Summer is right around the corner, and the end of our marketing year will be rapidly closing in. Every year we like to remind our professional colleagues that, although the year is flying by, there is still time to review and alter late summer and fall plans before the end of the year. It’s not too late to improve your YE 2018 marketing results.
Marketing efforts are only successful when they generate new revenue at an effective rate of return. Are this year’s results meeting your expectations? What’s most important is that you are looking at the results and making adjustments along the way – while there is time to impact results this year. Here are some old and new suggestions you can use:
# 1. Look at the numbers.
To know where you’re going, it’s important to look at where you’ve been. At the beginning of the year, you decided on which tools you were going to use. Take time now to review your current plan for the remaining year. Sometimes it can be easy to decide what’s working and what’s not. In order to determine the effectiveness of the year to date, calculate your return on investment (ROI). And in terms of ROI, what were your most and least successful campaigns?
# 2. Put your money where it counts.
After you’ve decided what is working and what isn’t, consider putting more resources into the activities that generated the highest ROI this year. Are your acquisition campaigns performing better than projected? Try adding an additional mailing, or mailing deeper to your prospect pool. Results not hitting your projections? Try testing special offers, premiums, more aggressive messaging, and the all-important lists that you’ll use in your next effort. Remember to invite lapsed members to rejoin before YE.
# 3. Drop the losers and focus on the winners.
Cut your least-performing marketing activities. When you add or change your marketing program, some things will perform well and others will miss the mark. That’s perfectly normal. But when something isn’t meeting expectations, drop it and try something new.
# 4. Focus on renewals and retention.
Membership retention helps an association grow by lowering the number of new members that you’ll need to recruit. As we all know, it’s much more cost effective to renew a current member than to acquire a new one. Even small improvements in the renewal rates for an organization can have a dramatic impact on the overall membership.
Non-renewed members generally fall into five distinct categories: the Undecided, the Moved, the Busy, the Disappointed, and finally the Actively Dissatisfied. Focus your efforts for the remainder of the year on the members that you feel are the most likely to renew – the Undecided and the Busy.
Adding additional ways for members to pay can also help increase renewal rates. Associations responding to MGI’s Annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey report that when they began offering multi-year, early bird discounts and automatic credit card renewal options, rates increased by as much as 13%.
# 5. Test new activities.
In most cases, all your marketing efforts drive members and customers to join, register, or purchase a product. But in reality, once a prospect visits your site, many do not complete a transaction. Adding online remarketing activities to a website is a necessity in today’s digital environment. Social media is another vehicle for reaching a target market at virtually no cost to an organization. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ad roll, and the like all have a commercial component to them.
Lead generation and search marketing are also effective tools to help you not only achieve membership targets but also reach a new, younger, and more affluent reader. These campaigns can be more cost-effective than direct mail both in time and money.
# 6. Update your website.
Add some new content based on your 2018 experiences, like success stories, member testimonials, or advocacy victories. Does your website content appeal to your association’s members and prospects, or some Google robot? Members keep the doors open, not robots.
# 7. Don’t forget your foundation.
With 40%-70% of all donations to nonprofit organizations arriving in the last few months of the year, you know how important an end-of-year campaign can be for your foundation’s bottom line. You should plan to ask early, and to ask often. Plan a series of “touches” with each of your members throughout the year-end period, each successive contact echoing the one before with a restatement of your request until the donor responds with a gift.
# 8. Keeping track of it all.
Continual checkups are key to the long-term success of any marketing plan. Set dates on your calendar now to check in on your efforts each month. Membership marketing is a challenge, and taking the time to review your efforts is even more challenging. True success comes about when we take the time to carefully review and modify our plans to meet the changes we face every day.
Some marketing efforts can take 2-3 months to implement. Others take far less time, so now’s the time to start finalizing your year-end activities. For more information about conducting a mid-year review of your marketing efforts or help devising a plan to increase your numbers and revenues by the end of the year, contact Scott Seril at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 703.706.0316.