How This Marketing Pro Is Growing Revenue—and Excitement—for Her Association

Inside the Association of Texas Professional Educators’ campaign for maximum impact.

Delivering great content, meaningful connections, empowering events and education is the business of all association professionals. But for Kate Johanns, marketing and communications director for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, it goes beyond business—it’s personal. “I’ve been at ATPE for 13 years now, and I’ve been extremely honored to work here,” she explains. “I am a product of Texas public schools and have greatly benefited from the wonderful work of our members. We are dedicated to providing educators resources and support to focus on their students, and not worry about lobbying. Whatever they need, ATPE is there for them.”

Johanns oversees the team that creates and distributes all of the external facing and internal communications for ATPE. “We manage everything from our annual membership campaign to our website to social media and everything in-between.”

Like many marketing professionals, Johanns is a confessed data junkie who relies on numbers to ensure the greatest impact from her team’s efforts. So she was underwhelmed with the system she inherited when she returned to ATPE as a boomerang employee after a five-year hiatus. “I couldn’t get in there and do things hands-on. The data reports I was getting weren’t very granular.”

Johanns spoke with the folks behind Feathr, a digital marketing tool designed to meet the specific needs of association marketing teams, and loved what she heard. “After talking with them at a conference held by the Texas Society of Association Executives in November 2019, I realized that it would give me that hands-on opportunity to keep up with clicks and metrics and the things at the granular level that I wanted.”

Getting to dig into those numbers, Johanns says, allows her and her team to be extremely nimble, which is vital given the ever-changing landscape brought on by the pandemic. “We can see if a campaign is working within 24 hours and make adjustments as need be. That’s one thing that’s been great about working with Feathr—its support teams are very hands-on and quick to respond. [Feathr is] the expert in digital marketing, whereas we are experts in associations. So it’s been very helpful to come together and create successful campaigns that drive traffic to our site.”

“One thing that I’ve learned while working with Feathr is that in digital marketing, your audience gets ‘creative fatigue.’ Once they’ve seen an asset for some time, you have to switch it up. Change the image, alter the text, things like that. Being able to monitor when that click rate goes down lets us know, ‘Hey, it’s time to swap things out so we can get people clicking again.’”

Pre-Covid, Johanns explains that ATPE’s membership outreach was primarily in-person, on campuses. “But when the pandemic hit, suddenly no one was on campus or in schools,” she says. “So we developed some great informational resources for teachers to help sort through the myriad of local, state and federal regulations and guidelines, and we used Feathr to drive educators to the site. I was proud of that effort because it not only benefited us from a marketing perspective, but it provided a great service to the Texas education community.”

Feathr’s retargeting capabilities drive traffic and help create connections and excitement within the community. “We hear from members all the time who are thrilled that they saw one of our ads while they were reading about, say, the Dallas Cowboys on a sports site. They built this organization from the ground up, and they are ATPE proud. So there is a lot of excitement when we’re quoted in the news, or when they see our ads.”

As the world begins to open back up, Johanns says she is excited to utilize other aspects of the Feathr platform ATPE has yet to try, such as geofencing its retargeting campaigns at in-person conferences. “We want to keep growing, and now that we have such a great understanding of the power of digital marketing, Feathr will be a big part of our strategy.”

Feathr has thought of everything to help get associations up and running with digital advertising. Their dedicated flock of experts advise on unique revenue-generating campaigns, campaign best practices and graphic designer concierge services to ensure successful campaigns. Partnering with Feathr will ensure your association’s success for years to come.