Three Marketing Objectives for 2017 Your Association Must Consider

 

Well it’s officially a new year, and we all know what that means; new year’s resolutions, packed gyms, new association budgets and lots and lots of goal setting. It’s an exciting time of year, but it can also be very stressful. After all, it’s the time of year where you start to plan and strategize on how you are going to build your association in the new year. If you truly think about it, the success or failure of your year begins now. Where are you going to allocate your budget? What new technologies or initiatives will your association focus on? There’s a lot that goes into it.

As you sit down to complete your yearly planning, there are a few goals that, if reached, can mean a very happy end of the year for you and your association. Here are three marketing objectives for 2017 that you must consider:

1) Go Mobile with Your Digital Presence

Let’s be real. It’s 2017, and if you haven’t already started to adjust your digital presence to be more mobile-friendly, you’re behind the times. It’s time you made your website, your blog, and any other online presence you maintain mobile-friendly. To survive in today’s digital landscape, you must enable your digital efforts to attract search engines and make them fall in love. If search engines don’t like your website or blog, your potential customers will never find them.

Here are three things you can do to make your site more search engine and mobile-friendly:

  • Use Responsive Design: Visitors use many different devices to access your website. Make sure to optimize your pages for large and small screens. This flexibility means that your site and its branding should remain intact for both a user with a brand new laptop or an old mobile phone. The site automatically detects the users’ screen size and adjusts accordingly.
  • Reduce image size to improve page load time: The time it takes for a webpage to display on a device is incredibly important. Page load time, as it’s called, can be slowed down by large images. Besides annoying your visitor, this can also hurt your search engine ranking. Do your best to keep images as small as possible (without impacting your layout) to allow browsers to load pages quickly. Setting image widths to 100% instead of a set pixel-width is a great way to accomplish this–just make sure your original image isn’t humongous.
  • Migrate your site to https: It’s no surprise that Google, Bing and Yahoo want your site to be secure, so they don’t send their visitors to bad sites. Google has publicly come out in support of this, stating that having your site on https does positively impact your search engine ranking (although it seems to be a small impact for now). There is a wealth of information about this topic online.

2) Double Your Social Media Reach

This one might be a little scary for some of you reading this. A lot of associations are already devoting more resources to this than they would like, but the truth is, it’s absolutely necessary. The feeling from your potential customers has moved quickly from “Oh, wow! They are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn,” to “They don’t even have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. There’s no way I’m doing business with them!”

It’s now expected that associations have a strong presence on social media. In fact, an active profile can be an amazing way for you to separate your organization from the competition. Don’t be afraid to show your association’s culture and the fun that people have at your association. Business is all about people, and social media is the perfect platform to show off the great people you have working with you. Try and double your followers, likes and comments in 2017.

3) Make It Easier for Clients/Customers to Reach You

Some marketers assume being on multiple platforms and having a website and a blog is sufficient. But to really be effective, marketers need to always be optimizing those channels. A common mistake is not trying to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to contact you. People shouldn’t have to search for your contact info or the best way to contact you at all. It should be easily found on each type of digital experience you offer.

Here are two ideas of how to accomplish this:

  • Add a “contact us” button to the bottom of your mobile experience that pops up on any page they visit on your website. They should not have to go to your contact us page to get a hold of you.
  • Add Live Chat to your website and blog. Give visitors to your website the opportunity to interact with a live person as soon as they’d like. You might even find you can convert leads to members faster. That’s an absolute must in the times of short attention spans.

Learn How to Analyze Your Association’s Website Like a Pro

5 Essential Google Analytics Reports to Uncover What’s Happening on Your Website

Understanding the value that your website brings to your association is nothing new or groundbreaking. Your website can truly make or break the success of your organization and the growth of your membership. One of the most commonly used (and free, might I add) website analytics is Google Analytics. It tracks just about every action on your website to help provide your association with valuable insight.

But, what do all the numbers and percentages mean? Unfortunately, most associations do not have data or analytical experts on staff to be able to analyze your data to unlock key strengths and weaknesses to improve your site. So having all of this data doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have someone on-staff or payroll to evaluate and understand it, right? Wrong! Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool that with some basic understanding, can unlock some incredible insights for your association.

 

Here are 5 essential Google Analytics reports to help you uncover what’s happening on your association’s website:

1. Bounce Rate

This is one of the most effective units of measurement in Google Analytics to identify major weaknesses on your site. The definition of a bounce rate straight from Google is “the percentage of single-page visits.” In layman’s terms, this is when someone comes to any page on your site, from anywhere on the internet, and then leaves without visiting another page. It’s truly the measure of the quality of visit the visitor had.

Why is this important? Each page on your site should contain unique content that interests people to keep reading. Whether they want to learn more about your association, the benefits of being a member, or how to become one, the language and links on the page should encourage them to stay for a while. If you notice that certain pages have very high bounce rates, look for ways to keep them on the site longer by adding links to other similar pages, converting them via some type of form, or directing them to a resources page where visitors tend to stay a bit longer.

Bonus: Many people ask what a “good” bounce rate is, and there is no single answer. Obviously, the lower your bounce rate is, the better. But, there is no magic number that every website should be under because every industry is different

 

2. Acquisition

Knowing where your traffic is coming from is also very important. Where are your potential new members finding your association’s website is essential to knowing what’s working in your digital marketing channels, and what is not. Are search engines your largest source of traffic, or maybe referral traffic (traffic from other websites)?

Why is this important? It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from so you can get an idea of the success of your overall digital marketing campaigns. Are you using paid ads or paying someone to optimize your content for Search Engine Optimization? Then this is where you’ll see your return on investment. Maybe you notice that you get a lot of traffic from another association. That’s a great way to form partnerships in order to grow your membership.

 

3. Search Engine Optimization (soon to be Search Console)

SEO is one of the most misunderstood, yet most advantageous forms of inbound marketing that any association can seek. The content your association holds so much value in means nothing if people can’t find it. Knowing the basics of optimizing your content so it’s easily findable and interesting can be the difference between showing value to prospective members and falling short. Analytics is now improving this report by including how your organic traffic performs when measured by any number of dimensions, but just the impressions, clicks, etc.

Why is this important? Knowing how much reach your content marketing is having is huge. If you have staff spending time creating content and/or working on new website content, this is a true indicator of your return on investment. There are literally hundreds of millions of searches each day worldwide, so why wouldn’t you want to measure how many of those are for keywords, products, or topics that are important to your association?

 

4. Behavior – Site Content

This report allows you to see the top pages on your website. Typically the number one page will be your homepage, but it’s really interesting to see which pages get the most traffic. Quickly see a list of your top pages and their respective data to give you some pretty simple insights to the quality of your page content.

Why is this important? This can give you a great idea of what value people are currently getting out of your site. It gives you an idea of topics that you might want to start creating more content for since you attract so many people who are interested to it. Or on the contrary, if a page you’d love to have a lot of traffic to, but don’t currently, you can come up with a plan to build new or better content for it.

 

5. Mobile

We all know with the drastic increase in how people use mobile devices to browse the internet has changed the way websites are built. Being able to give your mobile visitors the same quality of experience as those on desktops is absolutely essential to your website’s success.

Why is this important? Keep an eye on how data like bounce rate and time on site differ from those who visit your site via desktops. It will be a great way to quickly tell if your site is set up in a way that makes it easy for mobile visitors to search around and find what they’re looking for. If you see high bounce rates or low time on site from mobile devices, it’s time for a redesign. Always remember to redesign with “mobile first” in mind.