Testing New Tactics On a Budget

April 18, 2017   |   Vol. 16   |   Issue 4
By John Sample, CDM and CeM, MGI’s Relationship Director

Testing New Tactics On a Budget

It is rare to see a single, isolated marketing effort hit the jackpot. It happens, but the odds are in favor of the house. We often see organizations tie their hopes to one beautiful, noble, budget-breaking effort and then end up disappointed in the results. The efforts are often well conceived and expertly executed but for some cruel reason or another, they don’t deliver.

Even with disappointing results, very few marketing efforts are a total waste. One effort builds on another. Don’t walk away from the table; revise your strategy by testing new and different tactics! Ongoing communication to the marketplace is essential. Communicating through different channels is a best practice; the magic is in the mix. It is important to test different tactics, measure results, and then test again. Here are a couple of ideas that you can test on a budget. Each tactic has ROI that is very easy to calculate.

Digital Printing – what used to be cutting-edge technology is now mainstream and affordable. Print is not dead; it has just undergone a makeover. Rather than printing a single offer to your entire prospect file, test different messages and different offers to small, defined segments of your list. Do not spray and pray; rather, target groups and make them an offer that resonates with them specifically. Make it irresistible for them to respond in some way. Digital printing makes it affordable and effective to be back in the mail!

Telemarketing – the power of the spoken word. The term “telemarketing” often carries a negative connotation, except to the marketers who use it professionally and effectively. A well-written script and properly trained professional operators make this tactic a winner. Telemarketing is a way to cut through the clutter of ambiguity – “maybe they have heard of us”, “maybe they are going to join”, “maybe the contact info I have is up to date”. Real results and actionable feedback are immediate. Most telemarketing services are charged at an hourly rate and sales can be reported daily, so figuring out the return on investment is easy! If the ROI isn’t positive, make changes to the script or offer and try again.

Facebook – your members and prospective members ARE on Facebook. According to Facebook’s 2016 Annual Report, they have 1.23 BILLION daily active users, up 18% from 2015. Creating custom audiences (highly targeted groups of your members & prospects) on Facebook and showing very specific ads calling them to an action (join, renew, register, buy, engage) is inexpensive, easily tracked, and extremely effective. Facebook may not be the obvious social media choice for marketing professional membership or conferences, but it is far less expensive and the reporting is better than with LinkedIn. The eyeballs are there.

Thinking about sending another email to your prospect file because your budget is small? Try testing a couple or all of these tactics ALONG WITH the email. These tactics can be customized to attract new members, engage existing members, renew members, reinstate lapsed members, drive conference registration, and sell products. When you measure results, make informed decisions, and continue testing, you take the power away from the house and your marketing will be less of a gamble.

Marketing General has helped associations grow membership for 39 years. If you’d like to talk about your associations’ marketing needs and how these inexpensive tactics make a great addition, just pick up your phone and call John Sample at 703.706.0346 or email him at jsample@MarketingGeneral.com.

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