4 Reasons Why Inbound Marketing Makes Sense for Associations

tuning out

tuning outAlthough the general marketing world is starting to adopt inbound marketing, there seems to be little discussion or evidence that the association world is aware of this new marketing methodology. However, there are myriad benefits to implementing inbound marketing.

Here are four reasons why you need to consider inbound for your association.

1. Members are starting to tune you out

Traditional marketing techniques are no longer working. There are 200 million people on the Do No Call list. 91% of subscribers unsubscribe from emails. 44% of direct mail is never opened. 86% of viewers skip TV ads. Cold calling, cold emails, interruptive advertising are all marketer centric. We all struggle with over-communicating with members (especially through email). In the end, spray and pray is not a marketing strategy.

2. Inbound is content-heavy

Associations are great content creators. Members want relevant content and inbound marketing focuses on creating educational content that pulls members (and prospects) to your website where they can learn more about your association. Inbound leverages blogs, photos, infographics, videos, podcasts, presentations, white papers, ebooks, education, etc. Associations have a plethora of content at our disposal that is both staff-generated and member-generated.

The key change with inbound is that we now attract members and prospects through search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research and optimization, on-page SEO, blogging, etc. instead of spamming them with emails. Once visitors are attracted to our sites we can them capture more information about them through calls-to-action, landing pages, and forms. Inbound is content-heavy and member-centric and associations are primed for this new methodology.

3. Improved member experience thru personalization

We already know many of our members and we’ve already collected multitudes of information about them through event registration, membership applications, blog subscriptions, product purchases, etc.

So, unlike for-profits that attract complete strangers to their websites, we have a HUGE head start. We can use this information to provide tailored content based on member (or prospect) needs. For example, a member may only see member pricing for a product or event. Or the homepage welcome message may include their name, messaging specific to their role, or calls-to-action specifically designed to them.

It’s no longer one-to-many communication but one-to-one. This can build closer ties with our members, position the association as more relevant, and deliver a better overall member experience.

4. Inbound marketing is measurable

Inbound is a data-driven approach to marketing that allows marketers to better measure their tactics and focus on what works (instead of hoping and wondering).

Inbound marketing is more effective. According to Hubspot inbound generates 54% more leads than outbound and costs 61% less. At ERA we are already seeing the cost savings. We’ve nearly abandoned print advertising and shifted dollars to inbound marketing and content creation – and our blog visits have skyrocketed.

What do you think? Is inbound right for associations? Why are so few associations embracing and experimenting with inbound marketing?

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net.

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