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What’s a Social Media Brand Ambassador Program?

Your long-term clients know the ins and outs of your services, and they may serve as referral sources. But have you thought about how your dedicated clients can support your brand on social media?

Social media is a powerful tool that can help your firm generate quality leads, and it should be part of your business development strategy moving forward. One way to have social media support your firm’s branding process is to incorporate brand ambassadors to further your social reach. Ambassadors speak highly of your brand, services and events on their own social media channels. They can provide quick shout-outs to your firm or association, highlight upcoming events or timely services, and recommend your brand to their social media followers.

Here are three key elements to start building your own brand ambassador network to generate quality leads.

Who ‘Likes’ you?

On your social media channels, you may notice certain individuals who are consistently ‘liking’ or sharing your posts. This is one easy way to identify who is naturally falling into a brand ambassador role for your firm or association.

Check out your @mentions, post likes and comments to see who is already promoting your brand. You can also see who is using any of your company or industry-related #hashtags. If there is a particular client that you routinely recognize on your social media channels, chances are they would be a good candidate to become a brand ambassador.

Maybe you’ve noticed that people who ‘like’ you on social media and share your content are mostly employees of your company. Some of your employees should be brand ambassadors based on their public reputation or status. While you will have employees that you encourage to share information about your brand on social media, it’s also important to have a dedicated client serve as a social media brand ambassador to give a unique perspective to your services and products. Having a mix of perspectives allows you to speak to different audiences, which can help gain new referrals.

VIDEO: WHY YOUR NEW LEADERS SHOULD GET BRAND TRAINING

Remember, when your employees are active on social media, touch base with them to make sure their personal channels are professional representations of your brand with up-to-date competitive messaging. Review your social media policy with them

Criteria for Brand Ambassadors

You don’t want just anyone, even if they do engage with your content, to become your brand ambassador. Think about these key factors when determining who you want to represent your brand on social media.

  • Current Social Media Following Are their followers your target audience? If not, they are not a good brand ambassador for your firm. Also look at the size of their social media following, how their audience engages with their posts and if they naturally use a tone that you think fits your brand.
  • Dedicated Client or Referral Source Can they speak specifically to your service experience? Make sure an ambassador you select knows all the ins and outs. It’s much easier for you and your future ambassador to already be familiar with your brand instead of teaching or training them. This also makes their promotional efforts more authentic.
  • Networking Opportunities ­­– Make sure your brand ambassadors have networking opportunities on social media. Chat with your brand ambassadors about what social media networking groups they participate in and how your brand or service could be shared amongst those groups.

Guidelines to Move Forward

Since the brand ambassadors you’ve identified already understand your firm or association, you may not feel like you have to tailor specific messages for them. But being clear about how you can work with each other will help you avoid misrepresenting your messages or brand on social. Here are a few tips for professional service firms and associations to build long-term relationships with brand ambassadors.

  • Regularly discuss topics or upcoming events that you would like to see brand ambassadors promote. Here are a few examples of how your services or events could be shared on their personal social pages:

“If you missed ABC Construction’s webinar today on land surveying, you definitely want to watch the recording! I learned so much about the process and plan to share many take-aways with my own team. Here’s the link: [insert link to recording]”

“Planning for my individual and small business tax returns was made easy this year because of the counsel I received from 123 Accounting. Check them out for expert advice! [insert link to company homepage]”

  • Clearly identify how often you would like your brand ambassadors to be promoting your brand. Maybe set a standard of two posts a month.
  • Give back to your brand ambassadors! Offer a free service, conference registration or webinar to thank them for promoting your brand on their personal social media channels.
  • Create a ‘thank you’ post from the firm’s social media account to publicly recognize them. This is an easy way to boost brand loyalty for your firm and the individual promoting your work.

Social media is a powerful way for potential clients or members to learn about your brand and services. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to share what’s going new at your firm or association. Learn more about how you can with your target audience through social media.


 

Video title slide for "Four Signs Your Website is Outdated".

Four Signs Your Website is Outdated

Is your website looking a little neglected? Regular maintenance to a website is critical to the functionality of your web pages, but also to your image and brand. Unfortunately, website maintenance doesn’t always happen like it should. In this video, graphic design consultant Robert Wasiluk describes four key areas of your website that should be updated regularly and how an outsourced website consultant may be able to help. Learn how!

Learn more about incorporating SEO into your website strategy.


If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

I have worked on a lot of websites, and one thing I notice is that the technical and visual aspects of websites can be neglected.

Sometimes you have an agreement with your web hosting provider to maintain the site with regular updates and back-ups.

and sometimes those updates don’t always happen like they should.

You need someone inside your firm who proactively reviews your site and makes sure that technical elements are reviewed and updated as needed.

If you don’t have someone inside the firm, then you need to schedule regular meetings with a outsourced website consultant to make sure it does happen.

Here are four areas to keep an eye on and ask about:

Number one. Core, plugins and themes. Your website has certain features that need updating or pages can start to look weird or don’t function right for visitors. You will start getting page and functionality errors, and your website can become vulnerable to malicious attacks. 

Number two. Old content. Do you have pages that no one visits? Check your web analytics to see where you have high bounce rates or outdated content that no one reads. You can hide or eliminate those pages to help with easier navigation and improve site speed.

Number three. Page load time. Sometimes your website will tell you when it needs replacing. It takes forever for pages to load. There are a number of reasons for slow load times, so this needs attention or you will start to lose visitors.

And number four. Overall design and first impression. Does your site use an old color scheme or dated stock photography that make visitors think you’re not modern enough to handle their needs?

With a home page refresh, you can send the right brand signals to new and current clients. Pay attention to your website image. 

It might need a makeover.

There are many other things that keep websites fresh and interesting, such as keyword and meta description updates. Let me know if you have questions about your site’s design and functionality. I’m here to help!


 

Office background with smart phone in orange color.

How referral sources influence your branding process

Office background with smart phone in orange color.

What is one of your favorite brands, and how did you get hooked on the product or service? It’s likely that word-of-mouth was your referral. Think about it! We talk about products and brands with our coworkers, family and friends all the time. Our loyalty to certain brands or products supports business development.

Here’s an example of brand loyalty and how referrals impact the branding process.

You and your family have always purchased Chevrolet vehicles. You decide to look for a fresh perspective and seek advice from a coworker for your next vehicle purchase. Based on their advice and feedback, you purchase a new Ford SUV.

You end up loving the new amenities and low-maintenance fees the Ford SUV provides. Your brand loyalty has changed! You plan to inform your family members of how much you’re enjoying your Ford vehicle, knowing their brand loyalty could switch just like yours did.

This is exactly what Ford wanted to happen! Building reliable vehicles that people want to talk about and share is all part of their branding process. This can be part of your brand loyalty process, too!

How can you build referral sources that ultimately support your business development strategy?

Engage with your current clients

One of the most efficient ways to attract future clients is to utilize your current client base, allowing them to tap into their networks for you. It’s likely that their business connections are also your target audience or potential referral base.

One way to encourage engaged conversation with your current clients is to offer a survey or assessment. Surveys provide an opportunity for you to better understand your clients, but also help your clients give you referral information directly.

READ: CREATE A SURVEY TO RECEIVE REFERRAL INFORMATION.

Make sure to follow up after you have received survey responses. This tells your clients that you appreciate the feedback. During this follow-up step, they may be more likely to make an email or personal introduction.

Tips to connect with referrals

Always collect your referral’s email address to easily follow up and connect. Frequent follow-ups allow you and your business to stay top of mind with your referral sources without taking up too much of their or your time.

Keep the emails focused on what’s new with your firm or association, what services or events you’re offering and the ways you can assist them with their own clients. Your goal is to show your clients that you care and by doing so you will build brand loyalty through these emails and keep your firm top of mind.

What happens next?

You received referral contact information, engaged with those referrals, and now they have started working with you. Hooray! You have reached your goal. Or have you?

The process isn’t complete just yet. Give the referral source a quick phone call or write a personal note, thanking them for their referral. Better yet, depending on the size of the prospect they referred you, you may want to send them a gift such as a gift card, a bottle of wine or something they would enjoy. This is a great way to increase brand loyalty even further and start the referral process all over again.

Ultimately, if you can refer business back to your referral sources, that’s a slam-dunk branding gift that they will remember the next time their clients have a need!

Over time, you will see the trickle effect of your referral program! Your new clients will begin to share their own referrals, which can further establish your brand positioning.

Want to learn more about adding partnerships and referral sources into your brand positioning strategy? Read this blog post for tips.


Make Your Marketing Strategy Personal

Positivity may be the secret ingredient to jumpstart your creative marketing strategy. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others? In this video Communications Consultant Christine Nelson talks through a few creative marketing ideas that can refresh your personal connection with clients or members.

Borrow these ideas to inspire your conversations and marketing strategy, and make marketing personal!


If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

Are you tired of reading? No really. Every day you get tons of emails and reminders and texts that want your attention. Maybe you’ve started to delete everything.

Well, that’s probably what your clients and potential clients are doing or want to do, too. With this in mind, take the opportunity to get more creative with your marketing. It can start with a dose of positivity!

Think about it. How can your firm or association brighten the day for others?

Here are a few ideas to make your marketing more creative, but also more human focused:

Send a handwritten note to say how much you value a client’s business or a member’s contributions.

You can also change up your regular newsletters or correspondence by including tips for making life easier. A simple work hack or life balance tip is always appreciated.

How about picking up the phone? If you’ve done too many videoconferences in a row, change it up and suggest a short phone call to focus on active listening. 

How about creating a video that demonstrates how several of your team members are volunteering for a great cause. Share it on social for more engagement with your followers. You could also create a challenge or contest that everyone can participate in!

Looking ahead, are there new, ancillary services you can offer that support personal connection with clients or members? How about, in addition to quarterly check-ins, a quarterly business vision mapping or marketing component to help them focus on new possibilities?

Your own team or a facilitator can support these forward-focused conversations.   Help people imagine a bigger, satisfying future while you work with them on solutions for today’s challenges.

Now I’m sure you can find many ways to bring hope and inspiration to your clients and members. But if you need more ideas, connect with me at Ingenuity!


 

Illustration of a magnet attracting potential customers.

3 Lead Generation Tactics to Attract Quality Leads

Illustration of a magnet attracting potential customers.
One thing is certain — things don’t always go as planned. Adding a few new elements into your business development strategy may be the push that helps your professional services firm attract quality leads during times of disruption.    
 
We get it! Certain goals get pushed aside during a busy season, during the acquisition of a new company, and when a global pandemic strikes. The good news is that these disruptions present business development opportunities for attracting more people to your brand and message. Here are a few small, but effective lead generation tactics to continue receiving referrals and gaining new business during disruption.
 
  • Host a virtual event
  • Create a referral reward program
  • Create an online assessment
 
While the world continues to demand opportunities to connect virtually, how can this be an advantage to attract new business? The chance to attract quality leads through virtual or online platforms becomes increasingly important when turning those leads into returning clients. This is true not only for CPA firms, but equally applies to other service organizations, including those in charge of marketing for an association, as well as legal professionals and engineering firms.

HOST A VIRTUAL EVENT.

A computer screen showing a virtual meeting.Creating an event for current and potential clients to see what your team has been up to, or where you’re headed, is a great way to encourage engagement with your firm. Offer a workshop or webinar where your clients can learn more about your organization and industry trends. Hosting a virtual event provides the opportunity to stand out as an industry thought leader! Invite speakers to join your event who have a deep insight into certain topics that will get your crowd buzzing on the new content.
 
To reach a magnitude of people, promote this event through your firm’s website, social channels, newsletter and blog. Hosting virtual events may influence even more people than is possible hosting similar events in person. Take advantage of the current trend to go virtual to reach even more people and gain trust from quality leads.
 
Don’t forget to press “record” when hosting your virtual events. Save this content and recycle it  to attract another round of quality leads.
 

CREATE A REFERRAL REWARD PROGRAM.

Reward ribbon with star in the center.Put your current clients or referral sources in a position to easily refer new leads and promote your brand through a referral reward program. New potential clients value and trust recommendations from their friends or colleagues, so encourage existing clients to spread the word about your brand. Referral reward programs can be short or long-term and are wildly effective.
 
Creating a referral reward program is not only a great way to gain new clients, but can also increase participation for an upcoming webinar or virtual event. Offer up an incentive to your clients to invite a friend, such as a special drawing at an upcoming virtual event, to encourage current clients to recruit new business leads on your behalf. Think of what types of initiatives make the most sense with your industry or organization and will keep clients and referral sources engaged in helping your firm or organization. While it is unlikely these new webinar recruits will instantly become new clients, they will be excellent new additions to keep your lead generation funnel filled with qualified, engaged potential clients.
 
Continue to introduce new incentives and new content for other professionals to refer their clients and friends to you. Don’t forget that the best incentive for people to send referrals is when you refer a potential client to them, too! Work on your cross-referral relationships to support each other in new business growth. 

GET TO KNOW YOUR LEADS.

Creating a business development strategy around a new referral program or virtual event presents exciting opportunities for your firm to learn more about potential future clients. When obtaining information from referred leads, make sure to ask them questions about themselves. Asking questions helps you gain information to keep them coming back for more. Here are a few ways to throw short, effective assessments into your business development strategy:
 
  • Create polls in your virtual webinar series or workshops
  • Add questionnaires at the end of presentations to see what topics people would like to hear about in the future
  • Add short survey questions into your email or newsletter blasts to learn more about your leads and loyal clients
  • Build a web assessment that is industry focused and invites visitors to self-qualify their need for services by identifying their biggest challenges or pains. 
 
With your goals in mind, ask questions that will lead you to information that supports follow-up conversations with leads and prospects. Over time you will also have the opportunity to show how you’ve changed your business development strategy and produced new content based on how your clients and prospects answer your questions and assessments. This demonstrates to your clients that you’re listening. You are building a positive reputation that supports an effective lead generation funnel even during times of disruption.
 
Remember to always collect an email address! Having an email address provides the opportunity to stay connected to quality leads through email campaigns and newsletter blasts. Your leads can stay connected to the events and content you produce until they are ready to work with you. Sending your content through email and social media will also help your brand stay top-of-mind as a thought leader in the industry. 
 
 
Looking for more advice on developing a strong business development strategy? Let’s schedule a conversation to see how we can help. 

Man opening shirt to reveal superhero costume with the words "CAS" on his chest.

Accounting Niche Marketing Strategy for CAS

Man opening shirt to reveal superhero costume with the words "CAS" on his chest.
Recently, we had the opportunity to develop a Client Accounting Services (CAS) business toolkit for public accounting firms. It was designed with best practices to help firm leaders get their ducks in a row to launch or grow a CAS practice.
 
Some firms get by with offering a version of CAS without proactively branding and marketing it. That’s fine if you don’t believe it can be a true profit center. However, industry advocates such as AICPA and firm leaders who formally pursue CAS experience faster growth and client retention. That’s because the whole firm participates, and their clients experience the real value and benefits of outsourcing their accounting and CFO functions. 
 
In fact, the AICPA has reported that CAS practices that surpass the $2 million mark are different because they have dedicated staff (from accountant to partner level), and the firm actively offers these services to current and new clients…they market it.*  
 
Here is what we learned when discussing niche-marketing strategies with the recipients of our CAS business toolkit: It needs to be treated like a real niche practice. And that means it needs: 
 
  • Staffing and budgeting;
  • Technology investment;
  • Consistent marketing, and 
  • A team trained to talk about its value and benefit to clients. 
Often, firms get hung up in the marketing component because they assume that clients just know that they offer QuickBooks ProAdvisor team or outsourced accounting or controllership services. After all, they are a public accounting firm! But CAS is not your grandfather’s accounting service. 

Know Your Target Audience

  • Prospects – cold to warm
  • Existing clients – warm to hot
  • Referral sources – cold to warm
Who are your prospective CAS clients? What is the size and characteristic of a business that will find outsourced CAS appealing? Detail out the kind of client you want who will bring you $3,000-$7,000 a month as a baseline. 
 
Determine referral sources that can send clients to you. Next, create a plan with talking points about why CAS is the right fit for many of your existing clients. 

Build Your CAS Niche Marketing Strategy

Set a financial and staffing goal for your practice. Where do you want to grow the practice in 12 months to 3 years? 
 
Take that goal and break it down into measurable objectives for brand visibility, growth among existing clients and attraction of new CAS-specific clients. What marketing activities will you need to reach these objectives? 
 
To succeed, someone has to take the lead on marketing and measuring your progress toward these objectives and firm goals. Your partners and technical people are too busy serving clients. They need a guide and ongoing activities to support practice growth. 

Digital Marketing Agency Support

To make visibility with a CAS practice easier, take stock of your search engine optimization and website content. Are you actively seeking web visitors and leads for your CAS practice or leaving it up to chance? Leaving it up to chance means that your firm might pop up as a search result for CAS and it might not — even in your local market!
 
 
Make use of client stories and social media engagement to highlight your CAS team and their amazing knowledge that supports client goals every day. Do your research and ask for the business online as well as in person. What does that look like?
 
  • Offer CAS content subscriptions 
  • Produce webinars or videos to share CAS features
  • Create an assessment to attract prospects
  • Develop an FAQ resource
In the beginning, you don’t have to do all of these. Just pick one or two. When clients and potential clients can self-serve and qualify themselves for CAS services, you are halfway to closing the deal. But your audience has to know that the resources are there and available 24/7. Marketing and team training points them to it. 
 
Like clients who need CAS, your firm leadership may not all realize that outsourced marketing services can jumpstart your CAS practice growth. We are happy to answer your questions at Ingenuity. Contact Dawn Wagenaar for a consultation.  
 
 

Dice with social media icons on the top of them.

Social Engagement Article Published in National ASAE Magazine

Dice with social media icons on the top of them.

We contributed an article for Associations Now, the national magazine of ASAE. This is the primary publication for executives and leaders of professional associations.

Below is the article in its entirety, and you can also read it on the ASAE website.

Engage New and Potential Members Through Social Media

Social media has so thoroughly penetrated our daily lives that you may have put your social strategy on auto-pilot. That’s a mistake. Follow these tips to make sure you’re maximizing your reach and relevance among audiences that don’t yet know you well.

Social media is now baked into most associations’ communications strategies. Your active presence on social media helps your association appear higher in search results across the internet, which can lead to higher visitor engagement on your channels. But that’s not all. Content that is relevant and focused on the visitor also adds value to your new and potential association members—people you need to engage effectively to bring them fully into your community.

Put yourself in their shoes. Consider what social media content would capture your attention if you were a new member or prospect of your association. Build those topics and resources into your social strategy, whether it’s legislative news, event reminders, fun images of member involvement, or features and benefits of membership. Invite new members to follow your channels and explain the benefits, and then maintain a regular posting schedule of communications so they get in the habit of seeking your channels for timely and relevant information.

Your social media strategy should include posts on individual leader profiles. When key leaders comment on topics of interest to members, celebrate member achievements, or highlight resources of interest, this significantly expands your relevance to new members and reach to potential members. 

Conversely, less frequent posting and less engagement downgrades your social rank. if members don’t see your posts anymore, that’s not good.

Association Research Steps to Success

Here are a few more considerations for better engaging with your audience, adjusting your approach, or adding a new platform to maximize your visibility.

Know your audience. Address the pains and concerns of your prospects and members with a solution to solve their most pressing issues. To do this, ask yourself the following questions: What types of content resonate with them the most? Do they respond most to posts that highlight other members, or do they prefer topical articles or webinars and other event information?

Understand your current engagement. Conduct a regular analysis of your social media channels to identify the most effective channels and content. You may find that what works on LinkedIn does not generate the same engagement on Facebook or Twitter. Does your audience spend time on the social media platforms you are currently using? You will gain insights on how best to focus the strategy for each social channel if you dive into their specific analytics.

“When key leaders comment on topics of interest to members, celebrate member achievements or highlight resources of interest, this significantly expands your relevance to new members and reach to potential members.”

Be bold and try new things. If you are not sure about trying a new approach on Facebook or Instagram, test it out to see how your audience responds. Whether theylove it or it falls flat, you have tried something new and you now have clues on how to proceed.

Test out new content types. Posting links to your blog articles is great for your website’s search engine optimization, but adding a variety of content types can help capture the attention of your audience through their preferences. Some people prefer a video to a blog post. Some would rather listen to a podcast during their commute. 

Social Media Technical Tips

A few technical hacks can boost your success with social media. Create actionable and concise posts on your social media channels, but maximize your post character count, use appropriate hashtags, and tag members to expand your audience reach and post engagement. Hashtags and tagging can expand your reach beyond your own followers. These are searchable features on social media, and clicking on one will show all the posts on that social channel that use that specific hashtag.

The goal is not to be unique in your selection of hashtags, but to use common ones so you appear in the feeds of a broader industry or professional audience. The exception to this is if you are creating a hashtag that promotes your brand that you also want your members to use. Then your members can become your hashtag ambassadors.

When you tag new members, the posts can appear in the feeds of the members’ own connections. This tactic improves your brand awareness and could bring new prospects to your social channels. Additionally, when you tag others, they may return that action and tag you in their content. The more you engage with your social media followers by liking and commenting on their posts, the more they will engage with your association.

The one constant with social media is that it is constantly changing, with adjustments to search algorithms, user tools, and channel layouts. World and economic events may also necessitate fresh approaches to your social communications as you advance your strategy. Be the social resource your members and prospects turn to and prefer.


Speaking of a preferred association, we had a lot of fun with this branding project for the Wood Component Manufacturers Association. See our Work here.

You may also be interested in this video with 4 Ideas for Association Marketing.  

 

Car wheel spinning, stuck in the mud,.

Professional Services Marketing Ideas When You’re in a Rut

Car wheel spinning, stuck in the mud,.

If you’ve been doing the same marketing and content too long, here are three signs. 

  • Your analytics are flat lining.
  • You yawn when reading your own copy.
  • In place of leads, you hear crickets.
We get it. Sometimes how you’ve always done it is easier. But if it’s no longer producing your desired results, why are you doing it? 
 
From newsletters to blog posts to eblasts, your professional services marketing can get stale. When you notice that fewer people open your communications or click through, it’s the biggest sign that you’ve lost your marketing mojo. 
 
Don’t be afraid to change it up. It may take you out of your comfort zone, but we guarantee that doing the same thing you’ve always done will bring you diminishing returns. Embrace creativity!

Try a new medium.

Review each way that you communicate with your audiences and assess it: 
 
  • Why does it exist and what is your goal?
  • Is it valuable content or simply filling space? 
  • Is the delivery vehicle right for your intended audience? 
  • What are your actual results? 
For those marketing activities that no longer bring you joy, wish them well and let them go. With your extra time and space, add a new medium such as a video blog or targeted digital ad campaign. Experiment with new forms of delivery to attract renewed interest. 
 
Don’t forget about your website. Page analytics will tell you if certain pages just aren’t supporting your strategy. Refresh those pages with new content or new layouts to attract visitors. Promote your new pages on social media. 

Play with time.

Have you noticed that LinkedIn lists the average length of time to read a blog post? It’s an invitation to spend 6 or 8 minutes and learn something new. 
 
Seize that call to action to vary the length of your posts and presentations. Add a few 2-minute posts under 250 words. Then add a few 12-minute posts. Try a 30-minute or a 60-minute webinar. See if time makes a difference in the views you attract. Focus on ideal lengths of time, but keep it varied.

Introduce different voices.

We know it’s difficult to get more professionals in your firm or association to create content. But sometimes you focus too much on niche leaders or partners. Consider asking a younger professional to write a blog post or create a video. You may be surprised at the fresh variety that new voices add to your content on all channels.
 
It may require some training. Some people aren’t comfortable on camera, but they do warm up to it with practice. Others are naturals. Do some screen testing. Vary your content assignments and bylines to bring depth and interest to your marketing strategy. It’s also a great way to promote the depth of your team.

Maximize design.

Too often, we see marketing pieces that lack a balance between copy and design. People pick up on visual elements and color faster than words on the page or screen. But you also want the content to be clear and meaningful. Think about how to make your messaging more visual. Add fresh design or color to wake up your blog, videos, collateral or presentations. Redesigns should stay true to your visual brand, of course. Add a palette of secondary colors to expand your options. 
 
 
In proposals, elements such as graphs, flow charts, icons and other imagery can help your firm stand out in a competitive environment. You can maintain RFP/LOI requirements and also avoid the urge to stuff too much copy into a limited space. Color and bullet points, for example, help people notice copy and actually read your key ideas.
 
These are just a few ideas to get you out of a professional services marketing rut! Change your strategy as needed and maximize your results. You may also be interested in changing up your strategy through partnership and referral marketing. Read this blog post for tips.       

4 Ideas for Association Marketing Video Header

4 Ideas for your Association Marketing

Build your digital presence as a professional association by being a member resource as well as strategic with your marketing visibility. In this video for association marketing, Principal Dawn Wagenaar talks about four ways that professional association leaders and marketers can ramp up their outreach to existing and potential members.

It’s more important than ever to be visible to your audience online. Learn how.


Read the video transcript:

Association marketing is an exciting and challenging place to be, whether you are new to associations or a longtime leader.

The race to attract and retain members has ramped up. Many associations have also had significant leadership changes. The technology for marketing has also changed.

This presents an opportunity. And I want to introduce four ideas for you to consider in your association marketing. 

The first is a digital ad campaign. You have to approach it a little bit differently compared to print ads, but digital ads can work really well for attracting members.

For example, consider a LinkedIn ad campaign where you offer a valuable article or white paper when they click your ad. You can capture emails when the downloadable content is really enticing.

The second idea is DIY toolkits. Send an email that introduces a valuable toolkit to prospective and current members. The toolkit should help them navigate a common need or issue in their industry.

Here are two other ideas that kind of link together. It’s about going virtual.

You can set up virtual coffee meetings with potential members, and send them a coffee card to sweeten the deal. Or, expand your reach from a traditional conference or tradeshow and optimize virtual events. Take questions prior to the event to ensure livelier engagement. Book virtual “rooms” for small group discussion.

These are just a few ways to get creative with your association marketing. Call me at Ingenuity if you have questions or need help. 

See this related blog post about fostering brand loyalty. Don’t miss the link at the end!


Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

Supercharging your Marketing Strategies with Partnerships and Referrals

Businessman wearing cape with arm in air.

If you have built up a positive brand reputation for your professional services firm, partnership marketing and referral source marketing are two tactics you should consider making a part of your overall marketing strategy. When two brands come together for their mutual benefit, the results can be quite impressive and create new opportunities to reach prospective clients or members.

Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is simply when two brands collaborate on a marketing campaign. Some of the most common ways we are seeing this accomplished within professional service firms and associations is through co-hosted webinars, newsletter shout-outs and creating co-branded content such as whitepapers.

As you consider who to partner with, be strategic and make sure that there is a mutual benefit. Maybe you have a larger client list but the other partner has a magnetic and trusting personality that makes webinars fun. Or perhaps you have more expertise in an area and your marketing partner has a very engaged audience. Even if your partnership marketing efforts are a bit lopsided, that’s entirely okay. Sometimes it is worth it in order to forge the relationship and create loyalty.

The benefits of partnership marketing are many and include increased brand awareness through exposure beyond your primary audience, new contacts for your nurturing campaigns and lead generation. It is also an association and professional services marketing strategy that is low risk. You can dip your toes into the waters of partnership marketing to see what resonates with your target audience and quickly adjust your strategies with minimal investment or cost up front.

READ: Marketing to Real People in a Digital World

Referral Source Marketing

When we talk to our clients, we often find that they are neglecting their referral sources in their networking and marketing efforts. If you are not optimizing this source of business development, you may be missing out on some great prospective clients or members.

Whether you are just building your referral marketing strategies or need a refresher in how to implement it, here are a few tips to boost your efforts in this area.

First, identify referral sources that could send business your way. For CPA firms, this may include attorneys or financial advisors. For an association, this could be a nonprofit with a similar mission that complements yours. Make sure they understand what you do and what your ideal prospect looks like.

Next connect regularly with your referral sources. Create a schedule so that you are routinely calling or emailing them just to connect. The goal is to stay top-of-mind so they refer you when the opportunities arise.

Finally, when you receive referrals you appreciate, pick up the phone and let them know. Once you’ve done that, take it a step further and do something nice for them. You could send a referral their way, give them a recommendation or review or make another type of introduction that would be helpful to their business. Go out of your way to send the message that you appreciate their support in your success by contributing to theirs.

WATCH:How to Get More Referrals

Implementing partnership and referral source marketing into your strategies can help you build your brand awareness and connect with new potential clients or members. Give it a try and see what works for your professional service firm or association.

You may also be interested in how you can boost your virtual business development efforts to bridge the gap with lost face-to-face networking and tradeshow opportunities.