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How to Build Your Association’s Brand While Sticking to a Budget

Branding is everything. It’s a vital part of every association's wellbeing. It’s what helps you make a good, long-lasting impression on potential new members, and what separates you from the rest in your industry.

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Looking to turn your association’s brand into a well known powerhouse amongst members and your target audience? While it may be ideal for your engagement rates, it’s not always the best for your budget. It’s important for your association to raise your brand awareness and be known by your target audience for all that you do. But between marketing costs, high production value on content, and time spent spreading the word, you may find that your budget just isn’t going to cut all that you want to accomplish with your organization’s brand.

Branding is everything. It’s a vital part of every association's wellbeing, so much so that it was heavily covered in ASAE’s 2018 Great Ideas Conference. It’s what helps you make a good, long lasting first impression on potential new members, and what separates you from the rest in your industry. You want to make sure you keep your brand in tip top shape- while keeping your budget in mind as well. So, let’s go over a few tips and tricks your association can use to build your brand while sticking to your marketing budget.

Tip #1: Encourage networking to spread the word

It’s no secret that word of mouth marketing takes the cake in terms of top engagement methods. And luckily for your association, it’s free of charge. You want your members to spread the news about how great your association is. From valuable benefits, to educational and professional resources that can’t be found elsewhere, there’s a lot to talk about. So, it’s up to you to encourage members to communicate with others in your target audience and do your marketing for you at no cost. Your association can consider offering incentives to those members who refer your association and get new members to sign on.Setting up a referral program can give members a reason to get others on board with your association. It’s the best of both worlds: Your members have access to offers and incentives they enjoy, and your association signs on new members and spreads word about its brand without spending a dime. Giving members a reason to promote is a sure fire way to market smarter.

Similarly, you can also encourage your members to post photos on social media when attending events and conferences. Using thematic hashtags, you can give members a way to share their experience with others, use your brand on their social media sites, and attract new interested audiences directly to your association’s website.

Tip #2: Share helpful tips on social media

Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed and stumbled across a fun fact or statistic that you enjoyed enough to share with others? Your members have too. Utilizing social media as a free marketing platform is a must for associations with a tight marketing budget. With your target audience at your fingertips, you can search and find who you’re looking to market to with ease. And by posting the right content, you can have your brand shared by others for that audience to see without investing any money.

Consider sharing snippets of your association’s content on social media that others may find interesting or valuable to know. You can take statistics, industry facts, new news stories, or whatever you think will engage your audience. Again, you can even come up with your own hashtag to tweet out and help improve your brand quality. Once members start sharing your tips on their own social media pages, they’ll be seen by whoever chooses to follow their content. And so on and so forth, until your association’s brand is being seen and shared by others all over the place. This is an easy way to reach brand new audiences that requires minimal effort, planning, and most importantly- funding.

Tip #3: Increase low-cost content

If you want to increase brand awareness for your association, you’re going to want the most opportunities to do so. Therefore, increasing content that takes the least amount of time, energy, and funding to produce is in your best interest. Increasing your low-cost content is a great way to amp up your quantity of branded materials without increasing the cost that your brand marketing and awareness could take. It allows you to provide more for your member without taking more from your association’s wallet- and it can also help increase your search engine optimization if done properly. Think about creating more low-cost, easy to produce content like blog posts, social media content, articles, photos, or anything else that you like.

You can work with your marketing team to figure out what content both performs well and is easy to produce on a tight budget. Building up your brand without tearing down the structure of your association’s budget doesn’t have to be a brain busting equation. By using these 3 helpful tips, you can find ways around funding a hefty branding strategy without cutting corners on brand quality.