With a multitude of organizations on campus, it can seem daunting to try and make your chapter stand out. Utilizing your organization’s style guides, templates and tools can be an easy way to create consistency while also boosting brand awareness. While it may seem like a small detail, marketing elements like a consistent color palette can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.
In the first post of our Chapter Leader Playbook series, we looked at how you can use word-of-mouth marketing to build campus and community interest in your chapter. Another important element of building your chapter’s reputation is maintaining a recognizable brand.
To start, leverage the tools and resources provided by National. Every organization has its own branding guidelines that create a strong, recognizable brand across chapters nation-wide. Style guides will typically provide you with guidance on the following essential elements of any marketing collateral:
Each organization has its own mission statement, which summarizes their purpose, values, and goals. Ensure your marketing efforts always align with the core of the mission statement.
NAME AND LOGO
Follow the rules concerning what can and can’t be done with your organization’s name and logo. Your organization may offer several versions of the logo for use. When choosing a logo to use for your collateral, be sure to prioritize readability for the medium you intend to use it in.
Ensure your marketing looks polished and professional by using the correct color palette provided by your organization. For those familiar with the brand, your collateral will be immediately recognizable as belonging to your organization.
Maintaining consistent typography use, in accordance with brand standards, can build brand recognition. Most organizations will offer a variety of fonts so you can use a combination that makes sense for the theme of your collateral.
BRAND ALIGNED IMAGERY
Stick to the pre-approved image styles set out in your brand guidelines. This could include photo treatments, patterns, and textures that allow for flexibility and personality in your design.
If you have questions on any of the above, reach out to National for guidance. You don’t want to spend money on marketing collateral only to find out you can’t use it.
EMAIL MARKETING & TEMPLATES
With your style guide elements already in place, you have a head start when it comes to email marketing. Guidelines take away the guesswork so that you can focus on creating the best content for your emails. An e-newsletter is a quick and efficient tool for communicating with the maximum number of people.
Before you start the work of putting the email or newsletter together yourself, check to see if your organization has email or newsletter templates available for you to use. These might include frequently sent newsletters such as a monthly update, new member welcome, member benefit reminders, event information, and education opportunities.
If they don’t, research software that can make your life easier when creating your own. Take a look at Constant Contact, Mailchimp, GetResponse, SparkPost, ActiveCampaign or Outlook. Any one of these sites can offer you templates that make putting an email together a breeze.
IMPROVE YOUR CHAPTER’S EMAIL MARKETING PERFORMANCE
When creating your email or newsletter, you want to make sure the content is compelling and that you’ve optimized it for deliverability. These four simple steps will ensure your e-newsletter gets results:
CLEAR CALL TO ACTION (CTA)
Your email should include a clear and persuasive CTA. This could include signing up for an event, filling out a survey, or nominating someone for an award. Keep it simple and easy to follow by only including one CTA per email.
STAND OUT SUBJECT LINE
The subject line of your email should stand out in a crowded email inbox. In fact, people may decide whether or not to open your email based on the subject line alone.
Keep your email nicely formatted and easy to consume. Use bullet points, incorporate images, and break text into bite-sized chunks. If the email looks boring, or is challenging to read, you won’t get results.
Encourage your members to add your chapter’s email to their subscription list. This simple step can help ensure that your email arrives in their inbox in the first place. Make sure your email database is current and includes everyone that should receive the email.
CREATING YOUR CHAPTER WEBSITE
Your chapter may already have a social media presence, but your chapter website is just as important. Websites can serve as a repository of essential information. Your website should be unique to your chapter while still adhering to your organization’s brand and style guidelines we discussed earlier.
If you’re setting up a website for your chapter, make sure to check with your contact at National to see if they provide site templates or hosting. If they do offer site hosting, get the ball rolling with these questions:
- Who do you contact at National to start the process? What unique content are you responsible for?
- Are there any guidelines/minimum requirements for frequency of website updates?
- Is there access to National for support if you run into challenges? Who is the point of contact?
If you’re building a website from scratch, there are plenty of low-cost tools that simplify the process. Check out Wix, Envato, WordPress, Weebly and Squarespace for a few options. Consult with National on these questions before getting started on your own:
- Is there a preferred provider list you should use to start your search?
- Is there a website branding guide you should follow?
- Are there minimum requirements in terms of content that should be visible on the site?
- Is there a member community or portal you’ll have to integrate into the website?
- Is there any access to technical support at National if you get stuck? Who is the point of contact?
By maximizing the style guides, tools, and resources available to you, you can build a unique, recognizable brand for your chapter. In the next post of our Chapter Leader Playbook series, we look at how to maximize another powerful tool – your chapter’s social media presence.