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Driving Engagement and New Membership through Course Promotion

| 3 Min Read

For Industry Associations, member education is amongst the most important benefits that they can make available, serving to both support existing members and attract new ones, fostering member professional development and supporting industry needs, and helping to promote engagement. Despite all these benefits, though, a common theme we hear is that many Associations struggle to promote their courses, leading to lower-than-desired engagement from existing and potential members. In this article, we look at the various strategies that you can deploy to increase the visibility and uptake of your education offerings.

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For Current Members:

For your current members, your member education supports their continual professional development and adds value to their association membership through additional development and growth opportunities. Emphasising these benefits through the right channels is key to successfully promoting your course offerings to your existing membership:

  1. Your Catalogue: Curating a well-presented course catalogue is your opportunity to provide your members with a clear and informative overview of the learning opportunities that are available to them as a part of their membership. Ensuring that your catalogue is easily accessible, regularly updated, and prominently showcases your most desirable offerings are simple steps you can take to significantly boost the discovery and uptake of your courses among your membership.

  2. Social Sharing: Never underestimate the power of social proof and your members’ own social networks. Awarding badges, certificates or other merits for completing your courses or micro-credentials allows users to share their accomplishments, providing your members with a record of their success while simultaneously promoting your course offerings and their associated benefits to their peers.

  3. Newsletter Promotion: Newsletters are a staple feature for most engagement plans, and for good reason, they remain excellent tools for communicating with your existing members. Regularly including information about new courses and upcoming events, or tying existing courses to current industry trends can spark interest among your members and drive course engagement.

  4. Retargeting Campaigns: The pathway from someone showing interest in a course to them eventually signing up is often longer than you might expect; very often people will view a course listing more than once before, eventually electing to sign up. Remarketing can help to keep potential participants engaged, identifying them based on the courses they have viewed and displaying relevant advertising to them across other sites and apps, keeping your learning options top of mind and gradually nudging them towards course registration.

  5. Annual Conference Sessions: Capitalising on your annual conference as a platform to promote your courses can yield impressive results. Consider hosting dedicated sessions that showcase your most relevant and valuable courses to attendees - you’ll almost never have a better opportunity to talk to a more engaged and relevant audience for your learning.

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For Non-Members:

Your education offerings are a powerful tool to promote your organisation to non-members, letting you showcase some of the best of the opportunities your Association makes available and supporting your ongoing member recruitment.

  1. Course Listings: Making your course listings and landing pages easily accessible to the public can help you reach a wider audience. By showcasing the benefits of your education and association, you can attract more members, in addition to opening up potential new revenue streams by offering certain courses to the public. Whether you choose to feature your courses on your website or external platforms, it's a great way to help people discover the best elements of what your association has to offer.

  2. Social and Content Marketing: Some of the most effective content marketing leverages current events and relevant topics to create a relevant and engaging message, and the same tactics can work to help promote your courses. Look for opportunities to link the benefits or learning outcomes of your courses to industry news, events and trends, highlighting the positive impact of your learning, how it aligns with practice and, by extension, underscoring the advantages of association membership.

  3. Inclusion in Outbound Marketing: The one thing to be clear on, above all else, is that your association’s learning forms a part of its USP - your Unique Selling Proposition. Promoting the benefits of your member learning within your ongoing marketing activity lets you present one of the most compelling reasons for membership to your audience and should form a part of the backbone of your overall marketing efforts. If you're interested in exploring this topic further, you can grab our free ebook on making learning your USP here.

By using targeted marketing strategies, associations can help ensure that their current and future members are aware of the educational resources they have to offer and the opportunities those resources can provide. This not only helps in member recruitment, but also enriches the professional development of individual members and strengthens your industry’s collective knowledge base - making your association even more impactful for the industry it serves.