In the world of business, including trade associations and professional associations, it may seem as though a large budget is the key to success. In fact, it makes sense, right? The more money your association has, the more marketing, advertising, outreach, and research it can do. While it's certainly true that more money can mean more prospects, there is a variable involved that too few associations leverage: Creativity.
What Can You Do With a Smaller Budget?
If you have a smaller prospecting or recruiting budget, you may be asking what your association can do to drive membership. At first, it may seem daunting, but the Internet offers so many free or low-cost opportunities. For example, social media. While it's true that you can pay to have sponsored posts displayed on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, why not just offer honest, relevant, and valuable content to build a following?
These days, people are completely inundated with advertising for no good reason at all. Click on a video? Watch an ad. Visit a website? Get besieged by ads before the content is even displayed. Cut through that clutter by regularly updating your social media accounts with real, useful info, and then include a short call-to-action that directs visitors to your association's webpage.
Form a Partnership With an Emerging or Existing Organization
Another way to draw attention to your association on a limited budget is to form partnerships with other associations, businesses, or organizations. Think about it: Your association is looking for members, and a related business is interested in marketing itself to qualified candidates for open positions in your shared industry. Why not partner with one another to sponsor an event?
An example of this might be where your association caters to professionals in the food services industry. You then seek out businesses that provide such services, and collectively, you pool your resources and sponsor a hot dog eating contest, burger eating contest, or taco eating contest. Part of the sponsorship could even be paid for by participant entry fees or crowd attendance fees.
In the end, it could be advertised through local television news, newspapers, blogs, social media, and more. Of course, all of which have your associations name, contact information, and mission attached. The best part is, you get the food service provider to offer the actual food while you handle the marketing.
Create Evergreen Content
Creating useful, valuable, and relevant content can seem like it takes an army of trained content providers working seven days a week, but if you create evergreen content, not only can you keep people coming back over and over, but you can attract new association members. Evergreen content is essentially content that withstands the test of time. This content, whether it be comprised of text, video, animation, or interactive media, is something that stands true no matter how old it is. By creating and distributing evergreen content, you'll have a better chance of enticing potential association members throughout the years instead of days or weeks.