Now more than ever, associations must shift the way they communicate to their audiences.
Associations had just put their marketing strategies into place for 2020 when the pandemic caused rapid chaos. As the weeks go by, change has remained the only constant and our ability to adapt continues to be tested. What can you do to keep pace? Here are a few ways to pivot your marketing strategy during global disruption.
Start with your audience
The foundation of any strategic transformation should begin with collecting information from your members. Take a step back and listen to the conversations they are having. What they need now will be different than what they need in a month, a week or even a day, so this requires ongoing observation. For instance, in a recent webinar, Worldata described the transformation of messaging that audiences were seeking as “caring and compassionate” only a month ago. A mindset that changed into “I’m so bored, I’ll read anything” two weeks ago, and currently to “you better have something good to show me.”
Your members are going through the motions of processing a new normal. They might be seeking practical resources and information, social connection or escapism. Avoid making assumptions. Confirm you are meeting their needs in this unprecedented environment by asking, exploring and identifying what will be most helpful — now and in the near future.
Reimagine your content strategy
Organizations are grappling with challenges like creating connection without in-person interactions and delivering engaging content in a solely virtual medium. It is essential to translate the value your audience needs into accessible resources.
This might require your marketing team and subject matter experts to find new ways to connect and share information. For example, if your strongest value is conferences and forums, create an online space to foster the connections and discussions that usually happen at live events.
Remember what was working before won’t necessarily work now. Pinpoint specific member needs and create content to support them — even if that means experimenting with new mediums. Do they need a white paper report, or do they need a series of 30-second videos? Push your creative boundaries by considering what would engage and support your audiences the most.
Review and revise your resources
Direct email marketing is experiencing an uptick. Worldata reported that in April, emails with shorter subject lines had higher open rates and emails with less characters had higher click rates. Readers want to get to the point. So in addition to reimagining your content strategy, you will need to communicate its value clearly.
Audit your offerings and identify the resources that can help your audience in the short term, while temporarily putting less relevant resources on hold. Content marketing doesn’t mean having the most robust resources on hand. Don’t overthink it. Now is the time to focus on providing the best possible value to your audience and making the most of your resources — even if they are currently limited.
Remember, we are all in the process of overcoming a chaotic moment. Your audiences are looking for guidance, connection and authenticity. Now more than ever it’s important to address their evolving needs.
Our colleague and senior vice president of McKinley’s marketing solutions, Tracy Talbot, will host a webinar expanding on ways to pivot your marketing strategy during global disruption, Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m. EST. Join her, as well as Loretta Cranbourne, Managing Director of ASCE, and Ron Rosenbaum, Chief Global Marketing & Business Development Officer of ASIS, for an in-depth discussion on:
- Adapting your marketing
- Strengthening your membership proposition
- Increasing the effectiveness of your messaging
- Shifting your priorities
- Measuring success
- And more