Business model diversification for associations is more important than ever. Tune in to this week’s episode to learn how you can diversify your association’s revenue.
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Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
We’ve learned this so much over the last eight months during the pandemic, including the importance of diversification for revenue for associations. Diversification comes in many shapes and sizes; however, it is more important than ever to associations’ business model moving forward.
Being a one trick pony probably not going to be enough to sustain your organization. Here’s what I see associations doing right now:
If you’re reliant on non-dues revenue, like a big event or a meeting, data shows that you are going to have around maybe 40% to 60% coming from events. It’s difficult to rely on only event revenue to pull you through. Associations are adapting and putting additional emphasis on membership development to offset their event revenue shortfalls by doing the following:
Improving the process for membership renewal. Membership renewal is a lot more than a billing cycle. The best associations are emphasizing the benefits, services, and return on investment regarding membership at least 10 times a year in a variety of different formats: webinar briefings about services, email campaigns, outreach and calls to the members from the staff and volunteers about new programs that are available to them that might be helpful.
Creating a very intentional membership recruitment program. To do this best, segment the membership to ensure the value proposition is specific and well-articulated to each group. For example, suppliers have different needs than the core membership in the manufacturing sector. As part of the sales process improvement, we need something that involves demonstration of the services and benefits. We need testimonials. We need a good CRM to track our activity and our hard work. The interpretation of government relations, activity, regulations, and PPP loans and all those things is a great ROI on government relations.
For years, we talked about how government relations is intangible. Not now, friends. You’re showing them the value of government relations and they’re getting your content because of your expertise and the way you interpret what’s happening.
Marketing General’s economic impact study for associations states that about 70% of the associations reported an increase in engagement this year. That means your value proposition is valuable because they want more of it. People in your industry are seeking more of your content, information, and they want to access your experts. This engagement and your facilitation means that non-dues revenue is a great opportunity.
Conversely, let’s flip the coin. If you’re primarily a membership dues-based business model, you might need non-dues diversification. I’m working with a great association that’s launching its first ever sponsorship program because they have access to the entire supply chain. Buyers and sellers may need you to facilitate and provide branding, marketing, and business networking opportunities – even in a virtual format. So, how do you do that? Conduct virtual meetings until you can meet together and reach more people than ever before. We’re seeing this type of engagement where the numbers and the data is more robust. Every meeting or event is inventory for a company to sponsor.
Along those lines, provide thought leadership for webinars and virtual events as a sponsorship opportunity – it’s hot and something that people want. They want the ability to speak and the ability to show their expertise and offerings.
The podcasting format has exploded. Provide branding, interview slots, and ads as a way to reach people on this very intimate platform.
Newsletters are once again viable as a sponsorship platform. We’re seeing it with our own. Our newsletter open and click through rates are increasing. Use your email newsletters as to offer sponsorship opportunity to your partners. We’re diversifying the contacts within our industry companies that we’re reaching. Over and over again, I’m hearing the executives who are reaching different people within the member companies. We’ve been looking for this opportunity for years and now we have it.
The opportunity now is to keep that activity momentum and maintain their activation after the dust settles post pandemic. We have to continue to implement all of the things that we’ve learned. I know you may want to go back to the good old days but we laid a lot of groundwork. We’ve developed infrastructure and we’re delivering value in different ways. We’ve learned so much so let’s maintain it and enable it to help us grow our organization through dues work and non-dues activity.
I got a special gift for you. Send me your mailing address to JP@MoeryCompany.com, or head over to this page to enter your information, and I’d be delighted to send you a complimentary copy of my first ever book – maybe the last – Association Hustle. Thanks for listening. See you next week.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to JPMoery.com.
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