Marketing membership-based businesses: Top tips
By Colin Walker
Late last year I shared our tips to running a leaner member-based business. Finding ways to reduce costs is crucial – and carefully maximising your marketing budget is a must! However it’s also true to say that at times you need to spend money to make money, and marketing is one of those areas that can make a big difference to your profile and reputation.
As always, it’s important to track the success of your marketing activities and to invest in things that work best for your business. So, what are some creative ideas for member-based businesses? Over many years, PaySmart has seen first hand what works well…here are our top tips:
Actively engage with your current members
- Asking for feedback from current members will help your business understand the positives to promote as well as any areas for improvement. If your current clients can see that you’re listening and acting on their feedback, they’re more likely to be your best word-of-mouth marketing ambassadors.
Keep your marketing mix diverse and engaging
- Understand your target market and the kinds of tools they’ll see and respond to, and keep trying new things to help you access new prospects. Try to track how new enquiries relate to your marketing efforts to understand which activities are the most effective.
- Flyers: This can be seen as a dated form of marketing, however it depends on your target demographic. For example, if you’re located in an older/wealthier suburb, online marketing may be ineffective and the most effective forms of marketing may be flyers, newspapers and cold calls etc.
- Newspapers: As with flyers, it’s a more traditional form of marketing that usually guarantees larger exposure – however it can often come down to the size of your budget!
- Stands: Running the occasional stand/stall gives you a great opportunity to directly connect with your target audience (and even your current members) and communicate your marketing special/deal in a one-on-one environment.
- Social media: The popularity of this form of marketing is definitely growing and for a good reason – it gives you the ability to target a much wider and broader audience using less of your marketing budget. Scheduling posts and campaigns in advance on social media will constantly put you at the forefront of your target audience’s minds.
- Events: Creating one-off events is great for getting in front of a large number of people, while participating in an event related to your industry can help you access relevant new
- Free samples: Free trials, samples and access etc. offered via social media, on your website, by word-of-mouth/referrals, or flyers etc. is a great way to get new clients and customers engaging with you.
- Calendar events: Make the most of annual events on the calendar – things that you can hook a promotion to like Valentine’s Day, first day of Summer, end of financial year etc.
Strategic sponsorship: Athletes/sports teams/prizes charity events
- Sponsoring an athlete or sports team gives your business and brand constant profile and shows your willingness to give back. Think carefully about these decisions to ensure you find the best fit with your business, to maximise the reciprocal marketing opportunities and to access to new leads.
Support your local community
- Community engagement is a great source of free marketing and advertising – getting involved in local community events and giving back is a tremendous way to not only improve the identity of the business but to also generate that ‘feel-good’ factor the community has towards your business.
- When the local school or sporting group comes knocking, consider sponsoring their event with a free 3, 6 or 12-month membership to auction or raffle off. You may also like to offer a free trial pass for all entrants as a great way to drive people through the door.