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How to Reach Millennials with Your Cause

Despite what you might have heard about the “selfie generation,” millennials are a powerful force eager to throw their passion and energy behind causes they care about. A recent report found that 85% of millennials donate to charity and 70% actually roll up their sleeves and volunteer their time. Millennials are also incredibly adept at raising awareness and rallying support via their social networks and digital influence.

You can harness these tendencies to benefit your association in untold ways, from gaining and retaining younger members to achieving more outcomes and long-term sustainability.

The first step in engaging millennials is to give them a cause to care about. Millennials (and many of your other members) are more likely to support a cause than an organization. Once you solidify your cause, there are a number of approaches you can use to reach this influential group of young people.


Embrace technology

Millennials are the first generation that grew up with technology at their fingertips. They get their news from social media, not newspapers. They sleep near their phones. They are accustomed to fresh, new information instantly—most often on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The presentation and delivery of your messages are more important than content (at least initially). For starters, ensure all your content is mobile friendly. Video is a must. Include memes and engaging images as part of your strategy. Share links to useful information. Use microsites and interactive messaging. Be brief. Can you say something meaningful and inspiring about your cause in 10 seconds or less? That’s the length of a Snapchat video.


Deliver value

Millennials mistrust traditional advertising methods. A better approach is to focus on delivering value. Use content marketing to educate, inform, and entertain your millennial audience. Provide resources and tools that help them do their jobs better and change more lives. Prove your association offers value, and millennials will come to trust you, attend your events, and pay your dues.

How can you know what millennials value? Hire some. Put one on your board. Chat with them online. Assemble focus groups or conduct surveys to determine what their core concerns are. Find out as much as you can about which causes they support, how they get their information, and what’s on the horizon.


Leverage social media

Social media is powerful vehicle for promoting your cause and targeting specific audiences using paid ads. But it’s more than that. Millennials are highly influenced by the actions and opinions of their peers. They value third-party reviews and recommendations more than the content coming directly from your organization. Create a culture of social influencers by providing free resources and encouraging or incentivizing your members to talk about your cause online.


Offer a seamless user experience

Make it simple and intuitive to support your cause and your association. Include buttons along with your calls to action. Publish sharable content. Make it easy to leave comments and reviews. Enhance in-person events with digital content members can access at home. When millennials have a positive experience with your cause, they will continue to work hard to support it.


Keep it fresh

Live streaming capabilities are an indication of just how fast millennials like their information—as it is happening and not a moment later. How can you keep up with this need for speed? Publishing engines and artificial intelligence can generate content or answer questions automatically. You will also need to invest time and personnel to ensure a steady stream of personalized, meaningful messaging and resources to rally millennials to your cause.

For many associations, reaching millennials is a new frontier that requires significant time and effort. While this might seem daunting, it’s well worth the investment. Your organization will be rewarded with passion and energy for years to come.

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Is Your Association Putting Off Creating a Lead Gen Funnel?

If you’ve ever procrastinated on giving the-birds-and-the-bees talk to your kid or having an uncomfortable conversation with a friend, you know that we tend to put off difficult things.

We avoid difficult things in business, too. Often, we do the easy-to-understand thing over and over again, even if it produces poor results. The hard-to-understand thing promises better results . . . but it can feel so complicated!

We run into this thinking with associations when we talk about lead generation funnels and customer journeys. While no association executive has ever held their ears closed and said, “La la la, I can’t hear you!” when we talk about lead gen, we can tell from their frightened looks and body language it’s what they want to do.

If you’re afraid of a lead generation funnel, you’re afraid of the wrong thing. A lead gen funnel is the only thing standing in the way of your association becoming obsolete in the next five years. Tactics like random fishing on LinkedIn and buying lists to import into your database may have been effective once, but they no longer work.

You have to be smarter.

The good news is, we make it easy for you because we’ve done the hard work of engineering smart funnels that guide prospects along the journey they choose, so they wind up at your landing page, clicking “Join Now.”

Download the Lead Generation Customer Journey to view larger >

What is a Lead Generation Funnel?

Lead generation funnels solve a big problem for member organizations: They help you increase membership and event attendance. They do this by expanding your prospect pool, turning your prospects into qualified leads, and then turning your qualified leads into members.

A lead generation funnel is essentially a holistic, digital map that guides your prospects along a journey. It’s fully automated and built out using an “if/then” system.

For example:
  • IF a prospect clicks to watch a Facebook video, THEN they are taken to a landing page with a simple call-to-action to stay connected.
  • IF they enter their email on that page, THEN they go into a drip/nuture email campaign with its own set of “if/thens.”
  • IF they don’t enter their email, THEN they are re-targeted on Facebook, or perhaps another platform, and the process repeats.

A good lead generation funnel engages with multiple social media platforms and uses responsive list management software that ushers prospects through the journey.

Because it’s automated, after you create your funnel, all you have to do is hit “go.”


Know Your Numbers: Prospect Pools, Qualified Leads, and Conversion Ratios

A lead generation funnel helps you get clear on your numbers.

For example, do you have any idea how large your prospect pool is?

This is often the first stumbling block for associations. They have no idea what number they are starting with. Is it 500? 5,000? 50,0000?

This math matters, because you need to know how many people you’re starting with so you can keep track of the percentage of those people who become qualified leads, and then the percentage of qualified leads who become members.

These are your conversion ratios.

If you don’t know these ratios, you’re just guessing. And while guessing is a legitimate strategy on a standardized test when you don’t know the right answer, it doesn’t tend to hold up as a sustainable marketing strategy.

Your funnel will help to determine your ratios. You’ll be able to track how many people you are talking to each step of the way, so you know your numbers.


Conversion Assets: High Quality Content That Inspires

Your automation has to be spot-on, but your funnel is only as good as the content that feeds it.

You always need high-quality, sticky content, including captivating videos, well-written stories, and compelling graphics.

Though your prospect pool is large, you still need to think carefully about what will catch a prospect’s eye and hit their pain points. At each point along the way, you need strong conversion assets. These assets include landing pages, emails, videos, blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, webinars, and direct mail pieces.

Just because you’re introducing math into the mix, it doesn’t mean you can stop focusing on inspiring people. In fact, you need to focus even more strongly on inspiring people.

More than anything, you need to shift your thinking from one-off campaigns to a holistic approach that blends extraordinary storytelling with the best that marketing automation can offer.

Why put it off when it can make all the difference for the future of your association?

Instead of spinning around in overwhelm, let us walk you through what a lead gen funnel could look like for your organization. Contact Us Today >

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People Need a More Powerful reason to Engage. They Need a Cause.

Why Your Association Needs a Cause

Why Your Association Needs a Cause

Your members want to feel part of something bigger than themselves. They want to make a difference in the lives of others. Sure, your organization has offerings to help them make a difference—education, conferences, certifications, and networking. But, increasingly, these are not compelling enough reasons to pay dues, travel to your events, sign up for workshops, or spend time on your networks.

People need a more powerful reason to engage. They need a cause.

When people care about a cause, they are willing to throw their passion, energy, time, and money behind it. There is almost nothing they won’t do if they think it will make a difference. This is a powerful force your association can tap into to drive outcomes, build long-term loyalty, and ensure sustainability.

What defines a cause

A cause is a simple, easily understandable, highly relevant idea that members can embrace, rally around, and spread. It’s more than a short-lived marketing campaign or slogan. And it’s more powerful than any event, product, or certification you can offer.

A cause must be something your members truly care about, and it must have movement behind it. The goal is to unite people and incite action to change more lives. Your members, especially the millennials, are more likely to support a cause than a particular organization.

Great examples of current cause marketing include REI’s #OptOutside campaign and Walgreens’ Red Nose Day. Even Apple taps into this idea with its focus on innovation and lifestyle versus actual products.


How you can use cause marketing

Cause marketing starts with values, not a sales pitch. People are naturally drawn to individuals and entities that share their values. To identify your association’s underlying values, consider why you do the work you do. Next, match your values to audience values, goals, and pain points. From there, you’ll need to incorporate these ideas into your messages and offers.

Here are four ways to let values drive your cause marketing:
1. Use “because”

The word “because” can help you connect the dots between your association’s values and those of your audience. Consider the difference between the sentences below. The first one merely states a feature, while the second one inspires possibilities.

  • Attend our conference for exclusive networking opportunities.
  • Attend our conference because you’ll connect with industry veterans who are eager to help you.

2. Include compelling visuals

Really show people what it’s like to support your cause by including dynamic, original visuals in your campaigns. Images with emotion move people while they tell your story. Be sure to choose visuals that are in line with the rest of your brand’s look and feel for continuity.


3. Don’t make it about you

Keep the focus on the audience and the cause, not on your organization. It doesn’t matter if your association is the biggest or oldest or if your offerings are the best. People really only care about the benefits that result from your efforts. Answer these questions: How will your association, conference, or offerings change lives? Who would be affected if your organization didn’t exist?


4. Prove your value

If you can’t prove that your cause is making a difference, people won’t support it. Track progress toward goals and celebrate major milestones. Publish your successes on social media and in your marketing campaigns. Show people their efforts generate real results and they’ll keep up the good work.


It’s time for new tactics

Many marketing tactics that worked in the past just aren’t resonating these days. No matter how great your message or offer is, people are tired of yet another sales pitch. They also have too many alternatives at their fingertips when it comes to information, training, and thought leadership. It’s often hard to justify an expense, like attending a conference. But it’s much easier to justify supporting a cause you believe in. It’s for the good of the world, after all.

Cause marketing is especially effective when it comes to reaching millennials. This generation values social responsibility. They want to make a difference. Millennials are passionate, energetic, and dedicated, but only if they really care. Give them a reason to care. Give them a cause they can rally around. (More on how to reach this key group next time.)

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