21st Century Lead Generation for Membership Organisations
Lead generation is a crucial part of any business, and it’s the same for membership-based organisations. Millennials connect to the things they love through a range of digital channels, and being visible on those channels can be the difference between surviving and thriving for membership-based brands.
From social media such as Facebook and Twitter, to search engines like Google and Bing, the next generation of consumers is connecting to the things they love digitally. Membership organisations that haven’t moved with the trends can quickly find themselves locked out from future custom. The good news is it’s easy and in most cases relatively inexpensive to remedy.
We’ll be talking through the smartest and simplest methods of attracting new members through three important digital channels: social media, SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay per click). It’s just a short introduction to connecting with members through digital media, and you’ll find this blog only scratches the surface, but it should help you to lay the foundations of an important acquisition platform.
The important mechanism social media introduced was the ability to self-publish. It led to rapid growth and platforms like Twitter and Facebook now play host to hundreds of millions of users who are active daily.
Of course, with numbers like those, the competition for attention on social media channels is fierce but fortunately for smaller organisations, the most basic forms are often free. The most important thing to understand about social media is that it is a great platform for conversation. If you can start that conversation, you’ll find that any community you build will thrive.
From video and photos to surveys, apps and games, those willing to invest in Facebook will find a fantastic platform for promotion. The paid offering for marketers includes advertising and promoted posts, which appear in the News Feeds of relevant users alongside their existing content.
It’s a highly sharable (viral) platform, and content that’s well planned can earn high levels of engagement. Rich content like photos and videos does exceptionally well on this highly visual platform. Remember, it’s a two-way street, and you can expect criticism as well as praise from users.
Twitter is a very popular micro-blogging service that can quickly return measurable results. Trending topics and references to specific subjects are highlighted through the use of hashtags which can be searched to quickly discover content and conversations that are relevant. Smart use of trending hashtags can lead to high engagement.
Paid promotions enable advertisers to grow their audience among a targeted group. Most organisations use Twitter as an information outlet as well as a customer service channel. Engagement is frequent, and “Followers” will not need much incentive to get involved thanks to the feeling of immediacy prompted by the concision of the posts. Image posts and quotes perform well.
One of the best ways to get people to devour more extensive pieces of content, and to provide deep-diving information about your offering, is videos. YouTube makes videos of all kinds easy to discover (for free), and their huge audience numbers mean it’s easy to rack up views.
You should expect to pay for the production of high quality videos, but with a free distribution mechanism, YouTube remains significantly cheaper than traditional advertising. You can also pay for your ads to run before relevant videos, and when videos are skipped by the user you don’t pay anything. Aside from standard TV spot style content, you may benefit from documentary and advertorial videos… and the odd silly meme dance doesn’t hurt either.
The professional network, LinkedIn features a more serious approach – it’s all about business. Not necessarily appropriate for all membership-based organisations, LinkedIn is great for those who have B2B inclinations or whose audience is a professional group such as lawyers of accountants.
Try making posts a little more sober than other more informal networks, but not so dry as to be insipid. Infographics, links to relevant articles and discussion topics are picked up by users more readily than advert-style posts here.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Once a sort of dark art of the web, SEO is less snake oil and more quality assurance these days. You’ll find that simple things, such as optimising meta tag information and keyword use on your site will produce great results. The aim of the game is rising through the ranks on Google’s results for relevant search terms. Inevitably, those who succeed at this increase traffic on their site.
As well as things like onsite blogs and inbound links from reputable and relevant sites (backlinking), you can try looking at complementary terms used by your customers in search. These things all provide useful indicators for the powers that be (e.g. Google and Bing) that suggest your site is the one their user is looking for. No tricks, just smart algorithms that take into account the quality of your site and the relevance of your organisation.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
This takes the form of a much more familiar advertising model. You pick the target audience and search terms you want your ads to appear alongside and your providers (often Google and Facebook) will present your ad there. Lots of smart things are happening in the background like relevance and quality scoring for your landing page, but these shouldn’t prove an obstacle to what is a very effective form of lead generation.
Use your brightest marketing heads or an agency to develop the text and image content for your ads and then optimise heavily based on what achieves the best results. Prices can vary but most will pay no more than a few dollars for each click, with many costing as little as a few cents. Once you’ve got the user to your site, it’s down to you to make the experience as seamless as possible, and sign-up as simple as can be.
There are lots of ways to get leads to your site, but turning them into customers is a matter of providing measurable value. Infinite Rewards is a white label rewards system built to make your offering more valuable, and supporting member acquisition in the process.
Find out more about Infinite Rewards here.