What do you suppose was the first thing I did when considering whether or not to join a professional organization? I asked current members for their thoughts on the value of membership. That’s what.
Marketing Incorporated’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarking Report states that word of mouth and email are the two most preferred marketing channels for associations. You can control email easily enough, but what are you doing about word of mouth?
Word of mouth is huge today; it’s huge for my generation. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t easily access my friends’ or family’s opinion quickly, and now it’s even faster with my smartphone. Just last week I texted my sister a photo of the dress I was thinking about buying, had her thoughts on it within 30 seconds. I didn’t buy it.
Word of mouth is powerful. Make sure it’s working in your favor. Use it to bring in new members.
Want people spreading your message? Marketing Profs talk about the five Ts of word of mouth marketing: talkers, topics, tools, taking part, tracking.
Talkers are influencers, the people who will be most likely to share your message. Identify which of your association members are already blogging or tweeting about your organization. Encourage them.
Your topic is your message. What do you want people hearing about your organization? Draft talking points. Make it easy to remember and share. When everyone is asking about the most recent fill-in-the-blank, your members will know what to say.
You don’t need a mouth to talk. How about a blog, a tweet, a Facebook post. Want influencers to talk about your event? Create a hashtag or post shareable links and information.
It’s your organization, you should definitely be part of the conversation. Use the hashtag you create, share blogs and Facebook posts personally and add your individual thoughts. If you don’t want to talk about it, what makes you think anyone else does?
Pay attention to what’s being said about your association online. If you don’t like the conversation, address it. If the conversation is unpleasant, it’s not the word of mouth marketing that’s going to bring in new members.
With social media, online forums, blogs and Gen Y needing to be sure everyone agrees before making a decision, word of mouth marketing is vital for growing your membership.
We know it’s one of your favorite marketing channels, so you tell us; how are you using word of mouth to recruit new members?
Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?