While it may be hard to hear, summer 2016 is in its final lap. It’s just a matter of time before the leaves begin to change and the air becomes crisp and cool. Between sips of your fall-themed latte, take note of the following factors you may not have considered when marketing associations or not-for-profits during the fall season.
1. Fresh Start
While the typical fresh-start calendar date is January 1st, for many the beginning of school marks a much more significant opportunity to re-center and focus on the year ahead. Many of your association’s members are parents with children, so the feeling of anticipation and new beginnings is always in the air around this time. Use this to your benefit by sending membership reminders and any requests asking for a commitment for the next year. Being front of mind while potential members/existing members are thinking about the year long-term will lend itself to more interaction and engagement, not just for the next few months, but for the upcoming year.
2. Simplification and Decluttering
Along with fresh starts is often the desire to rid oneself of the clutter of the past year. We come away from our relaxing weekend vacations feeling focused and calm, and ready to tackle that closet full of clothes we haven’t worn in ages. This mentality translates to the not-for-profit world. Be sure to remind your members why it is important that your association/not-for-profit doesn’t get slashed from their list of important commitments. Focus your marketing strategy around the benefits of engagement and membership and increase outreach during this time. Not only do you not want to get cut, but you also want to confirm a commitment before the member becomes bogged down with work later in the year.
3. Summertime Sadness
The reality is that summer ending is a bummer. We do not want to be reminded of it with every email and promotion we encounter. “Last Days of Summer Sale” is a phrase we are all too familiar with. Alternatively focus on the positives of the changing season. Instead of a promotion focusing on the final hours of the summer weather, draw on Starbuck’s marketing strategy. While the “pumpkin spice latte” craze may be cliché, the point is that it’s focusing on the benefits of cooler fall weather… the cozy, leaves-crunching, book-reading part of the season. Focusing on the positives in your marketing will encourage more engagement and less unopened emails.
4. Holiday Countdown
The winter holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, New Years, etc.) can be overwhelming for many people. There are never ending social events, gifts to be purchased and food to be prepared. Before your members are already exhausted by the idea of the holiday season, it may be wise to prepare your invites to any upcoming events in the winter months. While it depends largely on your demographic, for many people the summer can erase many memories of the stress associated with the holiday season. This presents the opportunity to plan that December event so you can be first out the gate when sending the invites and secure your attendees earlier on.
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