4 Ways Inbound Marketing Can Impact your Association's Bottom Line

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM

A decade ago marketers leveraged tactics like direct mail, buying email lists and banner ads to generate revenue with marketing activities. And while dated, these tactics still provide a sense of security for even the largest of companies.

For example, at a previous company I worked on a huge telecommunications account. This client leveraged direct mail for acquisition and upsell purposes successfully for a long time. Gradually though, that “success” seemed to be more about security and predictability. Because they had done it for so long they knew that mailing X direct mail pieces would generate Y phone calls and ultimately Z dollars in revenue. So while the returns very slowly dwindled, the security of that knowledge seemed to make up for the lack of gangbuster results.

It feels like that same phenomenon is in place with email. And while email marketing isn’t going away - in fact it’s millennial’s preferred channel of communication for b2c brands, the way we use it is changing. So email marketing is predictable, safe and a known entity. You will continue to meet your numbers if you continue your same practices. Buy how do you blow last year’s numbers out of the water? Inbound marketing takes your current email marketing campaign, makes it smarter and more effective while also leveraging your website, SEO and other channels and tactics to get the best ROI.

Here are 4 specific ways that Inbound Marketing can improve your association’s bottom line and make your marketing department look like rockstars.

money-256319_1280.jpg1. Increase Revenue from Product Purchases

Associations have a myriad of products they promote to their membership, from continuing education to publications. It can be challenging to work with different program departments to market those products to members. In fact, there are plenty of associations out there that are still selling all of their products to all of their members all of the time! There is certainly some room for improvement in these instances by leveraging inbound marketing techniques. With inbound, you use membership personas and lead nurturing actions to deliver content that your member has indicated they are interested in - and not until they are interested.

This decreases the clutter in your member’s inbox and increases the likelihood that they will engage with the content or newsletter you sent them. This will drive up your conversion rates, increase efficiency within your department and lead to a higher ROI from your communication efforts.


lost-1605501_1280.jpg2. Enhance your organizations visibility and authority

Another core principle of inbound marketing is putting your organization in a position to be visible when a potential member or member is searching for you. By correctly leveraging SEO and incorporating strategic keywords, your association will be the authority on your subject matter. So if a member searches an industry term like “new footwear regulations”, Fabricated Footwear Association will be the first to show up in this fake example - affirming their authority in the space and validating the value of membership. If that google search is being performed by a non-member FFA pops up in their related footwear searches across the board and therefore increases exposure to non-members. This provides free awareness for your organization and validates your authority to non members increase perceived value and in turn member retention.

Want to see an example of Inbound Marketing in action at an Associtation? Check out this learning session where Dave Martin talks about his experience implementing Inbound Marketing for the Electronic Retailers Association.


3. Increase attendance to your conference or trade showWhirlpool-CES-Tradeshow-10.jpg

Implementing Inbound Marketing into your trade show marketing plan is a no-brainer. In fact, you should start now! Aside from an up-tick in your membership attendance, inbound is a great way to get the word out there about your tradeshow beyond your membership. Anyone who has indicated interest in your content or spent some time on your website is going to be interested in the content at your conference or tradeshow. Make sure you have the tools in place to capture these individuals so that you can send them relevant reminders and content leading up to the show to convince them of the value and convert into attendees. 


target-1180236_1280.jpg4. Make your Marketing Dollars work Smarter

The power of inbound lies in data. Inbound Marketing allows for measurement at every stage of your members’ journey. Whether you want to know the ROI of promoting your conference as mentioned in #3 or the ROI of turning a prospect into a member, this data is available.

You can leverage the analytics to compare the ROI of campaigns promoting different offers so you know where you are getting the most bang for your buck. The successful implementation of keyword strategies will gradually allow you to move money out of PPC and into higher revenue driving activities allowing your marketing budget to work harder and smarter.

If you’d like to learn a little more about inbound marketing and how it can be leveraged in your association, check out our webinar, Inbound Marketing and Why it Matters for Your Association.

Inbound Marketing Webinar

Topics: inbound marketing, inbound

Stephanie McGehee

Written by Stephanie McGehee