Monday, August 15, 2016

Deliver your Chapter’s Unique Value Part 4 – Power-up Your Chapter’s Marketing

For the past three blogs we’ve been thinking about delivering your chapter’s unique value to differentiate it from everything else that’s out there: going online for information, doing nothing about one’s hearing loss, and so on.  We talked about analyzing your chapter’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We talked about looking for ways to chapters might use strengths to mitigate threats and weaknesses.

Today I’d like you to consider some ideas to power-up your Chapter’s marketing.

When we talk about marketing, most people immediately think of meeting announcements, brochures and flyers.  Meeting announcements, brochures and flyers are very important and no chapter should be without them.   Powering up your chapter’s marketing, however, is so much more than that.   It is adding a set of experiences to meeting announcements, brochures and flyers that communicate to the world WHY your chapter exists and WHY its existence matters. 

Where and how do you even begin?  Instead of just talking about what your chapter does, also talk about WHY it matters. 

·         WHY does your chapter exist? To make the world a better place for people with hearing loss through information, education, support, and advocacy.

·         WHY does your chapter do the things that it does?  Because we expand our worlds when we do things together

·         WHY should someone come to your chapter?  To experience not having to hide one’s hearing loss anymore.  To experience the power of community and other people in overcoming the daily challenges of hearing loss. To find a place in a hearing world where it is okay not to hear typically.

·         WHY should they come back?  To tap into understanding and acceptance.  To make friends. To have fun.  To have experiences they would not otherwise have.  Did I forget to say to have fun?

People respond to people.  Providing information that focuses on WHY what your chapter offers and does matters opens the door to more people-generated referrals. People-generated referrals in turn, supplement the referrals from your meeting announcements, brochures and flyers.

What are some examples of people-generated referral opportunities for your chapter?

·         People your chapter meets at community events who respond to your chapter’s presence. Events matter!  Get out there in the community. Go to where the people with hearing loss in addition to using meeting announcements, brochures, and flyers. 

·         People individual chapter members talk to at the grocery store, doctor’s office, gym, or the dry cleaners’ who respond to a member’s compassion

·         People hearing health care providers refer to your chapter

·         People who meet your chapter members out in the community going to restaurants, enjoying captioned movies and looped performance halls, shopping in stores, walking their dogs, and book clubs

·         People who see HLAA chapter members laughing and enjoying life again. HLAA members may have lost their hearing but they haven’t lost their capacity to enjoy life!

Success breeds success.  When people see your chapter members living the life on their terms, moving confidently in the direction of their goals, they will want that for themselves.

Provide the real experience that can’t be experienced on-line.  See if your chapter can get out once a month.  If once a month isn’t feasible…make it once a quarter.  If once a quarter isn’t feasible, try twice a year.  Stumped for ideas?  Check out the Outreach and Community Service Project Ideas  on the HLAA website’s Leader Support page:   

Try reaching out to the community with compelling experiences that show WHY your chapter and what it does matters.   See if the community doesn’t reach back out to you….at least a little.  I’m betting you will be surprised and your chapter members will have a LOT more fun.

In the next blog we are going to talk about another way to deliver your chapter’s unique value – by providing an incredible experience for anyone who walks into a chapter meeting.  Stay tuned and thank you for sharing your time and talents with HLAA! 

Valerie Stafford-Mallis

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