How Can You Tell if Your Marketing Efforts are Working?

How Can You Tell if Your Marketing Efforts are Working?

By Caryn Odenbach and Bryan O'Donnell

You put a lot of work into marketing your association’s conference, products, and membership benefits. But do you know if anyone is receiving your message? Or more importantly, do you know if anyone is taking action because of your marketing pieces? No matter what your campaign is focused on, you must first identify your goals and the metrics you will track to gauge your success. Before you think about a rebrand or new product strategy, you can make some quick, helpful changes to your marketing efforts that don’t require a ton of staff resources.

Know Your Audience

Have you looked at your member demographics lately? To better understand its audience, the American Pain Society (APS) partnered with AMC Consulting Services to conduct a membership analysis. The analysis looked at data on current APS members and their demographic data, along with retention trends, a comparison of members vs. nonmembers, and an overview of dropped members and dropped members who attended the annual meeting.

The results were very informative. Based on the information APS was collecting online through member and customer profiles, the analysis found that 47% of members were unable to identify a primary position within the current selections and 20% could not identify a choice under “Area of Expertise.” APS realized it wasn’t offering the correct options for its interdisciplinary audience. In an effort to understand its audience better, the APS team charged the Membership Committee with restructuring the membership demographic options to provide more complete demographic information on the profiles.

In 2016, 37% of APS meeting attendees answered “None of the Above” under primary position. In 2018, that number dropped to 8% of attendees. A better understanding of its audience has given APS the opportunity to segment its messaging and email marketing.

Tailor Your Messaging and Track Analytics

Once you know your audience, make sure to track the results of your campaigns. Setting up campaign tagging for each of your electronic marketing pieces can provide comprehensive data, such as how many people came to your website and what they did once they got to your site.

Monitoring your website analytics, such as time spent on a page, bounce rate, and most visited pages, and tracking specific campaigns can help you understand your audience’s behavior and tell you if your tactics worked. You also will want to tailor text to various audience segments (e.g., include an upsell for membership to a nonmember), test email subject lines, and track open rates through your email marketing tool, and even test optimal send times. AMC’s Creative Media Services team helped APS create campaign tagging and track analytics to monitor email marketing efforts and to adjust messaging accordingly.

Marketing Efforts

Track Your Print Pieces, Too

Postcards, brochures, and mailings can be time consuming and expensive. And compared to electronic marketing pieces, print can be more difficult to track effectiveness. However, it’s not impossible.

To track a conference save the date postcard, APS added a specific website URL to a call-to-action message on the card. The URL was tracked in Google Analytics to see how many people visited the APS website directly because of the postcard.

Gathering this data can help an association decide whether to continue producing a particular print piece. When APS pulled the website analytics for the postcard’s unique URL, the team did not see the results it hoped for—and decided to eliminate print pieces from its 2019 Scientific Meeting marketing efforts and focus on digital in order to track the effectiveness faster and adapt messaging as needed.

Understanding your data is key to measuring the success of your marketing efforts. If you’ve adapted messaging, tracked call to actions, and segmented your audience and you’re still not meeting your goals—it might be time to look at your strategy. (Look for Part 2 of this series for more information on adjusting your marketing strategy.)

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