Associations are thinking about competition more than ever before and, more specifically, about competing in a digital world. I’ve got news for you: the internet is not going away and it’s your biggest competitor. Competing for attention, time and dollars, is one of the biggest challenges facing associations and business alike. The internet is the biggest deal since the printing press and smart phones are the new television. You can broadcast live right now, if you want to. Associations need to embrace these new technologies and use them to compete in today’s world and set themselves up for success for what’s to come tomorrow and beyond.
This new digital age of communication is set up for organic, new, fast-moving, and authentic communications. It means you have no choice but to do it. And you have to do it at scale; that’s the challenge that many of our organizations run into. We’re used to controlled, stay-on-message, respond, chain of command. These characteristics are the antithesis of communicating in today’s digital world.
People are on their phone at all times and they can broadcast their thoughts immediately whether it’s a Tweet or a Facebook Live video. Think about the power of going to Capitol Hill with your members and doing Facebook Live about their experiences. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to hear a member say something a little bit different than what you might expect? The upside is you’re showing value in real time. That’s what’s really important.
My challenge to you is to loosen the rope. Give yourself some bandwidth to innovate, to experiment, to try some new things, to do some live videos, to start a podcast. Launch it this year. Launch it now!
I’ve got so many association clients that are wringing their hands about e-mail open rates, wringing their hands about a newsletter, wringing their hands about a magazine and the business model behind it. Yet, they have no live video, they don’t have a YouTube channel, they don’t have a podcast. They’re looking backwards! The ability to look forward is an opportunity to embrace this new methodology.
Here’s the other benefit of embracing digital communications: we need to be proactive in reaching the member of the future, reaching the members of our association that may be coming up the management ranks right now. They’re not thinking about, “Man, the magazine’s is great!” They’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, look at what they’re doing on all these new platforms?!” They’re looking for, and expecting you to, reach them where they are.
You have to be where your members are and are going if you want to get new demographics, if you want to get new members, if you want to meet the up-and-coming folks that are in your industry. They’re mobile, they’re digital first, they’re watching videos and listening to podcasts. That’s where they are and if you want to reach them, that’s where you need to put your content. It’s that simple.
Let me give you a story about our company. About three years ago we started blogging at scale, doing live videos, and podcasting. Take a moment to browse our website to find tons of resources on how we do it.
And, by the way, we are a small company. We are smaller than most associations. We were able to all of these things in a scalable way. Here’s what it’s done to our business: 34% top-line revenue growth and more inbound requests for our services than ever before. People are asking about what we do and the services we provide more than ever before. Our pipeline has grown and the time to close a deal has decreased almost 25%. Why? Because our prospects are aware and they are familiar with what we do. We have been able to build our brand in a very positive way by giving away content for free as much as possible on as many platforms as we can get our hands on.
So, that’s how to compete. Take it from a small business person that services associations, and also joins associations, that’s the way to win in this digital world.
Want to learn more about how we scale our content or how we can help with your digital marketing efforts? Reach out to Mike Thomas and he’ll be happy to provide guidance and to see how The Moery Company can help you grow in 2020.
NAM January 2020 Event | National Association of Manufacturers | NAM Council of Manufacturing Associations: 2020 Winter Leadership Conference, West Palm Beach, FL, Jan. 7-9, 2020