A Look at Digital Marketing Software for Associations
If you’ve ever set up a digital campaign—whether through Facebook ads, retargeting, or email—you know current technology provides lots of great opportunities to get in front of your targeted audience as they go about their online lives. But managing digital advertising across different platforms can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t live and breathe marketing like we do 😉
Recently, we had the opportunity to explore a tool specifically designed for associations and event organizers, one that promises to help you manage membership, event, and sponsorship campaigns all in one place: Feathr. Read on for an explanation of what Feathr does, how one Willow client has used it, and our thoughts on whether or not it might be for you.
What Feathr Does
Feathr calls itself a “digital marketing toolkit,” and it advertises three distinct capabilities:
- Ad management, where you can set up display ads to show across a variety of ad exchanges, including Facebook.
- “Invite campaigns,” where you find tools to collaborate with your sponsors, speakers, or exhibitors. You can provide your partners with marketing emails, banners, and landing pages to use to help promote your association, all from a partner dashboard.
- Sponsor monetization, where you can give your sponsors access to your digital audience so they can advertise to them over a designated period of time.
These features allow you to build integrated marketing campaigns to boost event attendance, sponsorship, and membership. The underlying feature that makes all of this most useful, however, is Feathr’s ability to track and analyze individual behavior. A fundamental rule of advertising is that it works best when you show the right message to someone at the right time. Put Feathr’s code on your website or registration pages (or any other page you want to track), and the platform will start to track each user’s visits and clicks. Feathr then automatically segments your audience, identifying patterns, giving you insights into how people behave, and letting you know which groups might be the best to target for the action you want them to take.
An Example: Geotargeting
Earlier this year, Willow worked with The Organization of American Historians to get up and running on the Feathr platform. OAH was interested in trying three different types of campaigns:
- A geofencing campaign to show ads to people in a specific location during an event
- A retargeting campaign for people who start to register for the OAH annual meeting but don’t complete the registration process
- A membership campaign to increase new member registrations
We decided to start with the geofencing campaign. The idea was to target attendees during an event held by a related association. OAH knew many of the people attending this conference would be interested in also attending OAH’s Annual Meeting, so we set up a display ad campaign that would only show to people at the conference site.
While this was the first time OAH had set up a campaign like this, Feathr made the process relatively easy, with multiple demos to show how the platform worked and a dedicated account rep to answer any questions. Willow wrote and designed the ads, but OAH was able to set up and run the campaign themselves. When they ran into an issue—the platform would only let them target one hotel location, but the conference was being held at two hotels—all they had to do was send an email to Feathr to get the campaign setup tweaked the way they needed.
Using geofencing as a starting point, OAH created a multi-faceted campaign with nine ad segments, each running for different lengths and containing different messaging. They spent a total of $1,950, resulting in…
- 417,355 impressions
- 1,199 clicks to the website
- 177 people who began the registration process but did not finish
- 114 completed registrations
- $19,555 in additional revenue
Ultimately, the campaign more than paid for itself, and OAH saw a clear impact and ROI—plus, they now have audience segments, leads, and data they can use on future campaigns.
Should You Look into a Tool Like Feathr?
OAH saw great results from their first campaign, and they’re continuing to use Feathr and explore some of its other features. But when it comes down to it, knowing whether or not a tool like Feathr is for your association depends on both your organization’s goals and your team’s existing resources. In our opinion, Feathr is best for associations that might not have a lot of digital marketing resources but still want to expand their online marketing efforts. When you don’t have the time to spend on customizing, building out, and analyzing campaigns, Feathr’s automation and ease-of-use makes digital campaigns doable—and profitable. However, if you have someone on your team experienced in digital campaigns, they may prefer to set things up manually to have more control, or to also use platforms Feathr doesn’t currently support, like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Whatever your team makeup and ease with digital campaigns, if you want to do more with digital, we can help. Send us a note, or read about other ways to boost your online marketing: with content or social media.