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Association Project Management, LLC

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Getting Started with SEO for your Small Business

Today I want to begin to help you on the long journey to helping your B2C (Business to Consumer) members understand the importance of having a presence in the Digital realms of the Internet, Websites, Social Media, and marketing their business online as a strategy for growth.  I said it’s a long journey, and it IS – it won’t just happen overnight – but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to set off on an adventure, you and I, to find the answers that plague many of your members today regarding marketing and Building their Brand for the purpose of driving more customers to their business and Dollars into their cashboxes.  We’re going to dive into the term-infested waters of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Analytics, Add buys and Pay-Per-clicks (PPCs), Content Marketing, and Social Media, and we’ll look at how they’re currently positioned to harness the power of these things to Build their Brand, and have the best 2020 their business can have thanks to more exposure to more clients who want to buy their products and services.

Who knows – You might even find something here for you and your team at the association too! Here we GO!

SEO helps small business owners create fast, robust, and user-friendly websites that rank higher in search engines, which in turn helps bring more qualified potential customers to their websites and eventually increases conversion rates (simply, converting them from lookers to paying customers).

SEO also helps build brand awareness for your business as search engine users are more likely to trust a site that is on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) than brands who are not.

If you’re a small business owner, you should utilize SEO to build a strong web presence and bypass your competitions to gain new customers for your business and take it to the next level.

Here are the top 5 KEY benefits of SEO for small businesses:

  1. User-Friendly Websites

SEO will help small business owners create a faster, smoother, and user-friendlier website. Although most people still hang on to the old definition of SEO, thinking that it is only about optimizing for the search engines, today SEO is also about improving user experience too.

Well-structured, clean, and uncluttered websites compel a casual visitor to stay longer, thereby decreasing the bounce rate and increasing page views. Similarly, highly relevant content (sales pages and blog articles) keeps you readers happy as they are more likely to answer their questions, solve their pressing issues and helps them find exactly what they’re looking for on your site.

On-page SEO, if done properly, makes your users happy, which makes search engines happy too as they love to serve high-quality information to their users.


  1. Bring in MORE Customers

Let’s face it, one of the main reasons for having a website is to stand out from your competition and increase your customer base. Otherwise, why invest 1,000s of dollars ($) on marketing, right? Businesses that have an SEO optimized website bring MORE customers and grow as twice as fast than businesses who do not have one.

SEO is probably the most efficient and affordable marketing strategy that exists today. Moreover, it will only bring in customers who are actively seeking to find your product or service!

If you’re willing to spend few hours of time, energy, and a small amount of money, SEO will help bring “targeted” traffic to your website, and eventually more customers to your business than any other marketing tactics you’ll ever use.


  1. Better Conversion Rates

SEO-optimized websites load faster, are easy to read and surf, and will display properly in almost all types of devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Websites that are easy to read and navigate are more likely to grab and hold attention from your readers or visitors – i.e. they’re more likely to become your loyal customers, subscribers, and returning visitors.


  1. Build Brand Awareness

One of the benefits of getting higher rankings on the SERPs is building brand awareness. When your sites appear on the first page of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your potential customers are more likely to trust your brand when they search for a particular term rather than other brands that don’t have a strong web presence.

That is why small businesses that want to build better brand awareness (either locally or expanding nationally) must invest in SEO and start gaining top rankings for the key terms related to their business. We’re not in the 90s anymore; search engines now play a significant role in making or breaking your brand.


  1. Bypass Competition

Let’s take an example of two businesses that are in the same industry, selling similar products, at similar prices. One of them has an optimized website while the other has a non-optimized website. Considering everything is else is equal, which company do you think will attract more customers to their website from local searches? Which company will likely grow faster and become more successful?

Search engines and SEO are very powerful. If your competitors are doing SEO marketing, you must ask yourself why you haven’t invested in such a strategy yet too.

Search engine optimization has leveled the marketing playing field for small businesses. It used to be that as a small business unless you were really lucky, you had no way to compete with the big guns of your industry. Now, however, with a bit of strategy, a pinch of small business SEO and some hard work, you can muscle your way into your biggest competitor’s space.

While big businesses still start with an advantage in SEO, with the right strategy, you can find cracks in their armor and come out on top. Yep, even if you’re a startup with a new website.


Over to you. Why do you think SEO is important for small business? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.

Let’s ditch the quest for happiness at work

Everyone benefits when employees roam free

Work-from-anywhere policies for employees who work independently has the power to raise productivity and revenue and decrease hiring costs, according to research from Harvard Business School. The study, which examined the effects of such policies at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also found that letting employees work from anywhere allowed people to move to less expensive areas, increasing their earning power and strengthening local economies in the process. One caveat: It’s unclear if such benefits would apply to those with jobs that require significant collaboration.

Solving the Biggest Objection to Growth

Guest Post: By Mo Bunnell, Author of the Snowball System and founder of Bunnell Idea Group (BIG).

In this video, I’m going to explain the biggest barrier I hear our clients talk about when it comes to their own growth. There are three major plateaus that people can get to when it comes to growing their business.

Level one, bringing in enough business you can keep yourself busy. If you’re a professional, it might be bringing enough hours or projects to keep it busy. If you are an account manager, it is leading a client relationship for the first time. If you are a business owner, it is bringing enough to keep you busy, but nobody else. Those folks usually have one foot in delivery and one foot in business development.

Level two is where you get so good at this stuff, you are feeding an entire group of people, because your business development skills are so honed you can bring in enough business to feed others.

Level three, you get so great at this that you’re now teaching others how to do business development. In that case, you might have hundreds of people reporting to you in various mechanisms, so that you’re bringing in so much business and you’re helping others bring in their business that now you have an entire organization reporting up to you.

Why don’t people go from one level to the next? I hear one answer all the time, “Mo, I’m too busy. It takes too much time to run the business. I don’t have time to get better at my own craft of business development.”

But I have a solution for you. One of my friends, Mike Michalowicz, is a great author. He has had several books that have made a big impact on me, and he has a new one coming out in about a month called Clockwork. I got to review an early version of the book and I absolutely loved it. Mike breaks down every single thing that you need to do to make your business run like clockwork.

If you pair his book Clockwork with our book The Snowball System, you’ve now got a perfect game plan to get your business running on its own without as much of your involvement, which gives you time to tackle everything we teach in The Snowball System, so you can make it to whatever level is next for you when it comes to the craft of business development. Two things make businesses run great. One is the business runs on its own. The other is somebody is bringing in new business for growth. When you’ve got both things humming, you can’t help but help your clients succeed.

Why Retention Marketing Is More Important Than Member Acquisition

Acquiring new members is a driving force that motivates all associations, but it’s not without its limitations. For an association to thrive, it must eventually shift its focus to retaining the members it’s acquired, rather than only landing new ones.

A client or member who stays with your association over time gives you the chance to provide more ongoing value, develop more personalized content, nurture a brand advocate, gain referrals, and earn positive word-of-mouth marketing.

All of this is in addition to the fact that it costs less to retain an existing member than it does to acquire a new one, making it a smart move for your members and your bottom line to keep current members coming back.

The Facts About Member Retention

Research has shown that a 5 percent increase in member retention rates can increase profits by anywhere from 25 to 95 percent. In addition, not only does it cost five times more to acquire a new member than to retain a current one, but it also costs 16 times more to get new members to the same spending level as existing ones. Despite all this, less than a third of association leaders consider member retention a priority.

That could be due, in part, to the fact that the strategies for retaining members are very different from the ones used to acquire new members. While member acquisition relies on your ability to reach and attract new audiences, member retention is more about ongoing engagement, personalization, and value provided over time.

But by analyzing factors like purchase history, search history, and member feedback, you can implement marketing tactics that better facilitate engagement using personalized content that delivers value — targeting your members and clients with better messaging around the products and services they’re already interested in.

People want to work and spend money with brands that make them feel special. And at a time when members are looking for ways to meet their needs in faster, easier, and less expensive ways, your ability to keep them feeling important via highly targeted, customized messaging and offers will be key to retaining their membership.

5 Tactics for Retaining Members

Shifting your marketing strategy to retaining members doesn’t mean you won’t get any new ones, but it does give your association a way to turn existing members into advocates who can help drive acquisition. For your association to shift its focus and retain members, it must rethink member relationships and take advantage of marketing tactics designed specifically to engage its existing clients and members. Here are four ways to get started:

  1. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to retain members. Ongoing email engagement is a solid part of any marketing strategy, so share new content, relevant offers, and updates as they’re available. For member retention specifically, consider strategies that contact your members when they’re about to run out of your product when they leave items in their cart, when it’s been a while since their last transaction, or on a special occasion to deliver a unique promotion.

  1. Member Appreciation

Many associations host some form of a member appreciation day or week that gives special attention and recognition to their loyal members. This can be helpful for giving members even more reason to continue memberships and demonstrating that you value what they do for your association.

Another good way to show your appreciation for your members is to engage them in a fun contest and reward their participation. For example, a year or so ago, Influence & Co. held a social media competition in which it asked followers to post pictures of someone who meant a lot to them and thank that person for being their #TopofMindMVP. Everyone who participated was entered in a drawing to win a free copy of John Hall’s book, “Top of Mind.” You can do something similar exclusively for your existing members, which will help strengthen your relationship and make for a fun exchange.  I’d like to recommend and encourage another book: Mo Bunnell’s “The Snowball System” – just released this week by Hachette Publishers.  It will completely change the way your members approach to building their business.

  1. Content Optimization

Member retention is about more than just the products and services you offer — it’s about the experience you provide for your members. Organizing and optimizing your website content to easily provide additional information and education about your products, services, and industry as a whole will make you a trusted, go-to resource for members.

And when they see you continue to communicate your thought leadership, the trust between your brand and your members strengthens. This helps you stay top of mind and gives you an opportunity to further recommend products or services based on a member’s search trends and website activity.

  1. Loyalty and Reward Programs

It almost goes without saying that people love a good rewards program. Earning points toward free stuff, discounted rates, and upgrades to current purchases is a great way to get your members coming back to you to meet their specific needs. Referral rewards are another way to encourage members to get the most out of your products and services and continue working with you. Plus, by rewarding current members who refer new users, you can encourage member retention and acquisition at the same time.

  1. Implement a Member Success Strategy

While acquiring new members is a fantastic way of building up a strong client base, its effects are limited without effective marketing that keeps members coming back to you over time. Find ways to make your members feel special and important through your messaging and communications with them. Doing so will help you build strong brand advocates and give your association the competitive edge it needs to continue to grow and succeed. Member Success is a system, run by people whose only goal is to help members get the most out of their membership. It happens straight after their joining the association is processed. Keeping members close and working with them 1-on-1 is a Member Success style known as Concierge Onboarding. While startups, SaaS companies, and now even associations like yours are starting to focus on it only now, the early results are promising — members who’ve gotten a customized onboarding experience with their membership and have returned year after year to their associations have doubled and reduced non-renewals (what We call Churn) by 50% over the last several years where Member Success has been more closely measured.

Member Success is where 90% of association revenue is. It doesn’t just mean that members keep paying their annual dues, it also means that they will be inclined to promote the member product to others in their industry and become advocates for your association.

With association memberships, successful members compound your revenue massively because they are the ones who encourage their peers to join your association, give you member prospect referrals and are promoters of your products and services.

Once your association becomes the go-to solution for a large company, that one member could be paying your entire Member Success team’s salaries every month!

If you’re ready to Get on Board with a member success program for your association, email us today. We’d love to set up a phone call, get to know you and your organization better, and discuss how in just 3 weeks’ time we get can get your association on the road to growth, ROI, and most importantly – happy members. Remember – you’re not in Association Membership Sales – you’re in Association Membership Success.