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Effective Marketing and Communication Strategies
Serena Kamps, EAA Lifetime 1011028
March 2022 –
In this article series, we will be looking at the best practices we see the most successful chapters consistently engaging in.
One of the biggest keys to chapter success is for the chapter and their activities to be visible on the airport and to their community. Unfortunately, all too often, chapters are the best-kept secret at their airports. If people don’t know that the chapter exists, how will they join and participate?
Thankfully, EAA has many tools available to help you market your chapter and promote your events.
- Did you know that EAA can send up to three emails (called ChapterBlasts) per year on your chapter’s behalf to EAA members in your area inviting them to chapter events?
- Did you know that you can create your own customized chapter marketing materials with easy-to-use, professionally designed templates?
- Did you know you can request EAA program brochures to hand out at your next event?
- Did you know that you can purchase quality banners with your chapter information on them as well as professional-looking tablecloths/runners for a very reasonable price?
Information on all of this and more can be found at EAA.org/ChapterResources. Look for the title Chapter Marketing and Recruitment and click it to access the list.
Besides EAA-provided materials, chapters have come up with many creative ways to make themselves visible through the following outlets.
- Signage – Airports can be intimidating and confusing to someone who has never set foot on one before and even though you may know yours like the back of your hand, it won’t be so obvious to a newcomer. This is especially important to keep in mind during chapter events. Mark appropriately! Put out signage they can’t miss. Beside signage during events, consider creating a more permanent mark by mounting a sign near the airport entrance with your chapter name and meeting information. If your chapter owns a hangar, consider putting a sign on the hangar or go even bolder by painting your chapter number on the roof! Not only will this be a fun group project to complete as a chapter, it will make your chapter hangar unmistakable!
- Website – In today’s world, the first place a person will go to look up more information is your chapter website. Does your chapter have one? Is it up-to-date? A “no” answer to these questions makes it appear that the chapter either does not exist or is not active. A website is where all the basic information about your chapter should be stored — things like general meeting and officer information, newsletter archives/meeting minutes, upcoming events, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated and really shouldn’t be as this will only make maintenance and upkeep more difficult as it is handed from person to person over time. Your chapter is welcome to develop their own website but EAA is pleased to offer a free website to all chapters. One particular advantage of this one is that the meeting and officer information is pulled directly from EAA’s database so when you inform us of any changes and we make the updates to our system, the new information will automatically populate to your website. Learn more about EAA chapter websites.
- Social media – While a chapter website tends to be more static, a social media presence can provide a way for you to interact with members and prospects in a more dynamic way. You’ll want to keep content fresh and current. Posting something at least once a week is a good starting point. Besides announcements about meetings and events, you can engage your members by asking a question, sharing aviation content from other sites, highlighting member aviation achievements, and the like.
- Newsletter – With all of the focus on an online presence, you might think that the traditional newsletter no longer has a place, but nothing could be farther from the truth! A newsletter, whether in print or digital format, is a great way to keep your members in the loop on current and upcoming events, update them on aviation news, provide value-added content through educational articles, introduce new members, etc. It can also have a reach beyond your chapter members. Compile a list of prospects and chapter friends and make sure they receive it as well.
- Engage with local media – One of the best means of free advertising available to you as a chapter is through your local media. Newspapers, TV, and community magazines are great places to share the great things your chapter is doing and present general aviation in a positive light. Learn tips for building a relationship with the media and view a sample press release.
Even with all of these tools available to you, it seems that perhaps one of the most effective marketing tools out there is still the simple verbal invite. In a survey of chapter members, 60 percent responded that the way they heard about their chapter was via word of mouth. Don’t underestimate the power of dropping a word about your chapter when you’re out and about!
In summary, here are a few top tips:
- Make your chapter easy to find!
- Keep your chapter information up-to-date.
- Be timely with responses to phone or email inquiries.
If you do nothing else but these three, you’ll have a good start.