Getting the Word Out: Marketing and Communications
If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
Promotion and marketing are ways by which you share what your Section is doing, including its projects and events, and its role and position in the profession. This outreach also draws in new members.
Promotion and marketing do not have to be complicated or expensive. The best programs are intentional, well planned, and followed through. Don’t forget to tap your membership for individuals who have experience in marketing or promotion or who are good writers.
Using the A.S.P.E.N. Logo and Name.
As it is with all communication, clear and consistent delivery is vital. There is no room for confusion in today’s market. Organizations, including A.S.P.E.N., build strong brands and a positive identity through consistent reinforcement of the brand at every point of member and public contact. With that in mind, A.S.P.E.N. has developed clear guidelines so your section can project a clear and unified image. Download the A.S.P.E.N. Graphic Standards Manual. If you have any questions, please contact A.S.P.E.N. staff.
Here are some tips for spreading the word and attracting attention:
Strengthen and engage your community in ASPENConnect.
This is your virtual “home” where members can share ideas, have conversations and stay up-to-date. Use the tools to notify members of activities and issues and rally individuals with shared interests. A.S.P.E.N. staff can help you get started – just contact the Director of Membership.
Publish an e-letter or newsletter.
A regular communication piece keeps members in the know, allows you to you highlight what members are doing (professionally and as Section volunteers), and serves as a pass-along piece to drive membership. For one example, check out the Dietetic Practice Section.
Engage with social media.
The popular social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest can help you engage your members and community in your activities and issues. New tools are always being developed so you can find a tool that works for your Section. Here are some starting points:
- Set up a Facebook page on which you can share events, happenings, and news, which your members can then also share, thus building awareness and interest in your section. Check out A.S.P.E.N.’s page. Note that this is only a good option if one of your priorities is to recruit nonmembers to A.S.P.E.N. and your section; otherwise, please just use ASPENConnect. In addition, you must add an A.S.P.E.N. staff member as an administrator to your Facebook page.
- Use the free LinkedIn event calendar to post your events and promote to colleagues and peers. You do not need a group, just an individual profile to list events. You can also encourage members to get involved with other LinkedIn groups where they can share your news and events as appropriate.
Tap the reach of email.
Email is still the most-used channel and can be your direct link to members and interested professionals. A.S.P.E.N. national office can help you send out emails. When planning your email campaign, consider these points:
- Make your messages short and compelling.
- Use short titles and bulleted points or highlights so members get the information at a glance.
- Be sure to include an easy way for readers to get more information, register, and even unsubscribe.
- Use compelling, short subject lines (50 characters or fewer is best!). According to email specialists, you should avoid these words: free, help, percentage off, reminder, urgent, important, please.
Create A Conversation Map.
Your members desire resources and discussions on critical issues and concerns. This happens best when members are involved but sometimes it’s tough to get the member talking and sharing. By creating a Conversation Road Map you can build discussion and facilitate sharing on ASPENConnect.
Work the traditional channels too.
Be sure to use your own professional network to spread the word. Here are few ideas:
- Get your members engaged in sharing the news by creating a sample email, Tweet, and a post for LinkedIn and Facebook that they can in turn copy and use to share with their email contacts and on their social media channels.
- Share what the Section is doing on ASPENConnect.
- Create an elevator message for active members to use in talking about the Section as the Clinical Nutrition Week and other face-to-face meetings.
- Print a simple flyer or small give-away to promote the Section at the Clinical Nutrition Week.