There are a couple of very good reasons you’ve got at least one marketing professional to help promote your association: that person is an expert in marketing, and they actually have time to implement marketing campaigns. But just because you are delegating some elements of your association marketing to somebody else doesn’t mean that you no longer have to manage your own marketing time wisely.
There are two elements to time management for online marketing. First, you need to figure out how you are going to maximize your working relationship with your marketing colleagues. Here are some tips for making your arrangement productive:
- Schedule and Stick to Meetings – You should be getting together in person or taking part in a dedicated phone call on a consistent basis. These meetings are the best time to bring up new ideas, not when inspiration strikes you at 4AM and you decide to dash off a text message. (Don’t do that.) Instead, come prepared with questions, ideas and assignments. Start and end on time. Make sure you’re focused on having a meaningful conversation, not just a todo list.
- Use Collaboration Software – It can be as simple as free tools like Google Docs or DropBox, or as fancy as a document management system. Just avoid the endless barrage of emails and instead update the mutual, virtual whiteboard. That way, everyone can see project status without the frustration of interruptions—and everyone can focus on advancing your association, rather than dealing with communication challenges.
- Give Positive and Negative Feedback - Make sure that you are always ready to tell what you do like and what you don’t like. If all you offer is either praise or criticism, your words may fall on deaf ears. Provide a range!
Second, your marketing professional needs resources from you in order to do their job. Whether you are working with an outside firm or someone who is sitting in the next office, they need information about how best to promote your organization.
All marketing is about storytelling. No matter the format (whitepaper, blog post, video, podcast, etc.) our ability to tell stories has some constraints and some advantages. We general reply on the written word and simple images, but we also have the tremendous advantage of knowing something about our members. You can insert their name in every post. You can localize the email message to their city or cross reference the campaign to past purchases. You can segment messages by employer or membership type. You can tell the story that makes the most sense for the audience at hand.
These are the types of information your marketing professional needs, and what you should focus on when providing content ideas or general direction. If you pay attention to these parameters you can churn out suggestions at incredible speak.
That’s not to say that working fast is everything. Just like running a marathon, the practice and the training are what help you to become healthier. Like taking a trip, it’s about the journey–not the destination. When you are generating content or working on strategy, try and think about the long term impact. Ensure you have a process to meet your quality standards and deadlines. For example, as I write this post, someone else will double-check my work for errors and typos, add images, and make final preparations to schedule this blog post. The content will also be automatically picked up for use in email marketing newsletters by ISAE. There may also be offline uses as well, such as printed mailers, e-books, audio content, or other resources. If you’re thinking ahead, you’re not just working fast—you are working smart as well.
It is these procedures, however, that make marketing effective. By leveraging our time and our resources intelligently, we can offer useful, practical and powerful information to customers. We can share our stories over and over again and build a reputation among those who want to do business with our organization. Marketing, in essence, is storytelling to an audience for the purpose of making the business relationship a meaningful one. Use your marketing time wisely, and show respect for the time that your marketing professional is devoting to your association.
Those two themes together will make all the difference in your marketing endeavors.
Author: Robby Slaughter, Principal-AccelaWork
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).