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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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Member Recruitment Tactics: Is Paid Digital Marketing the New Direct Mail?

Posted by Callie Walker

Paid Digital Marketing

What marketing channels does your association use to recruit new members? Of those channels, which ones are the most successful?

Marketing General Incorporated asked association professionals that same question in their 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, and the top three channels that get the most new members are:

  • Word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Email
  • Promotion to/at your own conferences/trade shows

Now that may not come as a surprise to you, but this little insight might: According to that same study, 12 percent of associations consider digital marketing to be one of the most effective channels for acquiring new members. And of those associations that use digital marketing effectively, paid Facebook advertising and remarketing (Facebook, AdRoll, and Google) are the most effective methods.

That begs the question: Should your association be utilizing paid digital marketing? Well, considering that your advertising budget doesn’t have to be big (we’ve seen successful campaigns for as little as $10 - $20) and other associations are reporting success, it’s definitely worth a shot.

So how exactly do you advertise on Facebook? Well good news! It’s actually quite easy. Below is a step-by-step guide, should you be interested in giving it a shot:

Step 1: Choose your objective

Facebook WANTS you to be successful, so the first step in creating an ad is selecting your marketing objective. (Options range from brand awareness and reach to lead generation and conversions.)

Note: If you’re trying to recruit new members, you’ll likely want to select brand awareness.

Step 2: Define your audience

Next, you’ll need to define who you’d like to target with this ad. You’ll want to select a location, age range, gender, and possibly even specific interests (for example, higher education), if you can identify those.

Pro tip: If you want to take your targeting up a notch, you may even want to create what Facebook calls a “lookalike list.” Basically, you’d upload a list of your members (and possibly even prospects), and Facebook would create a list that mirrors the contacts you uploaded (similar ages, occupations, etc.) Remember, Facebook knows a LOT about people, so it’s easy for them to pull people based on very specific criteria.

Step 3: Determine your placements

Believe it or not, Facebook ads aren’t limited to Facebook alone. You can choose to run them in other places as well, such as Stories, Messenger, and Instagram.

Suggestion: If this is your first time experimenting with Facebook ads, start with Facebook alone. Then experiment with other platforms once you’ve identified what works.

Step 4: Set your budget and schedule

This is when you’ll identify when you want to run your ad and how much you’re willing to spend. You can either select a daily budget or a lifetime budget (for example, no more than $35). And like we mentioned earlier, your campaigns don’t have to be expensive. You can start off with a $10 campaign just to test the waters, if you’d like.

Step 5: Create the ad

Ok, time to get creative! Next, you’ll choose what you want your ad to look like (the format, text, image, URL, etc.). You can even select a call-to-action button, such as “Learn more,” and guide prospects to your association’s website.

Once your ad looks like the way you’d like it to, click confirm! But remember: Be sure to check your ad at least daily to see how it’s performing. Achieving success may require a little trial and error, but don’t worry, you’ll get there!

Want more tips for marketing your association - through your website, social media, word-of-mouth, etc.? Check out our free Guide to Association Marketing below!

The Small-Staff Guide to Association Marketing  How to spread the word about your association Download this guide

Topics: social media for associations, Association Views, marketing

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