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4 Crucial Elements to a Purposeful Marketing Strategy for Your Association
Becky BreedenMay 9, 2023 12:00:00 AM5 min read

4 Crucial Elements to a Purposeful Marketing Strategy for Your Association

Associations and other member-based organizations demonstrate no shortage of marketing tactics. We frequently work with clients whose organizations utilize any number of the following methods to engage current members and constituents and attract new ones: 

  • Newsletters 
  • Marketing emails
  • Magazines
  • Online ads
  • Event sponsorships
  • Speaking engagements
  • Webinars
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • And many more...

However, there’s a critical distinction between disparate marketing tactics and a purposeful, organized, strategic marketing strategy

A purposeful marketing strategy unites the various segments in your organization for ultimate member engagement. It creates a lean, effective outreach mechanism to attract new members from every target audience.  

And best of all, it’s attainable. Start by incorporating these elements.  

1. A CRM That’s Customizable for Your Needs 

It all starts with a central database. While there are many association-specific CRMs available, we often recommend HubSpot, thanks to its powerful features and capacity to keep all of your organization’s marketers in one place. Here are just a few reasons it works spectacularly well for member-based organizations:   

  • Centralized Contact Database: The HubSpot CRM provides a centralized platform to store and manage constituent data like contact details, membership status, engagement history, and more. 
  • Tools for Every Team: HubSpot's various hubs work together harmoniously to provide a unified platform for marketing, sales, service, and CRM. With seamless integration and shared data, organizations can align their teams, streamline processes, and deliver a consistent and personalized experience throughout the user's journey.  
  • Segmentation and Targeting: Associations often need to segment their contacts based on various criteria, such as membership level, interests, demographics, or engagement history. The HubSpot CRM offers robust segmentation capabilities that enable you to create targeted lists for personalized communication, marketing campaigns, or event invitations. You can tailor your messaging to specific member groups, ensuring more relevant and effective communication.
  • Communication and Engagement: Effectual communication is crucial for member-based organizations. HubSpot offers multiple channels for communication, including email, social media, and live chat. You can also automate personalized email campaigns, send newsletters, and engage with members through social media platforms.  
  • Membership Renewals and Payments: HubSpot can help streamline the membership renewal process. It allows you to set up automated reminders for membership renewals, send payment notifications, and track payment statuses. Integration with payment gateways enables secure online payments, making it easier for members to renew their memberships and for associations to manage the financial aspects of their organization. 
  • Event Management: Many associations organize events, conferences, or webinars. HubSpot offers event management capabilities that allow you to create event registration forms, track attendee information, send event-related communications, and manage event logistics. Integration with other tools like ticketing platforms or webinar software further enhances the event management process. 
  • Integration and Customization: HubSpot integrates with various third-party tools and applications, allowing associations to extend its functionality for the Uber-specific tools you can’t get elsewhere. 

Your marketing strategy hinges on a CRM that can streamline operations, enhance member engagement, and improve communication, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the organization.  

2. A Content Approach That Goes Beyond the Paywall 

Your most valuable content may live behind a paywall—after all, that’s one of the primary benefits of membership.  

But a smart marketing strategy puts massive effort behind an inbound approach to content marketing—that is, a customer-centric approach to content that focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting potential customers by providing valuable content and experiences tailored to their needs and interests.  

Inbound content marketing is effective for associations because it enables them to establish thought leadership and showcase their expertise. By creating valuable and relevant content, associations can attract and engage their target audience, building credibility and trust. From there, you can nurture relationships with current and potential constituents based on what they’re looking for, increasing member satisfaction and retention. 

3. A Smarter Way to Target Messaging 

With HubSpot, you can use lifecycle stages to segment your audience and refine the messaging that everyone receives. Instead of the outdated method of sending everything to everybody, save your time—and your members’ inboxes—by only sending the most targeted messages to the most appropriate recipients.  

HubSpot's lifecycle stages empower associations to create more effective marketing messages by enabling targeted and personalized communication based on the contact's stage in the membership journey. With lifecycle stages, associations can tailor their messaging to the specific needs and interests of contacts at each stage.  

For example, brand-new leads and subscribers can receive top-of-the-funnel content to educate them about the association, while marketing qualified leads (MQLs) can be nurtured with bottom-of-the-funnel messages highlighting the benefits of becoming a member. By aligning the messaging with the lifecycle stages, associations can effectively move contacts through the membership funnel and increase conversions. 

>>> Related Resource: We deep dive into the different stages of the user’s journey and the types of content that resonate at each in our webinar, How Content Strategy Can Enhance UX During and After a Website Redesign. You can access the recording here (the user’s journey section starts 14:00 minutes in).  

4. Reporting, Reporting, Reporting 

Your marketing strategy is only as good as its results. But how can you know what’s working if you’re not measuring? Better yet, why not track performance across every segment of your organization? 

HubSpot provides reporting and analytics features to track and measure member engagement, content efforts, marketing campaigns, and website performance. You can generate reports on member activity, email open rates, event attendance, or membership growth. These insights help associations evaluate their strategies, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions that improve the whole organization, not just one part of it. 

Want to Learn More About Marketing Your Association with HubSpot? 

You’re in luck. We hosted a three-part webinar series with AIIM's for CMO, Tony Paille. Each on-demand webinar is geared for associations who are interested in comprehensive marketing campaigns, sophisticated potential member handoffs, and full-circle CRM tracking.  Click below for access. 



Becky Breeden

Becky leads the integrated Brightfind and Ready North teams to successful outcomes through great communication, engaged leadership, and proven methodologies. Becky inspires growth, efficiency, and collaboration to create strong operational processes that make Brightfind the perfect association partner. Outside work, she loves to garden, try new recipes, volunteer ski patrol, and spend time with her family.