If you run a trade association, you probably receive funding from member dues, but what you may not realize is that there are other ways to generate revenue, including monetizing your online assets. By generating this extra revenue through monetization, you may even be able to lower dues and attract more members, building credibility and association loyalty. In addition, extra revenue may allow your association to offer additional member benefits, once again increasing member acquisition.
Engaging Your Members or Potential Members
One of the easiest ways to monetize your association’s content is to engage your members or potential members through content. In fact, one strategy that many associations have found to be especially helpful is to not just offer a job board, but to provide a career center. At your career center, you not only offer job openings in your supported industry, but you also provide industry news, articles, blog posts, educational videos, and more. Taking this approach, you’re more likely to draw in potential association members, and you can even charge for premium content, thereby generating additional revenue.
Get a Corporate Sponsorship
Another way to monetize assets is to gain corporate sponsorship for certain pieces of content. In advertising, this may be referred to as a type of “content marketing”, whereby your site visitors receive valuable content without paying a premium, but the sponsor pays to have his or her content featured. This type of monetization provides your association’s site with content that draws potential members and current members in at no cost to you, all while shifting costs to those who are advertising companies, products, or services. When using this approach, make sure to be clear in what is sponsored content and what is not sponsored in order to avoid confusion, be fair and honest, and to work through metrics to determine which sponsors get the most feedback. Those that do should be considered for ongoing financial partnerships.
Rely on Your Experience & Research
If you’re an established trade association, you’ve likely amassed a large amount of data regarding your industry and its ins and outs. Instead of sitting on that data or passing it around quarterly or what-have-you, consider monetizing these assets by selling them to related industries or companies, or simply charge a premium to have access to this data. Procuring such data is also a benefit in that it creates a need for supporting industries or companies to seek it out, allowing your trade association to charge higher fees for your hard work, thereby creating a stream of no-dues revenue.
In the end, quality content is going to rule the day, so make sure that everything you publish and present creates true value. While it might be tempting to offer a premium content service that provides only curated content from other sources, members and potential members will soon sour to this concept. Instead, focus on developing and delivering true, honest, and reliable content to watch new member acquisition soar.