How to easily win in digital marketing: associations now

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Chris Gloede, chief consultant for Ricochet and former director of marketing for the American Bar Association, describes the art of connecting with members.

Here’s the thing about successful digital marketing for nonprofits: It can be as difficult to execute for organizations with over 400,000 members as it is for organizations with ranks in the hundreds. Chris Gloede knows this firsthand. In the past, he was Marketing Director for the American Bar Association (with annual dues of over $ 80 million). Today, he is the chief consultant at Ricochet, where he teaches an Association Digital Marketing Academy course on strategy, technique and tactics to digital marketers working in associations of all sizes. “In general, associations are medium in size, with a marketing team of a few people,” he explains. “But often in my class I have many students who keep reminding me that their marketing team is them – a team! “

Tall, medium or solo, Gloede believes that a common enemy thwarts the hard work of many association marketing teams. “I call it ‘Damage to the messaging channel’,” he says. For decades, association marketers had a clear advantage over consumer product marketers: they knew where their customers lived and knew their email addresses. And so they communicated – a lot. “To this day, you still have organizations that send emails to members three times a day,” Gloede notes, “And so these members quickly learned to ignore emails from their associations. “

These days, Gloede says, successful marketers have moved away from the email flood tactic and turned to a much more impactful form of marketing: targeted ads that follow members wherever they go. can be found on the Internet. “What was a little impossible just a few years ago is suddenly possible with affordable and convenient tools like Feathr,” says Gloede.

Feathr, a digital marketing platform designed for the specific needs of associations, solves a problem for many marketing departments: they are run by people with little or no actual training in digital marketing. “It’s a very strange time for association marketers because meetings were overturned last year due to COVID. So meeting planners who were used to planning in-person events suddenly had to organize virtual meetings, and they didn’t have the skills to do it, ”says Gloede. “You know, negotiating a hotel contract is a lot different from building a website online and knowing how to contact potential attendees on the Internet. “

Gloede advises new digital marketers to dip their toes with an affordable, user-friendly platform like Feathr. “We advise our students to choose a defined period and a singular product, such as an event. Events tend to have a pretty good response rate, and since there is often an additional registration fee, there is a positive ROI that makes it easy for you to win in a relatively short time, ”Gloede explains. “Then once you’re comfortable you can start to jump into what I think of as more complicated sales, such as membership, which can involve a longer decision cycle. “

Creating engaging ads that generate clicks is an art in itself. Gloede advises that small teams (or those armies of one) use low-cost freelancers through sites like Upwork or Fiverr, noting that Feathr’s creative team can create ads that associations can use as is or use as starting point that they can further customize. . “To be effective, we teach our students to have simple calls to action and to use as few words – and even fewer characters – as possible. “

No association will have exactly the same goals and needs, and getting into digital marketing can be overwhelming due to the sheer amount of choice (not to mention the huge prices). That’s why Gloede advises his students to start with an easy-to-use tool that allows them to grow as they learn. “Feathr is straightforward, and they offer support and help when you need it,” says Gloede. “For the first year, many of my clients are signing up to Feathr’s full service model. And then, from the second year of use, they say to themselves: “Okay, I can handle this. Understood.'”


Feathr has thought of everything to help associations get started and run with digital advertising. Its group of dedicated experts advises on unique revenue generating campaigns and provides graphic design and implementation services to ensure successful marketing campaigns. The partnership with Feathr guarantees the success of your association for years to come.

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