by Lindsay Rutz
Video conferencing and virtual events have never been more important to business as it is now – especially for associations who need to keep members engaged and revenues high.
Associations can run different types of webinars to make up for lost revenue from canceled annual events and continue giving members a helpful, engaging, relevant experience.
Check out these six ideas for creating engaging webinars that deliver a valuable experience to your association’s members:
- Create Educational Opportunities
- Use Webinars to Communicate
- Onboard New Members
- Run Networking/Online Career Fairs Virtually
- Capitalize on Sponsorship
- Showcase Benefits of Technology
Let’s dive in.
1. Create Educational Opportunities
One of the main reasons someone joins an association is to advance in their career, which starts with education. Once you start thinking creatively, you can use all that content you prepped for your event to keep members engaged and increase revenue.
Try turning your event’s educational topics into a series of webinars to provide members with new online learning opportunities and help them get to the next level in their careers. To generate non-dues revenue from these webinars, try charging a small registration fee since you’re offering exclusive content from your annual event.
To supplement the webinars, provide additional online courses and certifications through a Learning Management System (LMS) and boost your non-dues revenue even more. Survey your members or repurpose existing content from your blog and other resources for new topics that interest your members.
Tip: Sign up for Higher Logic’s Super Series to see examples of virtual events as well as learn how to bring more engagement to your organization. We’re doing weekly events, all about fostering deeper connections between you and your members.
2. Use Webinars to Communicate
Webinars are also useful for keeping members in the loop about industry updates and trends, association updates, current events, and much more. Webinars give you the ability to virtually connect with members and build upon existing relationships or create new ones.
Try hosting weekly or monthly meetings, instead of sending out lots of emails, to create more personal relationships with your members. You’ll gain a better understanding of who your members are, what they’re expecting from you, and ultimately deliver a better member experience.
3. Onboard New Members
Using webinars to onboard new members is an easy way to acclimate them to membership rules, meet your staff, and introduce the ins and outs of your association benefits. This also gives you the opportunity to build personal relationships with your members.
Webinars serve as an easy way to dive deeper into all the resources you offer, encourage them to participate in educational and networking webinars, and answer any questions they may have. To save time and resources, you can record the webinar and share it as an informational resource for members to refer back to if they need help or have a question.
Set up an automated “welcome” campaign that includes your recorded webinar to make the process even smoother. That initial welcome can help improve engagement and retention rates.
Want to learn more about automating your email communications? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation, available below.
4. Run Networking/Online Career Fairs Virtually
One of the biggest benefits of in-person events is networking with industry professionals. It may seem unnatural, but there is still a way to do this virtually. Invite guest speakers to co-host a webinar and share their stories or give career advice to your attendees.
To make the webinar interactive, you can ask members to fill out polls, hold an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) in your online community, and share social media handles to connect online and build relationships. You could also open them up to non-members to showcase the value of association membership and increase non-dues revenue by charging a small registration fee.
5. Capitalize on Sponsorships
Offering sponsored webinar slots to your sponsors and partners creates non-dues revenue opportunities and more intriguing content for your members. Having a partner sponsor your webinar also helps you attract a more diverse audience since they can also promote the webinar to their customers and subscribers.
For a sponsored webinar, you don’t have to talk just about the product or service they provide. Keep the webinar educational instead of promotional, and you’ll create webinar content that showcases your partner and earns you revenue. You could talk about best practices for marketing strategies, share industry updates from a new perspective, or evaluate the best new products or services that would benefit members. There’s a wide range of topics you can discuss with partners, so be sure to capitalize on this opportunity!
6. Showcase Benefits of Technology
Your members are the main users of your association technology, so why not have them hear the benefits of using this tech from your partners? For example, if you offer specialized services for online communities, job boards, or learning management systems, you can invite a staff member to co-host a webinar and educate your members on how to get the most return on investment from their products.
You can also use this same framework with members of your own staff if they specialize in a topic that interests your members.
Bridge the Interaction Gap with Webinars
Use webinars as a new medium for educating, communicating, onboarding, and networking. They’re a great way to engage your members and keep non-dues revenue flowing. Your virtual events can create that personal connection in a time when a little interaction means a lot to your audience. Use this time to be creative and find new methods to make membership at your association as valuable as it can be.