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Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation [Explained]

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 10, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 12 minute read

A well-informed association communications strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of the differences between old-school email marketing and modern marketing automation. If you need help wrapping your head around the nuances of these technologies, you’re not alone–and you’ve come to the right place for clarity.

Did you know that 87 percent of associations consider marketing automation an important component of their current strategy? 

Yet, according to Naylor’s 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Study, associations are increasingly struggling to effectively leverage technology like email marketing and marketing automation to deliver the customized experience members (especially younger generations) have come to expect, noting that:

  • Less than 20% feel they are effectively leveraging their career center, content management system, learning management system or marketing automation system to deliver a customized member experience
  • 3 out of 5 respondents feel they could improve their member engagement with their communications by improving their ability to customize for different subgroups
  • Nearly half (44%) of respondents agreed with the statement: “We could do a better job of promoting our communications as a member benefit”—up from 41% who felt this way in 2018

These stats reveal opportunities, and the need for some additional knowledge.

Visual learner? For maximum understanding of the differences between email marketing and marketing automation, be sure to read on and watch our featured video below (which breaks this all down in a super simplistic way).

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Topics: Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

3 Ways to Improve Membership Acquisition at Your Association

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 1, 2019 at 9:42 AM | 4 minute read

Developing a growth strategy for your association takes time. It takes hours of debating the best methods to use to reach prospective members, and days of content creation and campaign management. It's stressful. And, it could all result in nothing if you don't use effective tactics to drive meaningful growth.

A balanced, comprehensive growth strategy will include a mix of focus on both member retention and member acquisition.

In this post, we’ll focus on member acquisition strategy and how associations can effectively reach potential members and convince them to join.

However, the outlook isn't all bleak. You don't have to test every communication channel to find out the best way to reach your prospects, thanks to data from fellow associations.

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Topics: Marketing, Member Communities, Associations, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

4 Questions to Help You Choose the Best Stock Photo for Your Content Marketing Campaigns

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 9, 2019 at 9:54 AM | 8 minute read

Choosing imagery for your content marketing campaigns is really hard. It’s easy to pick the wrong thing: something boring, unengaging, or off-brand, something that will become outdated, or something that makes people think “Why does that photo exist?” [See the photo we chose for this blog header? Case in point.]

Or what if you pick an image from page 1 of a stock photo site that’s been used so much people actually realize they’ve seen it before? Just this weekend, I saw a stock photo I’ve seen a thousand times on Shutterstock used as the main creative on a prominent highway billboard. Awkward, no?

When you get into it, it can be surprising how difficult finding the best photo can be.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing

3 Lessons from a Unicorn: How to Harness Customer Feedback to Drive Brand Growth & Success

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM | 5 minute read

Facts: The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal; you are reading this right now; and Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, recently joined the ranks of other female-founded “unicorns” (privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion). How? Customer listening.

Emily Weiss, Glossier founder and CEO, managed to transform what started in 2010 as her beauty blog Into the Gloss... into a beauty brand valued at $1.2 billion, and they recently launched Glossier Play, their colorful spin-off brand. On what she did differently, Emily says:

“Many of the beauty brands I grew up with were expert-led. They told me what products were in style and how to use them. From the start, I wanted to take a different approach with Glossier by co-creating the brand and products with customers.”

If you haven’t harnessed the power of customer feedback, you’re missing a serious opportunity to grow your brand into a community of advocates with customer success and satisfaction in mind. 

You don’t need to have the same business structure as Glossier to heed lessons from their approach - B2B brands can benefit from using engagement tools like online community and marketing automation to tap into their customer base on a more personal level for product collaboration, customer feedback, and brand growth. 

So, let’s talk about the power of people, since all companies are really “people to people” at their core, you know?

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

Google Remarketing: 6 Tips for Advertising Success

Written by Marisa Fiore on March 21, 2019 at 8:58 AM | 8 minute read

There’s marketing, and there’s Google Ads  ‘remarketing’ – a term Google established in regards to their ability to enable websites to show targeted ads to users who have already visited their sites. The term ‘retargeting’ seems to get thrown around in the same bucket since this is the term Facebook uses in regards to their advertising efforts, but we’re talking about Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) today.

The ultimate goal of remarketing? You want people to convert. Specifically:

“Remarketing is a way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google or its partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.” [Google]

When remarketing is done successfully, you can re-engage prospects that dropped off, transforming them into leads and converting them based on behavioral actions. When you increase conversions, you increase ROI. It’s as simple as that.

We’ll dive into some quick tips to help you embrace Google remarketing as part of your strategy.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Retention, Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Member Engagement, Advertising

4 Tips for Generating More Non-Dues Revenue from Advertising

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 19, 2019 at 12:22 PM | 6 minute read

How can you set your association up for a solid financial future with flexible, non-dues revenue streams?

Don't rely only on membership dues to keep your association strong and healthy.

Invest in quality digital advertising space, make engagement growth a priority, promote your available ad space, and strike a good advertising balance so that you can increase exposure for your own initiatives or bring in more outside sponsorship, all leading to additional non-dues revenue.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Communities, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

5 Marketing Pain Points & Solutions (From Our In-House Experts)

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 7, 2019 at 1:32 PM | 11 minute read

Can we talk about how glamorous the life of a marketer is for a moment? …I didn’t think so. While the role of a marketer can be incredibly interesting and rewarding, it doesn’t come without challenges. The good news? You’re not alone, you hardworking marketer, you! 

The scope of those challenges can differ across industries, so in an effort to understand these pain points we turned to Higher Logic’s trusted marketing experts for insight and solutions.

Regardless of which type of industry marketer you are – association, corporate, B2B, you name it – you might identify with these challenges. Thankfully, we include some resources to help you put your best 2019 marketing strategy into action (with minimal headaches, of course). Bonus: Relatable GIFs 👇

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Topics: Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

What’s the Difference Between Automation Rules and Marketing Automation, Anyway?

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 23, 2019 at 7:50 AM | 3 minute read

Automation rules. Marketing automation. Two terms that sound similar (and sort of are) except for the fact that they tend to be siloed into two separate spheres of community and marketing.

Though it’s a tad confusing, it’s no coincidence that these two key Higher Logic features both use the word “automation,” because it reminds us how closely and effectively the two tools can work together. And for what? Improving member communications.  

To eliminate any potential confusion, let’s look at some expanded definitions – what do these terms really mean?

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Marketing, Associations, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

2019 Marketing Strategy: Food for Thought From Seth Godin

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 16, 2019 at 2:24 PM | 6 minute read

The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate your current marketing strategy and decide which tools and changes you can implement to drive maximum success in the months ahead. Now, I know strategizing is no easy feat, but approaching this task doesn’t have to be daunting when you’ve got guidance from the pros.

Seth Godin, a best-selling American author and entrepreneur, recently shared a multitude of thought-provoking perspectives while promoting his newest book This is Marketing on the podcast Self Made Man. The episode focuses on how marketing is changing, and when the host asks about how people should measure the effectiveness of their marketing today, Seth said:

“It begins with the feeling of knowing who would miss you if you didn't show up tomorrow. If your brand were to disappear tomorrow, who would truly miss you? If your podcast didn't go live on its scheduled day, how many people would you hear from? If you shut down your restaurant on Thursday, how many people on Friday would feel bereft?”

You can get a better idea of where you are today, and where you want to go, by considering your answer to this question and contemplating some more of Seth’s marketing points.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Engagement, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, Online Community

7 Ways to Refine Your Buyer Personas with Community Data

Written by Annie Moncure on January 15, 2019 at 8:30 AM | 13 minute read

All great buyer personas are alike; each bad buyer persona is bad in its own way. 

Sound familiar? Well, it’s not exactly how Leo Tolstoy began his classic novel, Anna Karenina, but if he’d been a marketer, we’d bet at least a dollar that he would have.   

And what is that common ingredient that makes all great buyer personas alike

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Topics: Online Community Management, Marketing, Online Community Software, Marketing Automation, Online Community

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