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Social Media Tips for Nonprofits

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Smartphone social media
Photo by Omkar Patyane from Pexels
Your organization was likely founded with the goal of creating a community for your members. Fostering a virtual space where your members can come together and communicate with you and each other is crucial to community building. Social media is also a cost-effective way to get the word out about your organization.

 

Buffer explains that the top social media platforms used by nonprofits are Facebook with 98% of nonprofits using the site, Twitter (70%), LinkedIn (55%) and YouTube (45%). If your organization is not already on these platforms, take some time and set up profiles on each. Some associations are also using Instagram or even TikTok to communicate with younger audiences. You do not necessarily have to start posting today, but start your presence. Here are a few ways you can grow your presence online.

  1. Encourage engagement
    According to a blog post on Sendible, each post should include a call to action—every post you create should invite the audience to do something. For example, if you are promoting a conference, rather than merely announcing “Our conference will be this July in Chicago,” include a link for the audience to click that directs back to your website’s conference page. Whether it is a link to click, a video to watch, or asking the audience to leave a comment, opening the door for interaction is a major component of a successful social media presence.

  2. Use the right hashtags
    Sendible also explains that hashtags act as a great, free way to market your organization. Do some research and discover what hashtags are used in your industry. If you find ways to incorporate these hashtags into your posts, your content will come up in native searches that use that hashtag. It is a great way to get exposed to those interested in the industry.

  3. Be responsive
    Buffer explains that you should respond to every person who reaches out to you on social media. This ideally should be done in 24 hours or less. You want to make sure you are seen as friendly and open to those who reach out. This helps you build community by fostering communication with members and others interested in your organization.

  4. Observe
    Mission Box emphasizes the importance of social listening. Social media is a wonderful tool to get your message out to the public and communicate with your members, but social listening helps you understand what is going on with your competitors and your industry and examine how your organization is being received. To do this, take some time to research competitors and comb through their social media. How often do they post, and what are their messages? How many likes are they getting on their posts? You should also search your organization’s name to look at mentions on these platforms. Social listening not only helps you better understand the nuances of social media, it also gives you insight into how your organization is being received.

  5. Schedule your content
    Plan your posts ahead of time and use tools (such as Hootsuite, Zoho or Sprout Social) that post the content for you at designated times. This is a great way to ensure that social media is updated without having to dedicate time to posting every single day. According to Sendible, this is something that many nonprofit marketers struggle with, so having that assistance will make consistent posting easier. Beyond the schedule, be sure to monitor your social media accounts regularly. Sharing and liking posts from your members, allied organizations and other industry thought leaders can magnify your reach. It’s also important to be aware of major news stories, and to be sensitive to situations when your tweet or post could be perceived as out of place with current events.

By using and consistently updating social media, you are building a community around your organization.

Tags:  marketing communications  social media 

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Outreach Marketing Strategies: Human Connections

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, June 9, 2020

We all know that marketing is important, but you can take it a step further with outreach marketing. According to GroupHigh’s blog, outreach marketing focuses on human-to-human connection to grow your organization. Partnering outreach strategy with traditional SEO and keyword research sets up your organization for success.

Here are a few strategies to achieve this more human form of marketing
    Whiteboard with markers
  1. Be transparent about your cause
    Building trust is a major benefit of the outreach strategy. Foster human connection by being clear about what you offer and how you are received. Nonprofit Hub explains that this is important because, as you are building relationships, you want to make your business intentions clear so that individuals or partner organizations do not end up feeling manipulated.

  2. Third-party recommendations
    The first point from the GroupHigh post is the importance of third-party recommendations. When you are shopping for a new car, you often do not just take the salesperson’s word on how great the car is; you read reviews from third-party sources who have nothing at stake. This same concept applies to outreach marketing. See if you can find a way to get your organization mentioned in a customer’s blog post or ask for a testimony to put on your website. Self-promotion is important, but make sure it is not just you talking about how great your organization is.

  3. Support organizations with similar values
    Reach out and connect with organizations with similar values and goals as your organization. Nonprofit Hub explains that you should carefully choose who you work with because you want to make sure they are working toward the same things as you. The article gives the example of caring for the environment. If your organization strives for conservation, make sure you are not working with organizations that have a bad track record on environmental issues. This shows potential and existing customers that you are firm in what your organization values and will not compromise on what you believe in.

  4. Keep in touch with your most active members
    GroupHigh explains that active customers/members can be among your best assets. Foster close relationships with these members and ask them for their input. Members will appreciate you asking for their ideas and you can gain some excellent insight into what you can provide to make your organization better. This is a great way to build trust and great relationships with your members which will help develop a positive reputation. A few examples: The Academy of Human Resource Development held a Facebook live event to gather feedback from its community. The Minnesota Pharmacists Association has offered Zoom listening sessions and Town Hall meetings to gather specific concerns. While surveys are useful in identifying issues and trends, live events can make it easier to ask follow-up questions and dig deeper.

  5. Tell your brand’s story
    CMS Wire explains that telling your brand’s story is a strategy that is more human than just SEO and topic research. Identify your organization’s values and mission if you have not done so already, then use that as a driving point in blog posts, social media, and other marketing.

Mix these strategies in with your traditional strategies to foster a closer connection with your members and grow your organization.

Tags:  marketing communications 

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What Is the “Marketing Mix?”

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Your organization just created a ground-breaking new service that has the ability to serve the needs of thousands. After months of development, it is finally ready to be released into the world. This step is crucial and can make or break your service. Marketing acts as the bridge between your service and those who do not know they need it yet. It is the job of the marketing professionals to find out who needs the service and how to get it to them.

One way to think about how to market your product or service is called the marketing mix, which refers to a series of elements surrounding a product/service that inform how you market that product. According to Harvard Business Review, the marketing mix gives executives a simple, yet consistent way to get an overview of the product, its pricing, audience, etc.

While the marketing mix can be adapted to fit the needs of the team using it, it is often referred to as 4 Ps: product, pricing, placement, and promotion, which is a time-tested method for developing a marketing plan. When you take a product or service through these 4 items, it becomes easier to get a broader view of how that product will be marketed.

  1. Product
    1. Start by getting a good idea of what your product/service is. Why did you create it? What problem does it solve? Every product or service has some sort of purpose so make sure that you make it clear what that is.
    2. Dive deeper into the specific features. For example, if it is a virtual course about how to improve emotional intelligence, explain that the course will have short video lectures, followed by a quiz and a Q&A section to encourage users to interact with the platform.
    3. Analyze who will be using it and where. Are your customers going to be busy executives or people who may have more time to devote to interacting with the product/service? Create a profile of your typical user to better understand the environment in which your product/service will be used.
    4. Describe what makes your product/service unique compared to similar ones from your competitors. What sets you apart? Why should someone use your product over theirs?
    5. Overall, this section should be used to describe the purpose and uniqueness of your product/service. This is where you show off how awesome it is.
  2. Pricing
    1. Think about how much your customers will value the product/service. Is this a necessary purchase for them or did they elect to buy it? If it is of less necessity, lower prices may be necessary to incentivize customers.
    2. How does your pricing stack up against similar products or services? Pricing it lower may drive traffic toward you, but if you offer better quality, customers may pay more for your product/service.
    3. Decide if you will offer discount pricing. Will you offer discounts to members of your organization or those who offer their email address? These discounts can be a great way to get eyes on your product/service that might not otherwise be there.
  3. Place
    1. Describe the different ways your product/service will be found. Is it sold directly through your website? Is there content that will lead back to your product/service such as blog posts, free webinars, Facebook Live sessions? You should have a clear answer as to how someone would find your product/service.
    2. Explain where this product/service will “live,” especially if it is virtual. Your product/service should have an online homepage describing its features, pricing, and other relevant details a customer should know.
    3. Where do your competitors keep similar products? Do you think you offer a similar or better method for displaying your product/service?
  4. Promotion
    1. Describe your marketing strategy.
    2. Where will this product/service be marketed? Will you use online ads, use email marketing, or give out postcards at a conference?
    3. Is there a specific timing that would work well with this product/service? For example, a book on how to be a great team member might be better received if released at the beginning of the year when many organizations are gaining new board members.
    4. What are your competitors doing? Is it working?
  5. Add in bonus categories to give an even better picture of elements will go into this product/service.
    1. Audience: give a more in-depth description of who your audience is, what they do and why they need your product/service.
    2. Terms and conditions: explain any items such as recurring payments, any certifications that can be earned via your product/service, etc.
    3. Brand: how does this product/service and its corresponding marketing align with your organization’s brand?

Example: A hypothetical leadership book called Leading for Tomorrow

  • Product: Our product is a 255-page print and electronic book, Leading for Tomorrow. We used our expertise to help inform professionals how to lead in a world of ever-changing technology and a younger workforce. We aim to serve current leaders who may need to adapt some of their leadership practices as well as emerging younger leaders. What makes this book different from other books on leadership is its timeliness and expertise. Our team of authors are all experts in the field.
  • Price: We hope our book will be seen as a must-have. We are selling it for $18.99 in hardback format for 1 year before offering it in paperback for $13.99. It will also be available for download online for $10. These price points are very similar to similar books, but we think that the book’s content will set us apart from others without having to lower our price point. However, during the book’s release, we will be offering our organization’s members a 20% off discount, and a 10% for non-members who subscribe to our emails.
  • Place: The book will be sold on our website as well as Amazon. Following the book release, the authors plan on linking the book in their email signatures. We also plan on linking the book in our blog posts.
  • Promotion: We are going to do a Facebook Live event the day of our release and update the bios of our social media accounts to link to the book. We will also send out emails to our members with their discount and those on our email list with their discount. Prior to the release, we will promote the release date of the book at various points.

Marketing goes beyond sending out a tweet or a mass email. It requires a complete understanding of the product or service at hand. Utilizing the marketing mix will make marketing simpler, more thorough and more streamlined.

Tags:  marketing communications  social media  strategy 

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A Breakdown of Short- and Long-Term Marketing Strategies

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Monday, April 20, 2020

marketing stragety book and laptop computerConstructing a marketing strategy is a crucial practice for any organization. It is important to keep a timeline in mind when creating your strategy, as some activities will help you achieve short-term goals and others will help you achieve long-term goals. The distinction is important for project organization and task delegation.

Short-term marketing strategies: They are used to temporarily increase sales or awareness. These plans are generally set for less than a year. If you have a new product or service, the activities surrounding its promotion would be in the short term. That would be a temporary boost. Short-term plans also include smaller details surrounding the promotion of those goods and services such as how social media is used, any outreach to media or email promotion.

  • Consider events that would warrant short-term marketing. Do you have a conference? Online professional development? A new e-book? Think about how you are going to get the word out about it.
  • Marketing automation tools can help with scheduling emails (and so many other tasks) in the short term while providing analytics to inform a longer-term strategy. Best-selling author Neil Patel offers a guide to help streamline marketing functions.
  • Social media is great for short-term marketing. It is free and relatively easy to reach people.

Long-term marketing strategies: These comprehensive plans are used to increase sales or awareness over a longer period of time. These strategies should be aimed toward organizational goals. Long-term marketing strategies include things such as branding, building a public relations team and maintaining a social media presence. Generally, anything that stretches over a year would count as long-term. While it’s possible for one person to create and implement a long-term marketing strategy, a team approach provides more varied talent and perspectives.

  • Search engine optimization is a powerful tool to have as part of your long-term marketing strategy. It can help you determine keywords to include on your website and give insight into what your competitors are doing.
  • Generating quality content on a regular basis is another building block in a long-term strategy. Blogs, e-books, printed or online magazines, podcasts and recorded webinars can all be used to show thought leadership and expertise. The Content Marketing Institute has excellent resources to help with ideation and implementation.
  • Qualitative research is another tool to consider in building a long-term strategy. This kind of research helps you discover more in-depth insights like the strengths and weaknesses of your organization or how your organization is seen. QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) has wonderful resources to teach you about and help you conduct qualitative research.

It is important to have a balance between both short- and long-term marketing strategies. Short-term strategies are great for individual projects and smaller goals while long-term strategies ensure that the organization as a whole is working toward larger goals.


Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Tags:  association management  marketing communications  strategy 

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Essential Items in a Marketing Plan

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Thursday, April 9, 2020

Marketing plan graphicMarian Burk Wood, author of The Marketing Plan Handbook, defines marketing plans as “comprehensive documents that summarize marketplace knowledge and the strategies and steps to be taken in achieving the objectives set by marketing managers for a particular period.”
According to the Content Marketing Institute, it is important to remember that marketing plans are not editorial calendars or a to-do list full of marketing-related tasks. It should outline a clear strategy to achieve a goal.

Here are some key elements to consider adding to your association’s marketing plan (or reviewing with fresh eyes if your plan has been in place for a while):

  1. Your target customer
    According to Forbes, you should think through and research who your typical customers are. Come up with personas for your typical customers and even give them names. Think of these customers when you are making decisions. It is crucial to understand who would use your product or service in order to market to them. Consider current, lapsed and prospective members as you develop your segments.
  2. Positioning
    According to Inc., you should research your organization’s position in the market. This will help you get a feel for how customers view you compared to your competitors. Consider not just other associations that may vie for your members/customers, but for-profit companies that may provide educational offerings that compete with yours. When you pinpoint your current position in the market, set a goal for where you would like to be positioned in the future.
  3. A unique selling proposition
    Forbes also explains that a marketing plan should include a statement about why your organization is different from other similar ones. For example, Jimmy John’s uses their slogan “Freaky Fast” to show that they deliver faster than any of their competitors.
  4. Competitor analysis
    Take the time to research your competitors. Inc. explains that you should have a solid understanding of their market, pricing and how their services are different than yours. Including this in your plan will help you determine how you stand out and help you find ways to market those strengths.
  5. Marketing strategy
    Inc. suggests adding in the resources you have for marketing. Does this include comprehensive social media? Websites? Webinars? Conferences? Emails? How will these resources be utilized? And how often? Consider these items when creating your marketing plan.
  6. Conversion strategy
    Forbes explains that you should include how you take interested people and turn them into customers. Do you offer any free content to draw customers in? Do you advertise to people in a certain industry or profession? Lay out how you draw people into your organization.
  7. Budget
    Think through what you can spend on marketing and how the money will be spent. Inc. says this is a crucial element as you will be able to see your return on investment after the plan has been implemented.

The Content Marketing Institute stresses the importance of taking the time to create this plan:
“Many marketers and firms will claim they have the marketing plans in their head, or within the tribal knowledge of the organization. This is simply not good enough. Many firms will have several disparate pieces of a marketing plan spread throughout the organization (i.e., with the sales department, product managers, marketing department, executive leadership team, strategic business planners). But in order for marketing to be successful, your organization must create and own a proper marketing plan, first and foremost.”

Tags:  marketing communications  strategy 

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Top 3 Reasons Your Conference Needs Mobile

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Thursday, October 24, 2019

What was once a deluxe conference amenity has become a necessary tool of engagement for successful events. Make your conference mobile and watch as speakers, exhibitors and attendees connect and communicate online. Excite your potential audiences before the event starts, engage with the attendees onsite and evolve throughout the process in response to change. All it takes is an app.

EXCITE YOUR AUDIENCE

In the weeks leading up to your event, a mobile app campaign drives excitement for a future experience. Downloading a conference mobile app provides a tangible teaser for a still far-off event. It gets the conference on the minds and in the hands (literally) of your audience before a meeting convenes. 

Through yet another channel, your brand, your content and your vision can reach your anticipatory audience.

Pro tip: offer an incentive to download the app. Nothing spurs attendees into action faster than the possibility of free stuff.

ENGAGE YOUR ATTENDEES

At any event, you’ve just gathered many of the best minds in your field in one space for a few hours or a few days. Now that they’re here, you need them to engage: with speakers, with exhibitors and with each other!

  • Engage with Speakers: Speakers come prepared as subject-matter experts. Polling and survey features offered through a mobile app can turn a presentation from a one-sided lecture into an interactive event. A mobile app’s ability to collect real-time data from the audience allows speakers to connect with attendees, answer questions and shape their presentations to suit the crowd.
  • Engage with Exhibitors: Companies joining you from far and wide come with expectations to make connections. As their unique swag often demonstrate, sponsors and exhibitors want to get their name in your hands. With a mobile app, it already is. Exhibitor websites and contact information, and digital handouts become instantly available to all attendees. It’s a simple perk for the companies that might just keep them coming back for more.
  • Engage with each other: The universal advantage of in-person events is the networking opportunities inherent. However, as attendees meet new faces in the field, especially at large events, it can be difficult to keep track of these new contacts. Mobile apps provide a fully filled-in contact book and messaging system without the hassle of keeping track of business cards or asking for phone numbers. Encouraging attendees to include their picture with their profile? Even better for those of us not blessed with the gift of face/name memory!

You’ll want an app a mobile app to drive your speakers and attendees to not only to listen but to engage. Empower your audiences to connect through a technology we all know well.

EVOLVE WITH CHANGE

Despite your meeting planner’s best efforts, plans change. As rooms fill up faster than anticipated and speakers call in sick—your mobile app can alleviate the headache of last-minute change.

Rather than disparaging your beautifully branded signage and collateral with handwritten speaker updates and blacked-out sessions, leverage the power of digital technology to make quick updates looks seamless. 

Mobile app push notifications provide a sort of virtual intercom. Communication is immediate and allows your event to evolve as quickly as the outside world.

Conferences are a great opportunity for your organization to showcase the caliber of members and body of knowledge. Mobile applications will only help you improve your conference attendee’s experience and increase the ROI of your event.

Tags:  conferences  engagement  event management  marketing communications  social media  technology 

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Speaker Checklist for Effective Presentations

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Thursday, September 12, 2019
Untitled Document

Speaker Checklist for Effective Presentations




Engagement

  • Avoid starting the presentation stating, “Hi my name is… Today I’ll be talking about…”
  • Engage the learning at the beginning of the training.
    • Pose a question
    • Share a story: historical, personal, imaginative
    • Use an image: picture, video, comic
  • Share the “why” or purpose of the training; How will it benefit the learner?
  • Create at least one opportunity for learner collaboration throughout the training:
    • Turn and Talk: Pose a question and have partners share their answers
    • Participants respond on a shared document or in a chat box
    • Learners “teach back” the new information to each other
    • Groups work together to respond to specific scenarios
    • Live poll to collect group data
  • Allocate time for Q&A.

Powerpoint

  • Avoid using text only and long paragraphs in your slides.
  • Utilize images that support your key points.
  • Ensure the font, colors and size of the text can be read from the back of a room.
  • Spell check and proof-read slides.

Presentation Tips

  • Avoid reading the slides.
  • Practice slow, clear delivery.
  • Be aware of your nonverbal communication.
    • Create eye contact with audience
    • Positive tone
    • Stand and move around the room, if possible
    • Read the room for questions or confusion
  • Do not include commercial sales within your presentation.
  • Relax, breathe and have fun!

Tags:  leadership  marketing communications 

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Testing. Testing. Testing: How A/B Tests Can Elevate Your Marketing

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Thursday, August 29, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

If you are using a marketing automation system for your association’s newsletters and promotional emails, you’ve probably seen how A/B testing can help you determine what subject line language resonates best with your audience. But A/B testing can extend to so many other elements of your emails.

Time of Day
Even if you don’t have a marketing automation system, you can test what time of day works best for your audience. Send an email on three to five separate dates at a certain time (let’s say 7 a.m., when members may be eating breakfast). Check your open rates. Now, for the next three to five emails in your schedule, try sending mid-morning. Or mid-afternoon or early evening. How do your open rates compare to the previous set? If you do have marketing automation, you can schedule your mailings to concurrently test one time versus a second time.

Day of Week
Just as with time of day, you can find results for the best day of the week even if you don’t have a marketing automation system. The results may surprise you. Despite conventional wisdom that Friday is a terrible day to send emails, some organizations that we work with have really good open rates on Fridays.

Button Color
Many marketing experts say that red and orange buttons are most likely to be clicked. While that may be the case with the public at large, our testing with one client found that a bright blue button consistently works better.

Call to Action
Every email should contain a strong message that offers readers a next step (Download Our Free Ebook, Become a Member Today, Register Now for Our Event). Different people respond better to different messages. Perhaps instead of “Become a Member,” your email will get better click-throughs with “Join Our Community” or “Find Your Professional Home Base.”

Length of Message
Whether it’s an email to promote an event or an email newsletter, you can use A/B testing to help determine whether your audience responds best to a message of 100 to 200 words or a longer message. This can be helpful if a committee chair continually sends you a conference promo that resembles a Tolstoy novel in length and plot intricacy.

Length of Subject Line
Most marketing experts will tell you to keep your subject line short. But some organizations have really detail-oriented audiences, where longer subject lines test stronger.

Emojis
Not all marketing automation systems allow emojis. But if you get emails from major retailers and social media outlets, you’ve probably seen emojis in subject lines. If it works for Facebook and Yelp, maybe it can work for you. If your audience is of a certain age, emojis may not be very popular…but you won’t know unless you test.

Other
Just because something hasn’t worked in the past doesn’t mean it will never work. Maybe your members hated emojis two years ago when you tried them. But maybe they’ve become accustomed to seeing them — or perhaps the demographics of your members have changed in that time. The corollary: just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the present or the future. Continue to test with your audience to make sure that your emails get the best possible results.

 

 

Tags:  analytics  marketing communications  technology 

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What’s the Hullabaloo about Content Hubs?

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

 

 

You keep hearing the phrase “content hub”, in articles and maybe even from your marketing communications team, but what is the hullabaloo about, isn’t it just a library? The answer is yes, and no. First things first. What exactly is a content hub?

According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital“A content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic.”

Content Hubs are a great way to manage all your phenomenal content in a user-friendly manner. A well-designed content hub can neatly and aesthetically display your cumulative pieces in one location. They help you avoid the headache of multi-located content such as training videos only on YouTube, blogs on your WordPress site, and articles residing only in your journal or newsletter. Through content hubs, all these rich pieces that represent your brand become accessible in a single place! 

How is this different from a website? A website contains all the information a user may need to know about your brand and organization, including specific calls to action. A content hub is a resource area of a website, a one-stop shop to finding articles and media regarding a specific topic or by topic area. It’s also more encompassing than a blog, because there are multiple authors and different media formats, including articles, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and videos.

Some great examples:

Ewald Consulting is also working on content hub strategies and launches with our nonprofit clients using different technology platforms. We will be expanding our content hubs across our clients to better share resources, thought-leader articles, blog posts, enews, webinars, video, discussion forums and more.

One example is the Product Development and Management Association Knowledge Hub (kHub) which just launched. This is an example of offering member value by granting permission-based access to content and a discussion forum alongside the more typical Content Hub collateral such as articles, webinars and books.  

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a content hub is, let’s talk about the benefits of having one.

 

Brand Authority:

You work hard on the content that represents your brand. We have learned in past blog posts that carefully curated and tailored content communicates to your target audience that you are a thought leader in your industry. A content hub strengthens your brand, identity, and your authority in the field. By focusing on topics, your site becomes more relevant in search engines.

 

Building Connections and Engagement

It’s a community! When you have multiple authors and a multi-media hub it generates a following from audience members who prefer social posts, or podcasts, or people who like to comment on blog posts. A content hub can reach all of these audience members. Content Hubs promote engagement. Instead of an article living in a newsletter that’s read and forgotten, users can directly interact with the piece. A content hub is ideal for reading, commenting, sharing, tweeting, buying and so on.

 

Analytics

By now you know that your website analytics are a treasure trove of information that can break down how people are coming to and interacting with your website. Content hubs can help you further understand your audience’s interest! By tracking the performance of different pieces on your hub, you can discover which topics interest your audience, what’s driving traffic to your site, and preferred content types, then use this information to further tailor your content to meet the demand!

Take it from us, content hubs done well are complicated and need to be mapped out carefully within the right technology platform, site architecture and taxonomy. Without a clear plan from the start, things can go awry quickly. So now that you know what content hubs are and how they can help you elevate your organization, here are some quick ways you can get started:

  1. Define your goals: Be clear about how you want to utilize the hub and how you will measure the use of the platforms.  
  2. Define your audience: Examine your analytics and your target audience profiles. Create a hub that will fit the styles of communication preferred by your audience.
  3. Assess your content and your access to new content: What content do you have now that should migrate to the platform and what can be left behind? Determine a schedule and responsibilities for the creation and posting of new content.
  4. Create a strategy to organize your content: Make sure that you organize the content in a manner that is understandable, the best way to do this is usually done by topic and/or by the type of media.
  5. Determine which platform suits your needs: Maybe it’s your current website, maybe it’s a sub-domain, whatever it is use the above evaluations to help you determine the best fit for you.
  6. Design and Launch: Create your design layout and go for it!
  7. Maintain it! Determine how you will continue to add new content on a weekly basis at a minimum to keep the site fresh and vibrant. Don’t forget to track your analytics to fine tune your content to your audience’s needs.

Content hubs can give your organization a strategic advantage with your customers and stakeholders and a new way to drive engagement, community and conversation. 

Tags:  association management  branding  engagement  marketing communications 

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Analytic Trends in Associations Part II: Seasonal Trends

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Untitled Document

Analytic Trends in Associations Part II: Seasonal Trends

In part one of Analytic Trends in Associations, we shared the results of a case study we performed by pulling analytics from 24 associations to capture general analytic trends . From the data, we acquired three key takeaways regarding associations:

  1. The average web visitor is new and not as likely to return to the site again after visiting once or twice;
  2. Associations have higher bounce rates due to heavy CTAs marketed on their sites; and
  3. Those who stay do on the site have high levels of engagement as indicated by their multiple page views per session and longer timestamps of web activity.

During the year, it’s important you also understand the trends of analytics during conference season. From the time the conference attendee registration launches to the day after the conference, we expect web traffic and engagement to increase substantially due to the heavy amount of information provided on the sites such as online registration, travel accommodations and the conference schedule.

We conducted another case study to analyze associations’ web analytics two months prior to conference as well as two months after. Data was pulled from a sample of 40 associations from July 2017 to August 2018. We analyzed the overall number of visitors, sessions, pageviews, average session duration, average time on page, and bounce rates to roughly gauge user interaction.

Here is what we discovered:

Total Users, Sessions, Pageviews

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Average Session Duration, Average Time on Page

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Before Event
The case study proved that web traffic and engagement improve leading up to the event. However, the overall average of increase wasn’t substantially large as initially thought. We may have seen a more substantial difference if we extended our data back farther and compared analytics to the main “off-season” month of each association. These associations have at least some sort of marketing plan that advertises the save the date well in advance before the official two-month launch date.

After Event
The post-event web analytics are where we started to see drastic decreases in web traffic. It’s important to note that this is not a bad thing , it just means less people are visiting the site because the main event of interest has passed. As long as the bounce rates and average session durations are decent, the website can still be viewed as performing well. In measuring association analytics, it is not about the quantity (i.e. the number of visitors, sessions, pageviews), it’s about the quality of engagement (i.e. the avg. time on page, avg. session duration, bounce rate).    

Conclusion
So what’s the takeaway from this study? These analytics prove that these associations’ annual events are the main driving force to the websites. While this is certainly not a negative, it helps us examine how we can improve our marketing strategy.

Associations need to be communicating with the membership on a regular basis. Annual networking and educational events should not be the only reason to send emails. Occasional newsletters, topical industry posts on social, and member campaigns are all ways you can engage the membership outside of conference without being overbearing. It keeps the association in the back of their mind and shows that you put effort into staying relevant.

Major event analytics are also a great reminder to make sure you are aware of your association’s analytics year-round. When you see anomalies in your data, you can account it for the annual conference or another large networking or education event. It’s when those anomalies aren’t accounted for by an event or campaign when you should start investigating on what is and is not working.

Tags:  Analytics  marketing communications 

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