If it's your job to get new members to join your club, you know traditional club marketing methods don’t yield great results. If you’ve been inspired by the marketing techniques we write about on the Crushing Club Marketing (CCM) blog and discuss on the CCM podcast but don't think you have the budget to make it work, think again!
There are free versions of many of the tools we talk about. Bundle them together with some smart strategy and you can start down the path to attract, convert, and close new members without spending tons of money.
1. Website Analytics
Most prospective members will spend time on your website, but is your website helping your membership sales efforts? In order to know where you want to go, it's important to know where you are. And, furthermore, where you've been. Properly tracking your website traffic gives you the opportunity to make informed decisions surrounding your online presence.
With a tool like Google Analytics, you have the ability to see your website's most frequently visited pages, which channels are driving the most traffic (direct, organic search, social, etc.), new vs. recurring traffic, devices used to visit your site (mobile, desktop, etc.), bounce rates, average duration, and more!
2. Blogging Platform
A blogging platform enables you to create new pages or blog posts on your website aimed to educate and inspire prospective members. Often times, blog posts are used to answer common club-related questions, showcase your club’s personality, and share unique member stories.
Depending on the content management system (CMS) you use, a blogging platform may be included. For example, WordPress is a well-known CMS with a robust and user-friendly blogging platform. Other free platforms include Wix and Yola.
3. Social Media Publishing
Thankfully, there are free tools available that can help you manage the distribution of content to all your accounts in one centralized platform. For example, Hootsuite lets an individual schedule up to 30 messages at one time to three different social profiles. Other tools with free versions include Buffer and Social Pilot.
1. Lead Capture
Attracting more visitors to your website is only one part of the inbound marketing methodology. Once a prospective member is on your site, the question becomes, "How do we capture the attention of our website visitors to engage with us on a deeper level?"
Modern marketers do this by creating conversion opportunities where site visitors must provide information about themselves to gain access to more advanced content via an online form submission.
For example, your club may have documented membership details that you can make available to visitors in exchange for their first name, last name, email address, and phone number. This is a way to convert website visitors into leads, and begin communicating directly with these prospective members.
Conversions require more than a simple “contact us” form. Fortunately, Google Forms and HubSpot's free marketing automation platform allow you to customize and embed forms on web pages, and they're FREE! HubSpot will even collect data on each contact's behavior on your website and store it within their individual contact record. This gives you even more important information as you engage that prospective member!
Other applications allow you to display pop-up forms on specific web pages to catch the eyes of your visitors. There is a free tool called Hello Bar that will allow you to serve up creative offers throughout your site to capture lead information.
1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
After you've enticed a web visitor enough to provide their personal information, it's crucial that you have a platform to store that important data. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution will help with that! Most CRMs go well beyond the simple function of storing contact data. Today’s CRMs include email and phone integrations, task management, contact and company insights, deal/pipeline tracking, email sending and scheduling capabilities, and more.
If you're looking for a free platform, there are plenty of options, but not all free CRMs are created equal. A few of the main features to weigh when evaluating options are:
Max number of free users
Max number of free contacts
File and record store limit
Depending on the lead capture tool and CRM combo you choose to implement, you may have to set up an integration between the two to transfer the information from the form submission to your CRM portal. There's an online application called Zapier that can help transfer that type of data if necessary. You'll want to take that into account when narrowing in on the right CRM for your club’s needs.
We may be a little bit biased, but we will always recommend the HubSpot CRM as it's a great place for most small-to-medium-sized businesses. It has robust functionality while still being easy to navigate.
2. Email Marketing
After recording leads in your CRM, you'll likely want to nurture those contacts via email. Email marketing can be a very effective channel for staying in front of your prospects with helpful information to get closer to a sales-ready mentality.
When looking for a free email marketing tool, you'll want to look closely at the maximum number of subscribers and a maximum number of emails per month. For example, MailChimp's free platform allows you to have 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. These thresholds may vary for other tools.
Additionally, MailChimp will let you create new templates and execute automated emails based on actions taken on your website.
To summarize, piecing together a powerful inbound marketing campaign doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Club marketing success can absolutely be achieved with smart tactics implemented on the right tools without a massive budget. If you need help determining the best applications for your business, I encourage you to grab time on my calendar. I'd be happy to hear about your challenges and goals to recommend the best options.