The #3 Secret to Growing our Clubs – Part 2

by May 23, 2017

We’ve learned Secret #1, #2 and part 1 of Secret #3 to of growing our clubs. (see Views for April 11th, 25th and May 9th.)  In part 1 of Secret #3, we learned a bit about Marketing Campaigns and how we need to change our approach to growing our club.  Now let’s looks at some practical steps we can take.

There are two forms of marketing our clubs can engage in:
  • Inbound Marketing – Where we attempt to attract people to our club by making sure it shows up in front of them when they are surfing the internet.
  • Outbound Marketing – Where we attempt to attract people to our club by reaching out to them where the shop, eat, work, worship and read.
Inbound Marketing
For most clubs, Inbound Marketing consists of our club website, club Facebook page (if we have one) or club Events on (if we have them).   Some clubs use other social media tools, but we’ll not discuss them here.
  • Our Club Website – TI tells us that 95% of the people who walk into our club uninvited will have found us via our club website.  It therefore behooves us to make our club websites effective tools of attraction.  To do this we should:
    • Be sure our club name and city are in the title of the page, the 1st heading on the page and in the first paragraph of text.  This makes a big difference in search engine results placement.
    • Make the home page about the guest, not a place for club news.  Create other pages for club news and member information.  Fill the home page with information that a guest would want to see.
    • Get rid of stock art photographs and replace them with action shots of our own club members speaking to an audience.
    • Keep the website up to date, by refreshing it at least monthly.  If you need an excuse to refresh the website, put a member testimonial on the home page and swap it for a new one every month.
  • Our Club Facebook Page – Not every club has a Facebook page, but if you have one you must update regularly (i.e. at least weekly) if you want it to be effective.  No one is attracted to stale pages.  We can do all the obvious updates, like pictures of club members being recognized in front of the club and postings of who will be speaking at the next meeting.  Some clubs add a new role to their meetings call a post master.  The post master’s job is make note of an interesting quote, a humorous quip or some other tidbit from the meeting.  This quote, quip or tidbit then gets posted to the Facebook page within a few hours of the meeting.
  • – This is a tool in which a club can create an Event that coincides with their meetings.  We use this tool to attract people interested in public speaker or leadership in our area to our clubs.  While there no quantitative data on how effective Meetup can be, there are a lot of stories of club consistently receive 1 – 3 visitors per meeting after they’ve had their Meetup Events up for a while.  (The District now provides Meetup for free.  Learn how here.)
Outbound Marketing 
Outbound Marketing is us reaching out to the people we wish to attract to our club.  Here are some of the ways clubs typically reach out:
  • Personal Invitations – While it isn’t sexy, there is no other means of bringing in new members more effective than members personally inviting their friends.
  • Demo Meetings – This is a small team of 5 – 6 Toastmasters going to another group’s meeting and putting on a 25 minute mini-Toastmaster meeting.  Some club get great results give demo meetings to local service clubs and associations.
  • Open Houses – We invite the community to come visit our club and see what we are about.  Adding food increases the likelihood of guests.  Some open houses us a guest presenter, speaking on a topic of special interest to the local community, to increase the number of guests.
  • SpeechCrafts – SpeechCrafts are typically 4 – 8 session classes on public speaking and leadership.  They are offered to the public as a service and as a way of building membership.  You can learn more about them here.
  • Business Awareness Campaigns – In a Business Awareness Campaign, club members go out into their local business community, usually in pairs.  They go into businesses and ask to speak with the owners or managers.  The members are NOT trying to recruit the owners/managers.  They are simply making the owners/managers aware that the club exists, meets nearby and that employees who need speaking and leadership training can be sent to it.
  • Speaking in other Meetings – Club members go out to local service clubs and associations.  They give talks that will be of interest to them, mentioning during the talk that the club exists and how it can assist people.
  • New Releases – Continue to send out news releases to local and community papers and radio stations regarding anything newsworthy, i.e. officer elections, educational achievements, special meetings, etc.
  • Public Calendars – It is surprising how just putting meeting notices in local online calendars (i.e. our public library, local newspapers, chamber of commerce, etc.) can result in guests.  Keeping club meetings in these online calendars is usually an ongoing effort, as few of these calendars will allow recurring events.
  • Fliers – We don’t have to wait for a special event, like an open house, to put fliers up.  We can post fliers about our regular club meetings.  We should put them up where are target audience is likely to see them.  Coffee shops are a favorite of mine.
  • Local Radio – Local radio stations are always looking for people to interview.  Members of our club can volunteer to be interviewed.   We can also send them new releases and reminders of our regular meetings.
In our next View, we’ll look Part 3 of Secret #3, what small clubs need to know to market themselves effectively.
Help Wanted!
Coaches for Low Membership Clubs  – Looking for an opportunity to learn new skills, advance in your designations and help out our organization.  This opportunity will help you achieve these objectives.  A club coach is a Toastmaster who is not a member of the club.   Being from outside the club allows the coach to objectively view the club. The coach is a counselor, a source of knowledge and a fountain of ideas.   If you are interested in learning more, please contact our Club Growth Director.
Thank you for your service!
Kyle Hall, 2016-17 D32 Club Growth Director