Profiting from Online Continuing Education
In an increasingly globalizing and competitive world, the ability for associations to distance themselves from its competition is becoming more and more difficult. Associations everywhere are looking for new ways to increase profits and better attract and retain members, and continuing education has proven to be the most effective method of meeting all three of these demands. For members, the need for continuing education is only going to get stronger as our world becomes more intertwined and competition intensifies within every industry. Additionally, industries are changing faster than ever before and both knowledge and experience are outdated faster than in any other time. In this constantly evolving world, those who stay on top of the most up-to-date industry knowledge and trends through continuing education will be the ones who thrive, and associations that offer the necessary continuing education are poised to reap the profits.
When it comes to associations offering continuing education, increased profits come in several different sizes and shapes. The first, and perhaps most important, is the new revenue stream that continuing education opens for associations. For career-driven members, the cost of education is more than justified by the value of the return. Moreover, continuing education is also an excellent tool that an association can benefit from in a variety of ways, including generating new leads and bringing in new members, enhancing member engagement and even positioning your association as an industry leader.
Continuing Education as a Revenue Stream
For today’s workforce, the ability to stay ahead of the curve or even just to stay competitive within a given industry depends on the skills and education acquired and how updated both are. In the past, experience went a lot further than it does now, whereas, today, current knowledge is a necessity and this knowledge needs proof, verified through degrees, diplomas and certifications. Therefore, the associations that offer members the chance to stay up-to-date on industry trends and educational requirements and/or opportunities provide not only an in-demand service but one that is becoming necessary in almost every industry.
For the association with an established continuing education platform, there is now a constantly evolving and replenishing revenue stream in place. The more options and opportunities an association makes available to its members the more potential revenue continuing education offers the provider. As industries evolve and add in new certificates and/or required knowledge, the association gains a new revenue stream. In addition to the revitalizing effect that new and changing industry certificates and educational requirements provide an association’s continuing education offerings year after year, ever-increasing globalization also calls on continuing education to validate international knowledge and education. These are just some of the many potential revenue streams available to associations offering continuing education today; tomorrow, there will almost certainly be more.
Continuing Education for Lead Generation
Another great benefit for associations offering continuing education is to increase both new and potential members. Take, for example, the offer of a free course. This can be used to attract potential members to the association’s website in exchange for their contact information. From that point, the association can target this new and qualified lead in the future with association information, other course offerings or advertising. Instead of a free course offering, associations can use continuing education as a point of approach for potential new members, providing something of value to discuss with or offer to association candidates. If nothing else, continuing education gives an association another benefit to discuss with members interested in registering, another opportunity to be found amongst its competitors and another reason to approach or pursue those in the industry.
Continuing Education for Member Engagement
One of the most important and most overlooked elements of an association is the matter of member engagement. It stands to reason that the more engaged in an association members are the more invested and willing to renew they will be. By offering continuing education to its members, associations establish a system that keeps members involved in their respective industries, simply by keeping them up-to-date on current trends, demands and opportunities. But it’s more than that. Continuing education also encourages members to participate and advance within their industries by keeping them educated and informed. At the end of the day, this is a service that members feel better for receiving, and they, in turn, reward their associations with their loyalty year after year.
Continuing Education for Industry Positioning
Part consequence, part intent, offering continuing education to members also establishes the providing association as a thought leader within the industry. Those who keep members engaged and informed in their industries and those who provide industry education also tend to become a hub for industry discussion and involvement. For most associations, this is a very welcome and profitable side effect to offering continuing education. Members seek out associations to represent their needs and provide them with a voice, so what better choice is there than one that also seeks to better its members in return? The potential opportunities that spring from this for the association are many, including a more significant and visible presence within the industry, as well as the option to expand into other educational content, such as with tutorials, webinars and/or conferences. From this new industry position, associations see increased interests, memberships, renewals and, most importantly, profits.