5: 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Marketing Piece

Price Is Right-style spinner wheel stopped on the number ten

We’re at the midpoint of the Top 10 All-Time Spark blog posts, with #5: 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Marketing Piece.

The original piece was written in response to a conference presentation I’ve given a handful of times, where I ask participants to submit their marketing pieces ahead of time, I work with the sponsoring organization to mount them on foamboard and place them around the room on easels in advance, and then after sharing the 10 Tips, I hand the attendees markers and turn them loose to critique each others’ pieces.

At the end, we do a debrief and the people who were brave enough to offer their pieces up for commentary get to take them – and the other participants’ ideas and suggestions for improvement (and compliments!) – home.

It’s fun and energetic and, in addition to gaining a little knowledge, the participants also get to see a big library of marketing samples in person.

Looking back at the ten tips, I think it’s all still applicable.

If I had to reduce it to just a few things to keep top of mind, I would say that the best marketing pieces include a clear call to action and are sent as part of a multi-channel integrated campaign that maintains a consistent visual through-line.

Call to action: You have to have one, otherwise why are you bothering people and wasting your own time and money? And make sure the call to action is clear to people who don’t have insider knowledge about your association (so not just staff and your most dedicated volunteers).

Multi-channel campaign: With the pandemic, it’s become particularly tempting to switch all our marketing communications over to email – after all, who’s in the office these days? Thing is, even for associations, which have an unusually high email open (~36%) and click (~16%) rate (per Higher Logic’s 2018 State of Marketing Automation report), that’s still an AWFUL lot of people who AREN’T reading those emails. A few years ago, I was working with an association on a renewal campaign. Their renewal rate had dropped to about 65%. We obviously made a LOT of changes, but one of the most effective things we did was to resume sending a mail piece (which they’d previously stopped doing), in the form of a colorful postcard with a snappy member testimonial and a custom URL that led to a simplified renewal process. By the end of the campaign, the renewal rate for our key membership category (full rate professional members) topped 72%. Was it just the postcard? Of course not, but the postcard had a measurable impact on that improvement.

Visual through-line: You don’t want your members and other audiences to delete/ignore/immediately recycle without reading your lovely marketing pieces because they have no idea who it’s coming from. ‘Nuff said.

Oh – and be sure to proofread. I still remember that event marketing piece that had no information about the date, time, or location of the event. C’MON, MAN!

Photo by Krissia Cruz on Unsplash