How to Grow A Profitable Association – real examples from California & Houston

I was lucky enough to be the panel leader for SchipulCon’s “How to Grow A Profitable Association” presentation, with Tony Brock of (Schipul client) ThinkLA and April Guzik of AIGA Houston. These two organizations have been able to grow memberships and sell-out events despite a rocky economy. It was amazing to be able to pick the brains of these two leaders for some tips on what has made their organizations thrive!

ThinkLA is the Los Angeles ad club and interactive marketing association all in one – as many of the groups in the Los Angeles area found that they were appealing to the same members and competing for the same event dollars, they decided to join forces and combine to form ThinkLA. Today it’s one of the most respected associations in California. One of my big questions for Tony was what he attributed ThinkLA’s event success to – what was the magic that could lead to sold-out events again and again? The two big tips from Tony were “Consistency is key” and “Right-size your venue”. When you start out with a new event for your group, listen to the feedback you get from members. Do they like the event? If so, keep it going. Make it consistent for them, so they always have something they know they can look forward to, and refer friends to. Right-sizing the venue was my favorite tip, and one that seems a bit counterintuitive at first. We all hope that we’ll get a huge crowd for an event – but that doesn’t mean you book a venue for that huge crowd. Unless you’re sure you can fill the space, don’t pick a giant venue. It makes the crowd look small and less exciting. On the other hand, if you have a venue that’s smaller, you may sell out tickets. That’s not a bad thing!! Selling out is actually great because it means that people will be sure to buy tickets early for the next event. By right-sizing your venue, you can create the premium experience you want your members to have.

Not surprising for someone having such an awesome name, April Guzik was really interesting to hear from regarding member involvement. It’s easy to say you’re going to be consistent with events, but harder to do so sometimes – board members get busy, life happens, and things can get pushed back. One thing April has done successfully at AIGA Houston is to welcome anyone who wants to take part in the organization – member or not. She values the help that is offered, and will gladly take help from enthusiastic community members. Both Tony and April pointed to the importance of viewing your association goals and missions to benefit the community at large, not just those who are paying dues. Especially as the economy forces many companies to cut back on corporate memberships, associations who continue to welcome these non-members will only thrive. And to thank those who have continued to support the organization through membership, having member-only events or benefits is a great way to say “thanks”.

If you’re on the board of an association or non-profit organization, I would strongly encourage you to check out out video from the SchipulCon presentation. Tony and April both have a lot of great experience with associations; in places as diverse and complex as California and Texas. They shared a lot of great tips that board leaders can take away and put in to place.

How to grow a profitable association (and be a bad ass member) from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Thank you for a wonderful SchipulCon 2011!

Dries Buytaert and Matt Mullenweg at SchipulCon 2011

Last week’s SchipulCon event went above and beyond our wildest dreams, expectations and Red Bull-infused late night planning.

To all of our 200+ attendees, speakers, sponsors and friends – YOU took SchipulCon to new levels and we couldn’t be more appreciative.  The training, knowledge sharing, hallway conversations and impromptu playtimes and collaborations made last week one of the most special in recent memory.

The SchipulCon fun and learning doesn’t stop here

Videos are coming!  We’re busy editing our keynote and breakout session videos, to make sure you don’t miss a single second of great Web insight, business trends and actionable awesomeness from our SchipulCon speakers.

Peek at our growing photo albums!  Re-live the fun, training geekiness and new connections made in our SchipulCon photo albums.  We’ll be adding more throughout the week – don’t forget to upload your own photos to Facebook, Flickr and beyond so we can share in your SchipulCon viewpoint too!  Use that #SchipulCon tag so we can find your awesomeness with greater ease.

Slide decks on Slideshare popping up  –  You’ll find more and more great slides as the week progresses, but enjoy some of the brain candy now!

Thanks for being a part of one heck of an exciting conference – we can’t wait to share more great content from SchipulCon and talk to you soon!

 

Matt Mullenweg + Dries Buytaert on the SchipulCon stage!!

Matt Mullenweg and Dries Buytaert at SchipulCon

With SchipulCon starting in only one day, we have our most exciting announcement yet!!  Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) will be sharing the Friday luncheon stage with Dries Buytaert (founder of Drupal) – for the first time ever!

Their discussion, moderated by Schipulite David Stagg, will cover the two enormous open source communities’ growth, development and future direction.

Learn how both geek-preneurs have cultivated their very unique development and user communities, as well as what the future holds for open source in general.  THIS is not a discussion to be missed.

Join us for an amazing look at two of the brightest minds in technology today!   With Drupal, WordPress, Facebook, NASA and so many other great speaker organizations stepping up to share their brain candy – you’ll grow your brain as never before at SchipulCon.

Fun faces, great brains at SchipulCon panel discussions

SchipulCon creativity panelists

 

While SchipulCon 2011 has lots of great solo presentations and keynotes (I mean, SERIOUSLY!!  we’ve got Dries from Drupal and Steven from NASA on our stage!!), there’s nothing like being inspired by a group of brilliant people to get you motivated.

Check out our SchipulCon panel presentations and get ready for a melding of the minds:

Creating Art, Creating Success, Making it Work

This lively and exciting panel discussion features several of the greatest artistic minds around!  Your panelists, led by brilliant marketer and community builder Grace Rodriguez, will dive into some of their creative  endeavors  and how they utilize their creative skills as successful leaders and business people.

Being creative isn’t just for artists; it can mean the difference between successfully solving problems at the office, finding innovative ways to grow your business and discovering ‘The Next Big Thing’ – regardless of what industry you work in or your professional background.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful presentation, featuring:

Growing an Offline Community with Online Marketing Magic

Ever wondered how successful product brands used online technology to grow their community, event buzz and product sales in the real world?  You’ll be punch drunk happy sitting in on this panel presentation, led by Schipulite Derek Key, with Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company and Tito’s Vodka folks.

Learn how to rally your tribe, no matter what you’re selling, through smart communication, cool promotions and meaningful brand advocacy opportunities.  Also enjoy listening to some of the greatest marketing brains around:

Other great group presentations that you simply cannot miss!

SchipulCon fun + surprises – October 6th + 7th are coming fast!

SchipulCon 2011 Quadracopter Promo of Awesome! from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

We’ve been talking about some of our amazing speakers, awesome keynotes and other business-savvy takeaways at SchipulCon 2011, but let’s not forget the FUN we’ll have too!

The SchipulCon crew believes that learning goes best with fun activities, extra cool brain candy and neat people to share it with.  Check out some of the neat stuff we have in store for you:

  • Be inspired by world changers Karen Walrond  and Camp For All’s Kurt Podeszwa
  • Hands on video training / lighting experience with a fun workshop
  • Video basics session with Brian Potter and Brad Parler
  • How-to photography session with rock star Giovanni Gallucci
  • Get an intro for non-geeks on Arduino programming
  • Meet some robot wielding super heroes!
  • Learn how to fly RC helicopters
  • Get those hips moving with hoop dancing lessons
  • Participate in our Robot Drawing Contest for cool prizes (yes, you read that right)
Our SchipulCon tickets are still on sale – including Day Passes if you cannot make the entire conference.  We’re holding our fun SchipulCon Conference Party at The Yard House on Thursday evening from 5:30 – 7:30pm.  You’ll need a SchipulCon ticket to join us, but believe us – it’ll be a blast no matter when we get to connect!

SchipulCon is almost here – get your Tendenci + business learn on!

SchipulCon 2011 Quadracopter Promo of Awesome! from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Our SchipulCon 2011 event is October 6th and 7th here in Houston, TX.  Sure it’s a Web marketing conference – but a Web marketing conference x 1,000,000!!!

Be there for the great Tendenci 5 unveiling!

As a Tendenci software all star, you’ll learn about the new Tendenci 5 platform with an exciting unveiling on Day 2 of our great conference.  You’ll get special access to a free beta invite where you can play around with a new Tendenci 5 website of your own – how cool is that!?

Learn the ins and outs of ‘Smart’ Tendenci websites

Join programming manager John-Michael Oswalt for a neat look at how to build ‘smart’ websites that communicate to your visitors more efficiently, make your website management life easier and create an exciting new way for your community to interact with your Tendenci website.

Sign up for FREE support time with our ‘Ask A Geek’ sessions

Do you have a Tendenci, blogging, Facebook, Search Engine Marketing or other Web-related question?  Sign up for one of our FREE 20 minute support session slots and access the collective Schipul brain.  We’ll help trouble shoot, brainstorm and show you new ways of doing the great work you’re already doing on the Web.

Learn more about our ‘Ask a Geek’ session schedules here!

But of course there’s way more business and brain building content than cool Tendenci discussion and training happening at SchipulCon this year, check out some of these great sessions too:

Better than a spaceship – NASA is coming to SchipulCon

SchipulCon and NASA

With our focus on exciting technology and cross-industry connections (okay… and laser beams and space ships – we dig those too), we are honored and excited to announce our Day 2 keynote speaker Steven Gonzalez of NASA (and currently an ‘Executive on Loan at the Houston Technology Center‘).

He will be taking us to the stars and back as he discussed the motivations of some of the world’s most innovative technologists in the aerospace world and fills us in on the future of the space industry and the awesome tech that comes with it!  How excited are we!?!?

You can check out more of our tremendous speakers and lovely schedule – lots of great minds discussing design, business and tech to help you advance your business and personal development in all the best ways.  Join us on October 6th and 7th – use this discount code for $25 off your registration:  tothestars

Photo thanks to Flickr user blueforce4116

 

Join the SchipulCon kick off party at Saint Arnold’s Brewery 9/21

SchipulCon 2011 robot party - join us

Ever feel the need to check out the awesomeness of conference attendees BEFORE you get there?  Ever wish you could spend an evening getting to rub elbows and grabbing a pint with speakers, organizers, sponsors and…. robots…. without the official conference pressure?

We hear ya’ – and have set up one heck of a fun soiree for you at the one and only Saint Arnold’s Brewery  for those exact purposes!

Join the fun with our SchipulCon Pop Up Party – an evening of beer, bites and fun to help kick off the upcoming SchipulCon event on October 6th – 7th.  We’re excited to have great food to nibble on from Radical Eats and some pretty nifty surprises you’ll have to see to believe.

>>> Register here for our FREE SchipulCon kick off party and be in the running for some cool prizes

And speaking of awesome SchipulCon prizes….

The SchipulCon kick off party is not just about the FREE BEER (although we can all agree that’s critical),  it’s about WINNING.

Since we just celebrated Schipul’s 14th birthday, we’re giving $100 bucks off to the first 13  people through the door — and the 14th person will attend SchipulCon for FREE.

So get your 14th-person-through-the-door strategy ready, and don’t run over anyone in the brewery. (Didn’t your mother teach you not to drink and run?)    Don’t think you can be in the first 14? No one’s going home empty-handed.

Everyone who attends gets $50 off registration until noon on Thursday 9/22. Because sometimes robots like to sleep in after a night at Saint Arnold’s…. just sayin’.

So don’t delay – get your registration on already!

Nothing says a good time like beer, robots and a room full of brainy awesome people – what better way to celebrate a Wednesday than with you!  Register for your spot at the SchipulCon kick off party – can’t wait to cheers you.

 

 

‘Ask a Geek’ at SchipulCon – where Web dreams come true

SchipulCon ask a geek

With 3 rooms fulls of fantastic speakers from all across the country and some of the finest attendees around (love you guys!), we just can’t wait to get to SchipulCon to grow your brain, network and creative side!!

October 6th and 7th is coming quickly and we’ve got some extra special announcements for you (psssttt… if you’re not signed up for our SchipulCon newsletter, you’re really missing out!).

Liza Kindred schools us on the future of e-commerce

Liza Kindred SchipulCon speakerEver meet one of those people that just.plain.gets.it?  Then SchipulCon speaker Liza Kindred should look awfully familiar with her Drupal, e-commerce and start up butt kickin’ ways.

Her presentation on ‘The New E-Commerce‘ is going to blow you away – learn how to combine the social web, innovative business models and awesome emerging technology to help you sell, sell, SELLLLL!!!  Don’t miss this one, seriously.

 

Personalized Ask a Geek tech and marketing sessions

Think of our Ask a Geek sessions like a Web marketing kissing booth, without the chapstick and breathmints.  We’ll have some of our Schipulite Web geeks on call to give you 20 minutes worth of their brains and expertise.

Have a specific pressing Facebook marketing question?  Want to feel inspired about your latest Drupal site view?  Need a little hand holding on your Twitter tactics (hey now, no frisky business).  This is the perfect session for you!

Register for your slot by filling out this form here and get ready to connect to some Web marketing and tech magic like never before!

Get those SchipulCon badges – your website can do the robot!

SchipulCon attending 2011While you might have two left feet, no reason your website or blog shouldn’t get a little funky.  Grab our cool robot and brain SchipulCon badges and share your SchipulCon pride like never before.

Email us a link to your SchipulCon badge-laden website and you just might get a super cool surprise 🙂  Can’t wait to get our geek on with you at SchipulCon – tickets are going fast, jump in to join the fun!

Photo thanks to Zitona on Flickr