How an Online Association Resource Library Works: A Complete Guide

Learn step-by-step how an online Resource Library works and why 100+ associations have partnered with Lead Marvels to add the interactive digital platform to their websites.

More than 100 associations across the country now feature Lead Marvels’ online association Resource Library on their websites — associations of all types, sizes, and industries, from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES). And the number of association partners using our Resource Library platform grows every single month.

The reason is simple — Our online Resource Library platform offers associations an easy-to-implement, interactive platform that generates non-dues revenue and increases member engagement. Perhaps best of all — There is no cost to our association partners, and the program requires minimal effort and no resource investment for association staff.

In this guide, we’ll explain the details of how our digital Resource Library platform works. But first, let’s define what an online association Resource Library is.

What is an online association Resource Library?

At Lead Marvels, we use the terms “ Resource Library,” “Content Hub,” or “Knowledge Hub” to refer to the platform that supports and enables the publishing of premium content — both “gated” and “ungated” — that we manage on behalf of our association partners.

A Resource Library is white-labeled and fully branded for an association’s website, providing a seamless digital experience for association members. It is hosted and centrally managed by Lead Marvels and provides plug-and-play deployment for our association and publisher partners.

Hear how 3 association leaders have utilized their resource libraries to increase NDR and add value to their members

A Resource Library showcases curated, thought-leadership content and resources primarily supplied by corporate sponsors, industry solution providers, and advertisers. However, associations often publish their own content as well. Content hosted in the Resource Library can include white papers, guides, ebooks, reports, research, podcasts, on-demand webinars, and more. A Resource Library helps the association establish itself as a one-stop-shop for all of its members' content needs.

Whereas most associations already have some kind of “resource library” on their websites, our interactive platform is unique.

What’s different about Lead Marvels’ Resource Library platform?

Lead Marvels’ digital Resource Library platform differs from a static web-based association library in five important ways:

1. It provides members with an interactive experience.

Traditional resource libraries on association websites are static and will typically list resources in reverse chronological order. In contrast, with Lead Marvels’ Resource Library platform, members can search resources by keyword(s), topic, and format so they can quickly and easily access the resources most relevant to their professional needs.

2. It is primarily supported by association sponsors and industry solution providers.

Traditional resource libraries typically feature reports, research, guides, and other forms of content generated by the association itself. Though associations can (and do) post their own content in a Lead Marvels interactive Resource Library, the majority of the content is generated and supplied by knowledgeable industry experts and thought leaders employed by the vendors and solution providers in your industry.

3. It generates non-dues revenue.

Traditional resource libraries are often a straightforward archive of association-generated content that have nothing to do with revenue, unless the association is selling premium reports. The content in a Lead Marvels online Resource Library generates a recurring stream of monthly non-dues revenue for associations. (We’ll explain in detail how it does that below.)

4. It is white-labeled for your association but is hosted and managed by Lead Marvels.

Whereas a traditional resource library is managed through an association’s CMS, like any other part of their website, Lead Marvels’ Resource Library platform is developed, hosted, and managed by Lead Marvels. It is white-labeled for an association so it provides a seamless digital experience from a user’s perspective, but all of the work developing, hosting, and maintaining the platform is managed by Lead Marvels.

5. It increases member engagement

The resources featured in a traditional resource library are typically very useful for members, but the frequency of publication can be irregular, the topics are limited, and they can be difficult for members to navigate when looking for past material. 

Lead Marvels’ Resource Libraries are different because they feature new content on a regular, sometimes weekly basis. Because the resources are not constrained by the bandwidths of associations’ staff, the topics are wide-ranging. Further, the interactive nature of the platform allows members to easily navigate to the specific resources that address their professional needs.
White Paper:

How to Use Content Strategy as a Member Engagement Tool

A step-by-step guide to how an interactive association Resource Library works

Step 1: The association promotes sponsor content from its Resource Library to members

A member follows a link on the association’s website, newsletter, email, or social media channel, taking them to an association-branded Resource Library.

Step 2: Member arrives at the association’s digital Resource Library

An online Resource Library provides an interactive experience for members. A member can search for resources by topic, company, or format. The member then clicks on a resource that aligns with a professional interest or informational need.

Step 3: The member arrives at a landing page with detailed information about the resource

Once on the landing page for the resource, the member then completes the form registration to download the resource. Alternatively, if the member is already logged into their association’s Resource Library, they can bypass the form and immediately download the resource and even save the resource to their personal library if they choose to.

Step 4: The member arrives at a “thank you” page

Once the member downloads the resource, they arrive at a “thank you” page, offering them more information about the sponsor, through a video message or links to the sponsor’s website. Members can save downloaded resources to their personal library and receive information on related resources on the same topic.

How a Resource Library generates non-dues revenue for associations

Once a member completes a form registration and downloads a resource, they become a lead for the company that provided that resource. If the lead meets the sponsor’s qualifications, then the sponsor pays for the lead on a cost-per-lead basis. There is no up-front cost for sponsors to provide resources for an association Resource Library; sponsors only pay on a cost-per-lead basis.

Lead Marvels then shares the revenue generated by this program with its association partners, along the following lines:
  • 40% goes to the association
  • 40% goes to Lead Marvels
  • 20% goes toward the salesperson’s commission

The salesperson receiving the 20% commission may be employed by the association or Lead Marvels. In many cases, Lead Marvels manages the entire sales effort on behalf of the association, from prospecting and sales to billing and collections.

At the end of each month, Lead Marvels sends its association partners their share of the revenue, creating a monthly non-dues source of revenue, which can add up to six figures and beyond.
Case Study:

How the Association of Corporate Counsel Generated $1 Million in Non-Dues Revenue

A no-cost, turnkey non-dues revenue solution

Although finding new sources for non-dues revenue is becoming more important for associations than ever before, not all sources of non-dues revenue streams are equal. One of the benefits of the Lead Marvels Resource Library program is that it requires minimal effort on the part of the association partner.

Lead Marvels hosts the Resource Library platform and is constantly making updates and improvements to it. The platform is white-labeled for association partners, providing a seamless digital experience for members.

Lead Marvels also provides marketing support and fully manages the sales process as well, from sales to billing and collections.

Further, there is no cost to Lead Marvels’ association partners and requires no new investment in technology or staff.
The Resource Library program creates a win-win-win for each segment in an association ecosystem:

An online Resource Library benefits associations, members, and sponsors alike

The benefits to associations

  • Increased member engagement: Because of the wide array of timely content segmented for different members’ needs, association members have more opportunities to visit and engage with the association’s site.  The regular updates of relevant materials will build upon members’ impression of the organization as an industry leader and go-to source for industry information and solutions.

  • Non-dues revenue: A Resource Library provides ongoing, incremental, non-dues revenue for an association every time a corporate sponsor’s resource is downloaded.

  • Actionable insights: Associations can easily stay up-to-date on important industry information and gain valuable insights about member actions, preferences, and goals. The data gathered on the content members are viewing can also inform future association programming.

  • Light-lift: When partnering with Lead Marvels, launching an online Resource Library requires no cost from an association. Lead Marvels is responsible for the implementation and management of the Resource Library and can also manage all or a portion of the sales effort.

The benefits to members

  • Professional insights: Members receive free access to a constantly updated library of resources that align with their professional needs and interests.

  • Access to solution providers: As members receive informational content targeted to their specific challenges, they gain access to vendors uniquely equipped to provide additional solutions to those challenges.

  • Loyalty and connection: Because they will have new reasons to regularly visit their association’s website, members can avail themselves of additional resources, support, and networking opportunities and, in doing so, increase engagement with their association.

The benefits to corporate sponsors, advertisers, and industry suppliers

  • Business development: Targeted content, self-selected by members will provide a unique business development opportunity for sponsors to connect with qualified prospective buyers.

  • Thought leadership: Posting valuable content in a Resource Library will position sponsors as thought leaders among an influential audience of prospective buyers.

How a Resource Library grows leads for corporate sponsors
  • Brand affiliation: Sponsors will benefit by aligning their brand with a highly reputable association when they provide content for a Digital Resource Library accessed via the association’s website.

  • Member intelligence: Each sponsor has a dashboard where they can see how the activity associated with their resources compares with other companies’ resources.

How associations and sponsors can participate in the Resource Library program

Whether you’re an association interested in learning more about how to participate in Lead Marvels online Resource Library program or you’re an advertiser or sponsor wanting to generate qualified leads of actively engaged professionals in your industry, you can request a free, no-obligation demo here.
Case Study:

How Two Associations Deepened Member Value While Growing Non-Dues Revenue

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