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The Non-Dues Recipe for Success: Part 2 – Activation & Onboarding

Pie Baking

The Main IngredientUnderstanding That a Pre-Heated Oven Makes the Best Cake

Activating & onboarding a new advertising association client comes with lots of responsibility. We recognize that each client is unique in the products they have, where they want to grow and their future vision. It is imperative that we understand their business, create shared goals, develop collateral, and set up systems for managing various tasks and items. All of which, guide us in our recipe for success.

1. Align on a Vision – to fully understand what the association is looking for in an Ad Sales Partner.

  • Is the goal to simply increase revenue, expand digital advertising, or perhaps a combination?
  • Organize bi-monthly check-in meetings to maintain alignment, ask questions, discuss new developments, and update the client on progress including addressing any challenges that may arise.

2. Hey Good Lookin’ – Whatcha Got Cookin’?

It is important to understand what product offerings the association has (print and/or digital advertising), the frequency in which these are created and the audience that consumes the material.

3. Develop Customized Marketing and Sales Documents

  • Solidify Ad size offerings and create a rate card.
  • Offer discounts based on frequency/packages buys, premium ad positioning, and other specific promotional opportunities.
  • Collaborate with editorial team to create a yearlong editorial calendar that includes important subject matter topics that your prospective advertisers will want to align with.
  • Work with the design team to ensure that the branding is consistent and on-point, especially in the case of a re-design/refresh of a magazine or website.

4. Make a Splash and Simplify

Alert the market, along with the associations’ customers, members, and other industry leaders to the change in sales companies.

  • Co-author a Press Release announcing the new partnership.
  • Simplify by using a shared email address that forwards to the sales lead, utilizing the client’s domain (adsales@associationname.org).
  • Ensure consistency by replacing any old collateral with the information for the new Ad Sales Partner.

5. Communication is Key

  • Individual Outreach – as a follow up to the original press release. Personalized correspondence can go a long way in explaining the new partnership role, new product offerings, and get prospects excited about advertising opportunities!
  • Top Priority – is to have one-on-one email or phone conversations with VIP customers and previous advertisers.
  • Prompt Follow Up – with all advertising prospects within a week of the new partnership announcement. Timeliness avoids confusion.
  • Targeted Emails – to announce exciting new developments, upcoming editorial topics, closing deadlines, and remind the audience why they should be advertising to the associations’ audience.
  • Collaborate with Editorial Team – prior to issue closing dates for updates on upcoming content that may be relevant to the advertisers.
  • Design Team Report – the day after issue space close. Include final ad counts and all positioning requirements. Ensure that the advertisers got what they were promised and give the design team guidance for building out the next issue.
  • Info Exchange with Production and Print Teams – by including ad material submission information (who is in, who is still outstanding, who submitted the wrong size file, and any special requests) to guarantee that upload deadlines and prints are not missed.

We implemented these steps recently during the onboarding process of a new Association client, in which we were tasked with revamping and rebranding their flagship print publication, as well as building out a full-scale advertising program that would deliver growth and a healthy net return. Click here to learn more about the recipe in action as we embarked on this journey. 

Looking for the rest of the recipe? Click here to read Part One (Culture) and Part Three (Data).

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