5 Reasons (Other Than Revenue) Your Association Should Offer a Lead Generation Program

5 Reasons (Other Than Revenue) Your Association Should Offer a Lead Generation Program

The global pandemic, workforce disruptions, volatile markets, military invasions — however you characterize recent events, the common theme seems to be change and uncertainty at an arguably unprecedented scale.

Associations are not immune to the havoc and have certainly felt the impact of the last few tumultuous years. In an important way, though, navigating disruption is part of the association value proposition. Associations play a vital role in helping the industries and members they serve to navigate, overcome, and employ change for the better. In times like these, your members need your leadership even more.

According to a recent ASAE study, association leaders cite the financial impact of COVID-19 as their organization’s primary challenge. Yet, in a glass-half-full pivot, when asked to specify the greatest opportunity underlying the ongoing pandemic, the two most common responses from association leaders were:

  1. 1. To engage with members in new/creative ways.

  2. 2. To do something different in non-dues-related activities.

Checking both of those boxes, many associations are using digital resource libraries (also known as “knowledge hubs” or “content hubs”) to engage members with high-value thought leadership content. And a strategically built, tech-enabled platform will also double as a sponsored lead generation solution that can drive substantial non-dues revenue.

Beyond new non-dues revenue opportunities, however, here are five more reasons your association should consider implementing a lead-generation enabled digital resource library:

REASON NO. 1: To Deliver Helpful Content Members Need

The internet contains a dizzying 1.88 billion sites, but it’s far from a vast source of useful information. A mere 15% of today's websites are even active or used in a function other than domain parking.

While many credible news sources boast an online presence, many are only available behind paywalls, and few readers are willing to shell out money for subscription fees. A recent Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism survey revealed that only 20% of internet users in the U.S. pay for online news subscriptions.

It’s no wonder that, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, access to up-to-date information is one of the most essential benefits members seek when joining a membership organization.

Rather than sift through the abundance of outdated, inaccurate, and irrelevant content littering the internet, members look to associations to serve original, timely, actionable, and helpful information.

Resource libraries allow associations to stock their websites with searchable, continuously updated thought-leadership materials, such as sponsor-supplied ebooks, articles, whitepapers, and on-demand webinars. By voluntarily sharing contact information with sponsors they trust, members can easily access and download helpful, relevant information — no cost involved.

And, in the process, your association will build goodwill among members for being the source of high-value informational resources.

REASON NO. 2: To Foster Meaningful Connections

Community building is a fundamental benefit of joining an association, but as we’ve learned, the go-to networking opportunities for membership groups — in-person meetings — aren’t exactly pandemic friendly. And even as travel restrictions are lifted and infection rates seem to be decreasing, many professionals simply don’t want to travel.

According to ASAE, 29% of associations faced losses of $100,001 to $500,000 due to event cancellations stemming from pandemic disruption. Another 26% projected losses of more than $1 million.

With new virus variants cropping up, associations are wise to create supplemental venues for connecting sponsors and members. Digital content libraries are one such solution.

Unlike in-person education sessions, digital content libraries provide members with a community-based knowledge source that a virus can’t shutter. They also offer partners and corporate sponsors the chance to connect with their target market beyond the time and space confines of a tradeshow booth at an exhibit hall.

And in a more favorable, pandemic-free environment, a digital resource library can complement your in-person events, adding value for both members and sponsors.

REASON NO. 3: To Collect Diverse Points of View Necessary for Innovation

By sourcing content from a pool of contributors with varying perspectives and ideas, associations create opportunities for industry innovation. In addition to relevant products and services, each sponsor has unique industry insights to offer.

Aggregating these ideas together in a centralized resource center allows for diversity of thought, an essential component for innovation. It also helps avoid groupthink, the tendency of groups to make decisions based on conformity rather than independent ideas and contributions.

At the same time, digital resource libraries empower associations to be centralized knowledge sources and reinforce their leadership stature within their respective industries. In “Epic Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi emphasizes the importance of building content on one’s own ground. While social networks are useful for sharing information, Pulizzi says an organization’s website should always serve as the “center of gravity.”

An association can successfully capture diverse content for its home base by launching a resource library on its website and, in the process, become the “center of gravity” where industry insights and resources are shared.

REASON NO. 4: To Uncover Valuable Market Insights

As associations know, market intelligence is vital in retaining members and sponsors, recruiting new ones, and demonstrating credibility.

Digital resource libraries paint a broad picture of the issues affecting an industry. Many associations benefit from the breadth of information available through sponsored thought leadership content resources.

Digital resource libraries can also offer instant analytics, enabling associations to focus on real-time member activity and use the data to ensure their own content continues to align with member preferences. As associations gain insights on the topics resonating most with their members, they can leverage the resource center as a platform to disseminate their own resources.

Ultimately, these actionable insights keep associations where they belong: at the forefront of their respective industries.

REASON NO. 5: To Serve Up Scalable, Around-the-Clock Value

Association members are hyper-connected masters of multitasking. In his book, “The 24-hour Customer,” Adrian C. Ott argues that organizations must work around changing customer time and attention tides to achieve competitive success. In other words, traditional notions of 9-to-5 work hours are obsolete. Customers — and members — require attention on their terms.

In this environment, associations have to provide always-on opportunities that attract sponsors and facilitate engagement, meeting members where they are and when they want to engage. Digital resource library platforms do just that, providing 24/7/365 engagement opportunities.

To Build or To Partner?

Associations have a choice on how to launch a digital resource library on their website — They can build their own customized resource library or they can partner with a third party. While building a customized resource library can be time and resource-intensive, a third-party like Lead Marvels can implement its turnkey, tech-enabled platform quickly, white-label it for an association’s website, and do so without a stain on an association’s resources.

Digital resource libraries also pack a one-two punch when association budgets are tight, but the staff must generate new non-dues revenue. These platforms create new revenue streams by allowing associations (or their third-party partner) to sell lead generation opportunities to corporate sponsors.

Regularly updated, high-quality content keeps members coming back for more while providing intent-based leads to corporate sponsors and advertisers.

With more time and money, associations can focus on the most important goals during times of turmoil, such as political advocacy, standards development, and information sharing.

For more information on how Lead Marvels can partner with your professional associations to build and manage a white-labeled resource library at no cost, request a free demonstration or visit Lead Marvels.

White Papers:

The 4 Pillars of a Pandemic-Proof Association