of your total audience. You then create different landing pages for different sources.
When you have a strong content plan, you also achieve the intangible effect of establishing trust with your audience. As they read your blog or watch your videos, they come to trust you and your message.
How to take advantage: A blog, such as the one you are reading right now, offers insight and tips into various elements your audience can use. By showing them value, your audience will come to trust you.
This demographic deserves their own heading. Why? As this group becomes more important to your membership and audience, you need to understand the way they think -- and it is different. Millennials have two critical traits that any organization has to understand: the inherent need to be educated before they engage and the need to change the world.
How to take advantage: Research what Millennials need. Understand that deep desire to save the world and tap into this by educating them on things that will help them, even if it does not seem directly tied to the mission of your organization. As an integral element of your future, your organization will eventually have to share their desire to save the world.
Going Beyond Association Branding
Organizations cannot rely on their association branding alone for messaging. By increasing the amount of content you have, you have a higher chance of achieving the eight touches that Salesforce suggests you need to convert. You need to prove your value to your members every day because if you do not, your competition will take your options away.
While you may have a strong brand, the advent of new marketing and media platforms will quickly and easily erode any organization brand that doesn't take advantage. You have to build your stronghold on that branding and reach out through the various platforms to engage your audience as often as you can.
When you are ready to move beyond association branding, you may want to consider new ways to improve your organization's revenue channels. Part of this process means embracing new technologies, as Doug Devitre explains in his book, Screen to Screen Selling: How to Increase Sales, Productivity, and Customer Experience with the Latest Technology. Click the button below for details.
Building on almost two decades of small business experience, John Kent is a former financial industry insider who offers business coaching to new entrepreneurs at Business Plans Profit. Check out his blueprint for new businesses there.