Association Connect

Exploring New Revenue Sources in the Digital Age

By Laura Gaenzle | May 9, 2022

For most associations, print sales and magazine advertising have long been their financial bread and butter—the lifeblood of their revenue stream. More and more, associations are branching out into new online revenue streams and reaping the benefits of the internet age. But how do you decide what kinds of digital opportunities are right for your association? You may already be familiar with the basics of online revenue streams, but this roundup will help you dive deep into five unique strategies to take your association’s profitability to the next level.

1. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content allows your advertisers, sponsors, and partners to position themselves as experts in the industry with thought leadership pieces and other targeted media. Sponsored content has the advantage of not only generating profit for the association, but it is also often a hands-off endeavor for the association itself, meaning less stress for your internal team. Learn more about sponsored content here.

2. Digital Resource Sponsorship

Creating a library of premium content for your membership to access behind a paywall is becoming the industry standard. However, a great way to showcase your content and entice potential new members is to rotate some of these resources each month to a page that does not require a login. By doing so, you create a monthly sponsorship opportunity. Announcing that “this month’s resources are sponsored by X company” and perhaps including a sponsored resource on your page creates a new sponsorship revenue stream. This strategy also entices page visitors to join your association to view more content like the monthly teasers.

3. Retargeting

Retargeting is a form of digital advertising that tracks users across sites and repeatedly exposes them to the sponsor’s advertisements. Associations earn revenue from retargeting by embedding pixels into their websites that track users across different websites. These pixels make your association’s website part of the chain of sites hosting the same company’s advertisements. Get the details on how retargeting works and how it can benefit your association here.

4. Membership and Contest Sponsorships

Associations can also benefit from sponsorship opportunities for their membership dues and events. Companies can sponsor new members using exclusive promotional codes new members can use at sign up. This can be a great yearlong sponsorship opportunity.

Other great opportunities for sponsorships are monthly or bimonthly contests. Sponsors gain the benefit of logo recognition on promotional materials and landing pages, as well as identification as the program sponsor in printed and digital publications. Sponsors may even provide products or services to be included in contest prizes.

5. Lead Generation

Lead generation for associations is the process by which they can identify new audiences and potential members. By collecting entrant information from contests and other online offerings, associations can acquire contact information for potential new members who sign up for their programs. Then, associations can send targeted materials to those potential members to encourage them to join.

Associations can also earn revenue by offering online registrants for sponsored events the option to join the sponsor’s mailing list—this can create another incentive for sponsors to partner with your association. No matter how you use it, lead generation is a win-win! Check out our explainer of lead generation here

If you and your association are interested in learning more about how you could benefit from sponsored content, retargeting, or other digital opportunities, reach out to us today! Our Media Sales team is expertly trained in digital revenue opportunities and will connect you with the resources and strategies you need to bring your association’s digital revenue to the next level.

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