There are many ways to promote your association, including paid advertising, SEO, press releases, traditional offline networking, and so forth. Many people, however, tend to overlook more creative and less familiar methods that often work just as well. When you implement nontraditional promotional strategies, the field is less saturated. By being creative and innovative, you can carve out a space for yourself where there is little or no competition. The following are some of the methods you should consider for promoting your association.
While video marketing may no longer qualify as a revolutionary type of marketing, it is still underused by many businesses. Trade and member associations that represent more traditional businesses â€” i.e. businesses that don't rely primarily on the internet â€” are especially prone to overlook videos as a serious promotional tool. Even associations that use videos in a limited manner could benefit by doing a lot more in this area.
Interviewing experts in your industry on video is a way to leverage their traffic, as people you interview will be motivated to tell their audience about the event. Google Hangouts is a useful platform for this. You can hold an interview and then easily turn it into a video on YouTube, since Google owns both platforms.
Another good method for interviewing people â€” one that doesn't require you to appear on screen â€” is to do podcasts. These are becoming more and more popular. Like audiobooks, people like podcasts because they can be listened to while driving, exercising, or doing other tasks at work or around the house.
All you need to create podcasts is a computer (or even a tablet or smartphone) and a place to host your podcasts, such as Amazon S3. You can then use services such as SoundCloud, TuneIn, or Swell to help you gain a wider audience. A similar strategy is to create an online radio show on a platform like Blog Talk Radio. This is another platform that's ideal for interviews and where you can schedule a regular show.
Webinars have many of the benefits of videos and podcasts, but take it a step further by being interactive. With webinars, you can communicate directly with your audience. The good news about webinars is that they are now practical for almost anyone. You don't need a huge budget or technical expertise to put together a professional looking webinar. You can even use Google Hangouts, which supports group discussions and allows people to tune in live.
Nontraditional Promotional Methods
While the above methods are all effective and potentially creative, they aren't exactly nontraditional. If you want to get even more creative, you can try promotional strategies that are less known and even unique. There are a few advantages to this. For one thing, there is far less competition. It's also easier to capture people's attention when you are doing something that they don't expect. Let's look at a few examples.
- Guerilla marketing. While the concept of guerilla marketing is familiar to most people, such tactics are still seldom used and have the potential to make a big impact. A flash mob, for example, is an apparently spontaneous (but actually well-planned) public event where the participants attract attention by the way they dress up or behave. They may hand out flyers or free samples or make an announcement.
- Focus on telling a story. This is not really a distinct method, but an approach that can be included in any type of marketing, such as digital ads, print ads, or videos. There are many examples of this technique, but one of the most successful in recent years was Budweiser's 2014 Super Bowl ad that was not about beer, but portrayed a man searching for a lost dog. Telling a compelling story is one of the best ways to capture people's attention. When you do this, you can then use the story to promote just about anything.
- Fortune cookie marketing. The Missouri Lottery found an extremely creative way to gain publicity: advertising in fortune cookies. Since most people read the messages found in fortune cookies and are already used to seeing "lucky numbersâ€ in their fortunes, having messages promoting the lottery on the back of fortune cookies was a brilliant move. There are, of course, many other promotional possibilities using this tactic.
These are some creative and non-traditional ways to promote your association. By definition, creative methods should be original, so it's best not to take such examples as an inspiration and put your own unique spin on them. Think of entirely new promotional strategies. When you use these in conjunction with more familiar and foundational methods, you are poised to reach your audience on many levels.
Yan Revzin is the CEO of FortuneCookieAdvertising.com,a non-traditional and experiential marketing company.