Content marketing can actually be a more effective way of building lasting, lucrative, mutually beneficial association relationships. But for account managers accustomed to a traditional, hard-driving sales cycle, the approach can seem awfully gradual and gentle.
For associations, a more audience-centred approach to inbound rather than outbound marketing means listening more and blasting less, building engagement around shared values and interests before focusing on the perks, privileges, and sale items that go along with membership.
When content marketing works - and there’s growing evidence that it does work - your sales team gets to combine its traditional outbound calling schedule with a growing stream of inbound queries.
A Collaborative Way to Sell
And by the time those prospects get in touch, they’ve read your blog, visited your website, and made up their own minds about why they want to talk to you. Which means they’re much closer to paying for a membership, signing up for a training program, or buying a publication than they would have been if you’d called them cold.
It’s a different, more collaborative and respectful way of running an association’s marketing program. And that makes content marketing an important topic to dig into at the Engaging Associations Summit in July.
“Associations are constantly curating, creating, presenting, and disseminating content,” wrote Jenise Fryatt, Content Marketing Specialist at Smarter Shift, in a recent post on the Cvent Event Planning blog. “So content marketing is a natural fit. Whether your objectives are advocacy, member recruitment/retention, event marketing, or creating a content resource, you can use the content you already have to market your association online.”
Demonstrating What We Preach
Beyond practicing what we preach, you can expect to see the Summit demonstrate a marketing approach that is opening up bold new opportunities for the associations that embrace it.
We’re planning a steady stream of timely, compelling online content - before, during, and after the Summit - to help association executives decide whether and why they should be interested in a bold new approach to non-profit management.
Take this blog as an example.
If you’ve read this far, it’s because we’ve captured your interest with useful information about a new set of marketing strategies.
You know we’re running an event, and you can click the link if you want to. (Somewhere, it must be written in stone that we were obliged to repeat the link when we referred to the Summit.)
But if we’d led off by telling you about our fabulous speakers or unique venue, you probably would have tuned out.
If all you get from this post is a useful heads-up on a new way of organizing your marketing and outreach program, we’ll be genuinely satisfied. Before long, you’ll come to think of us as a valuable source of smart content and sharp insights. After a few more weeks, you might realize that it’s time to register for the Summit, before all the available spaces have filled.
And that would be a win for both of us.
Sealing the Deal
There are still times and places when you have to seal the deal. When it’s time to launch an outbound sales campaign, the market insights you gain through content marketing make it easier to target your approach to the different, distinct audience personas among your members and prospects.
And to the extent that the people you approach already see you as a valued resource, you’re likely to get a better response from a series of calls that aren’t quite cold calls after all.