It’s hard to get members’ attention. Time and time again staff hear “I didn’t know about that” or “was that last week” and even “it was never announced!” It’s frustrating when you feel like you have painted the town red with announcements. So maybe its time to try something new.
Are you promoting everywhere? Really everywhere? Traditional advertising takes 6-12 views before action is taken. Send 12 emails with the same message and members will likely riot – or worse – ignore you. Look for ways to spread the message around through different media to get the most impact. Traditional media still works — posters, flyers, ads in the newsletter, upcoming events online. If you are creating all of these, what else can you do? Save those files as .jpgs and use them as photos on Facebook. Create a slide show of pictures from last year’s event(s) (try www.animoto.com) and add it to your website and emails. The more “touches” a member has with a message the more likely they are to respond. Be creative and they just might tell their friends about it too.
If you are already integrating your marketing, have you looked at all your pieces for an event together? Treat event marketing like a campaign. A strong, high quality design is a good start and it needs to be carried through everything you do to provide maximum results. Frequently, organizations may have an ad created by their newsletter designer, a poster done by a volunteer and then put together a flyer themselves. When things don’t look the same, members don’t build recall from having seen it over and over. It’s easy to get bored or want to tweak designs, but resist. Repetition breeds recognition and promotes action.
TMI – Too Much Information
Its counter-intuitive, but sometimes less is more. It seems to make sense to put all the details of an event in every communication so people don’t have to look further. But sometimes that’s the problem. People see lots of information and don’t have time to process it, so it goes in the pile or left in the email list never to be seen again. Try a campaign where your print materials tease the information and encourage members to take action to find out more. Taking action should mean getting them online where there is an easy link to register – now. One new tool you can try is a QR code, It’s a square graphic that is a visual URL. Members can scan codes printed on flyers, posters and table tents and go to a webpage with details and a registration link. Remember, members will be viewing the information on their phones – so a mobile web page is critical.
Organizations didn’t always have websites and email. Once – and not that long ago – these were considered “new media”. They are now essentials for doing business. Event marketing needs to progress to match the communication preferences of today’s member. Understanding, evaluating and figuring out ways to embrace emerging methods is essential for attracting and keeping new members. Its not just technology, it’s a different attitude about communication, changing from top-down to peer-sharing. Social, mobile, tablets, apps, video, text and more are all part of the new communication landscape.
Take the time to think about where your members spend their time and how you can interact with them when they are most receptive, interested and ready to sign up.