Sara Baker has worked at the Mansfield Area Y as the director of development and marketing for two years. With the job title came her responsibility to develop quality content and effective marketing strategies to drive more people to the YMCA. 

Traditional methods of sending out newsletters via email, however, did not quite reach the audience she needed to target.

“Convenience is key,” Baker said. “The Y has fallen behind in the times and we want to catch up and switch to digital.”

Baker came to Source Brand Solutions (SBS) in 2018 with the hope of increasing the YMCA’s membership sales through digital marketing. 

One issue the YMCA struggled with in 2019 was getting better email marketing and content for the YMCA. In order to rectify that, Baker worked with Growth Strategist Adam Fox and Platform Director for Richland Source Zac Hiser. 

“Sara is a pretty amazing person to work with, quick to respond and it’s great when you have a marketing client that does marketing herself,” Fox said. “So when you throw out an idea, not only will she approve, but she’ll add something to the idea to make the campaigns really successful.” 

Fox helped with e-blasts to enhance membership and grow their base, along with showing actual stats for how many people were opening them — which Baker found to be a great segway into going digital and reaching people beyond their own email list —while Hiser developed ads.

The real game changer, however? Sponsored content. 

Without the resources to tell the story of their brand and their yearly efforts in engaging with the Mansfield community, no one knew the full extent of what the YMCA had to offer such as their LIVESTRONG program, safety around water program, open door scholarship program and efforts to raise money to offset those costs and subsidies.

“Content in particular — it’s really helped to tell our story in a much larger range; larger audience, as opposed to just YMCA people,” Baker said. “Overall, sponsored content really helped spread the knowledge of The Y not just being a gym.”

After making the shift to digital with some helpful services and soundboarding from SBS, the Y’s membership increase resulted in $5,000 in additional revenue, and email marketing has targeted 30,000 people in Richland County. 

“The campaign has been great so far, as memberships are huge for us,” Baker said. 

SBS offered website evaluation, Facebook ad management, SEO updates, promoting brand awareness through social media posts, email marketing and implemented a free three-day trial for YMCA membership leads. 

“It’s more about that total marketing package where we can look at your paid ads, we can look at your website, your SEO, your campaigns, who you’re targeting, and then we also have this giant news platform. So when you combine all that, we can really provide solutions that are trackable instead of wondering,” Fox said.

Fox outlined the importance of establishing trust with an audience in order to market to them, which is where SBS comes in hand with its storytelling method. 

“Sponsored content, for example, tells the story, a hero’s journey, so it really shows success,” Fox said. “The reader can read the story, understand the success and then click to learn more, sign up with a trainer, or use the Y’s facilities because it’s worked for other people and they can see the real success.” 

Baker appreciated how easily accessible SBS is for helping with any issues they stumbled upon.

“It may be complex to think about, but they make it very easy to work with,” Baker said. 

Baker stands by the YMCA’s decision to go with SBS and adhere to every cent of the strict budget to their nonprofit organization. 

“We’re doing the things we need to do that we may not be strong in,” Baker said. “If you’re going to spend money with SBS, know that it’s well spent.”

Learn more here about how organizations are achieving their marketing goals by working with Source Brand Solutions.

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