Welcome to Rick Rutherford who will be our guest editor through the first half of August.
By Rick Rutherford
Industry Resource Director, YourMembership
What does your association’s brand say about the organization? Ideally, it should represent the leader for your industry or profession, locally, regionally, or nationally.
For years associations have relied on word of mouth (WOM) to play a role in creating that awareness. WOM is a very powerful tool. There is no question that social networking has taken WOM to a whole new level. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and many others have literally created an industry around brand awareness.
While you work to build your association’s brand, do you use all the tools at your disposal to achieve the results you desire? What role is technology playing in your efforts?
Let’s look at three avenues where you can positively impact your brand awareness through technology.
Association Management or Membership Management Software
Association Management Software (AMS) is the hub for connecting your association to your members via technology. It really comes down to member data and putting that data to work to drive engagement and create membership value.
• Using membership software that integrates with your job board, social networking, events and ecommerce activities multiplies the value of the member data you collect and the ways you can put that data to work.
• Creating opportunities for member engagement through surveys, polls, forums, blogs, and user ratings can provide additional insight that you can strategically use in your recruitment and retention initiatives.
Career Centers and Online Job Boards
An association career center is an excellent tool for building member loyalty, recruiting new members, and driving non-dues revenue for your association. It should play a significant role in positioning your association as the career resource for your members and prospects alike.
Prospects who upload resumes or create profiles and job alerts on your association job board are communicating that they are interested in receiving value from your association. Are you telling them what your organization does to enhance their careers?
• Creating a contact list of non-members registered on your career center provides you a prospect list to market to for new member recruitment.
• Implement a “personal” touch campaign to connect with these prospects. It should be more than a direct mail piece or email.
Employers posting open positions on a job board are willing to provide testimonials when they find a great hire or have an overall good experience. What about members that actually find new jobs via your career center? Do you get their testimony?
• Solicit testimonials via a form on your website asking “If you have found a new job through the XYZ Association Career Center please share your experience.”
• Contact them personally. Congratulate them on their new job.
• Get permission to use their positive experience along with a photo so that you can share their story with your website’s visitors.
• You achieve two wins – you recognize a member for their accomplishment and you promote the ability of your Career Center (and the association) to positively impact the professional lives of members.
Conferences and Events
How do you use technology to create more value for your events? The simple choices are offering online registration and payment. What else can you do to build brand awareness via your conference?
• Create a microsite that exclusively promotes the event, helping to create a unique conference experience.
• Create pre-conference surveys and forums that connect attendees with presenters, helping to align the content to be presented with attendee expectations. It’s an easy way to increase overall satisfaction.
• Man-on-the-street interviews shot on something as simple as a smart phone that help capture the positive experience of being at conference. Edited properly and posted on your website and social media channels, you can help enhance your associations brand while creating exciting and anticipation for next year’s event.
These are just a few of the many ways technology can be utilized to help you can increase your association’s brand awareness.
As YourMembership’s Industry Resource Director, Rick guides YM’s thought leadership initiatives, directing the company’s Resource Center, weekly blog and monthly webinar series, as well as coordinates YM’s Industry Alliance Program.
Rick has worked in the association industry for more than 29 years, serving as a vendor partner, staff member, and co-founder of a technology company focused on associations. Rick previously served as the Communications Director for the Texas Society of Association Executives, where he received a Gold Circle Award from ASAE.