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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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Five ways your association can think outside the box

Posted by Sarah Hill

We always say there’s an association for everything. For that reason, you may run into some “competition” with your events. Maybe the competition isn’t another group, but just the sofa after work. So how do you stay “competitive” these days? The answer is simple: think outside the box. Routine meetings and the same old events are a great way to bore your members and they won’t do much for recruiting new ones.

Outside the box thinking for your association

1)   Read, read, read

Your local paper is probably part of your regular reading routine, but try branching out. Spend an hour here and there reading blogs that are different from your usual routine, or even pick up a different periodical next time you’re at the airport. Be sure to read the letters to the editor, advice question, and article comments to get even more ideas and opinions.


2)   Pop it up with pop culture

You perk up and pay attention when your favorite shows and songs are mentioned in conversation, so why wouldn’t that work for your association’s communications? Mailings and even whole meetings can be based around a fun pop culture theme. It’ll be a refreshing way to expand your horizons and definitely more likely to get a response.


3)   Listen to everyone (from your teenage daughter to your retired aunt)

It’s all about buzz. Your members likely are or want to appeal to a wide range of people, so it’s important to find out what people are talking about. Start at the water cooler and move outward. Listen to the buzz and chatter. Not only will you have something to share when you interact, but you may get some good ideas that are off the beaten path.


4)   See what works on social media

Social media should be your wall where you toss everything and see what sticks. As long as it’s not too crazy (you don’t want to turn people off and cause them to stop following you) you should be able to test out some ideas and see what resonates. If you’re trying for a different meeting type, tweet it or post it on Facebook and see what kind of response you get. If it’s dead, then it probably doesn’t resonate.


5)   Join or audit another group

Check out a similar association in your area (if there is one) or online. See what’s working for them: which tweets and Facebook posts get the most response, which events and meetings are generating the most buzz. Be sure to give them a shout out if you “borrow” one of their ideas!


Outside the box thinking is key to making your association a unique, successful, and growing one. Try some of these tips as soon as you can, and see what works for you!

Topics: association management, association leadership, small staff association

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