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How Digital Can Help Associations Rethink Memberships

August 7th, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

Figures from Marketing General show that in 2009, association executives were most likely to say that members’ top reason to join was access to specialized information. In 2018, networking opportunities were by far the most popular choice, with 58% of associations citing them as the top reason, compared to only 25% for specialized and/or current information.

In a world where networking avenues abound, connecting with like-minded peers has never been easier. While providing networking opportunities continues to be a time-tested strategy for member acquisition and retention, associations should also focus on what can truly set them apart: high-quality learning and continuing education experiences.

A Tip to Consider

Use a webinar engagement score to measure the effectiveness of your outreach activities.

If your association is among those struggling to measure member engagement, use data from your webinars to find out what works and what doesn’t. These can be complementary to any other figures you are using, such as Net Promoter Score. Read our briefing on ON24’s Engagement Score to find out how multiple types of webinar actions can create a single, easy-to-understand metric.

The argument is compelling. The vast majority (82%) of members have completed some sort of professional development within recent years, but only 53% have chosen their association as a provider. These same members rated the quality of training and education provided by their employers as being significantly lower than that received from their association. Additionally, there’s evidence that offering certification has a positive effect on renewal rates: 43% of associations that saw a renewal increase also offer certification.

Providing educational material that supports professional development and career advancement is a key differentiator for associations faced with growing competition. As the data above shows, there are ample opportunities to tap into current market demand and meet members’ evolving needs.