3 Ways to Increase Non-dues Revenue for Your Association’s Online Continuing Education Program

Chart with line going up. A hand is also pointing upwards.

Increasing non-dues revenue for your association’s online continuing education program requires you to focus on numerous components that all have to fit together to create value for your members.

From the online learning platform you select, to the way you market your continuing education courses, creating a successful online continuing education program is a continuous process.

To help you create a successful online continuing education (CE) program, we will highlight three key areas that most associations overlook when offering online CE courses:

  • An Easy-to-Use Online Learning Platform
  • The Importance of the Course Content and Pricing
  • The Value of Marketing

It is not enough to just post your recorded CE courses online and then expect members to purchase your courses; you need to consider how user-friendly the platform is, the quality and cost of the courses, and the marketing strategies you’ll employ. 

Selecting an Easy-to-Use Online Learning Platform 

The success of your online continuing education program starts with your members’ online experience.

Imagine walking into a brick-and-mortar store where the aisles are so close together that it’s hard to find the product you’re looking for. When you attempt to ask for help, no one answers. Chances are, you would walk out upset and annoyed, vowing to warn anyone and everyone away from it! The same principle applies to your members’ online experience.

If your online learning platform is cumbersome and hard to navigate, your members will eventually stop using the platform.

If technical support isn’t prompt and professional, your members will be frustrated. If your members are unhappy with your platform, they’ll let each other know about it.

Consequently, when selecting an online learning platform, focus on usability and user-friendliness rather than features alone.

Go through the learning process yourself, all the way from purchasing an online course to completing it. Was it easy to find all the courses you wanted? Could you do it all on your first try? Did you need help at any time? If you were ever confused on where to go or what to click, chances are that your members will be, too. 

Remember, the entire purpose of offering online continuing education courses is to add value while increasing non-dues revenue.

If the process of completing your online courses is too complicated, not only are you losing out on non-dues revenue–you’re also creating a negative experience for your members!

Course Content is King, and the Price Must Be Right

In the last section, we talked about the importance of the online experience. In this section, we’ll focus on the product: your online courses.

By providing online education courses, your association has the opportunity to become a go-to source of timely and relevant information for your members. Make sure that your courses are up-to-date with the latest trends in your field, whether that means offering courses in newly developing areas or expanding on sectors that are already considered an industry backbone; whatever courses you create, they have to add value. 

Thus, by offering online continuing education courses that provide both prompt and thorough information, your association will have the opportunity to become the go-to source of high-quality information and online courses for your industry. This is the power and the importance of CE course content.

Your Online Courses Need Clearly Defined Learning Outcomes with Well-Written Descriptions

Your members need to know what specific, actionable insight they will earn by paying for and partaking in your course.

For example, will the contents of the course help them earn a certificate in a new skill? Will it teach them the current best practices in their field?

If your course descriptions are too vague, your members won’t understand the benefit of enrolling–meaning your association loses out on the non-dues revenue your programs could be producing! Instead, use clear, concise descriptions to demonstrate the value of each course to show your members why they should enroll. 

Value-Based Pricing: Your Association’s Ability to Maximize Non-dues Revenue From Continuing Education

Value-based pricing helps associations set prices of the courses they sell based on the value the course provides to their members.

If you understand the unique challenges that your members face, creating niche courses that cater to these issues is a worthwhile undertaking for your association. Your members will recognize the value of your courses and will be willing to pay more to access the tailored information–even more so when compared to a blanket course that covers a generic topic. 

Whether your courses are niche or expansive, remember to price them according to the value they offer your members.

Increasing Non-dues Revenue Means Online Marketing Matters More than Ever

Marketing online courses requires a different strategy than marketing in-person continuing education sessions.

To address this, you’ll need to create clear and persuasive marketing campaigns to let your members know about the convenience and ease of your online learning platform and its courses.

Though you may have already sent out an email campaign upon the release of your platform, it is necessary to keep up the communication and continue to inform your members of new, exciting course opportunities. After all, if your audience doesn’t know you offer a course, they won’t know to look for it!

Research has shown that in order to get a recipient to follow an email’s call to action, you need to send approximately 10 to 20 emails about it.

Because of this, we recommend you notify your members via email about your online learning platform and any new courses about 1 to 2 times a month.

Additionally, you’ll want to build a few marketing campaigns to promote your association’s new CE platform once it’s live.

Examples of possible campaigns you could use to promote your online learning platform and courses include:

  • Monthly Association Speaker Advice
  • Current Offers and Deals
  • Course Recommendations and Endorsements from Members
  • Featured New Courses

While the creation and maintenance of email campaigns may sound like a lot of work for your association, we must look to the retail world for advice. How many emails have you received from your favorite brands advertising new products and services?

You may work with an association, but the message is the same: messages are more effective when repeated!

Thus, while creating online marketing campaigns may be a laborious process, they aren’t without benefit–they’re a key tool when it comes to keeping your members up-to-date with what you offer!

Vocalmeet Offers Marketing to All of Our Clients as a Complimentary Service.

Let us help you inform your members about your association’s online continuing education options and help you increase your online sales. Learn more about our online learning platforms here!

In closing, increasing non-dues revenue for your online continuing education program is an ongoing process: you’ll need to research and employ the best learning management system platform; to constantly revise, review, and upgrade your content; and to create a string of marketing campaigns that promote your platform once it goes live.

There are lights at the end of the tunnel, however, and their names are “Non-dues Revenue” and “Member Satisfaction”– the best outcomes an association could have!