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Want to Grow Non-Dues Revenue? Try a New Email Promotion Strategy

Associations, Communications Strategy, Revenue Growth // Adopting a new email promotion strategy can help your association boost revenue from virtual events, webinars, online courses, and other paid opportunities.

Allison Able
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On average, associations derive nearly 60% of their revenue from sources other than membership dues – non-dues revenue.

In the midst of tight budgets and ongoing economic uncertainty, non-dues revenue has become even more critical. Widespread event cancellations have caused associations to pivot their strategies and rely heavily on paid opportunities like virtual events, webinars, online courses, and certifications.

Your member and prospect marketing campaigns will help determine the success of your revenue stream diversification. That’s because members are not only experiencing their own financial stress during this economic downturn, but also have limited attention spans and time.

What if you could break free from the revenue rut, and streamline the way you promote your association’s paid opportunities?

With a more effective email strategy, it’s possible!

Check out our full guide to boosting non-dues revenue, where you’ll learn how to actually build a campaign (plus, get tips for sending more effective emails.

Promote Revenue-Earning Opportunities More Effectively

What if you could maximize the non-dues revenue you generate while minimizing the time you spend managing the process? Associations are already enjoying that level of efficiency, thanks to automated email campaigns.

Let’s explore how this works — and why replacing ineffective processes with automation can help your association boost revenue from virtual events, webinars, online courses, and other paid opportunities.

Making the most of your non-dues revenue opportunities starts with adopting a more effective communication strategy.

Each of your members represents untapped revenue potential. Automation provides a more effective way to maximize the amount your members spend, by sharing targeted, relevant content and optimizing your staff’s time.

Your promotion campaigns should persuade them to consider additional purchases for courses, certifications, or events — but one-and-done, generic emails won’t make them lunge for their credit cards.

But Wait, What’s a Promotion Campaign?

Although you’re probably familiar with promotion campaigns, it’s still useful to define that term — particularly since it applies to more than non-dues revenue.

A promotion campaign is an automated email campaign that you use to create awareness for any event, product, or service you want members to know more about. It could be paid or free. Maybe it’s a networking event, a webinar, or a course in your Learning Management System (LMS) that a segment of your membership hasn’t taken yet. The campaign could include a call to action — or it could simply be informative. You have the freedom to promote anything that’s relevant for your members, using whatever content you choose.

If you want to a real-life example of how automated email campaigns work, read about how Professionals Australia is using them to see success in retention, acquisition, and engagement with their member base.

3 Ways Automated Email Campaigns Can Increase Non-Dues Revenue

Let’s take a closer look at how automated email promotion campaigns make a personalized approach possible:

1. Personalize Your Outreach by Applying These Strategies

Identify members’ real interests.

When you identify members’ interests, it shouldn’t be a guessing game based on limited information like membership levels or demographics. With automated email campaign data, you get a clearer picture of the content members want. This allows you to tailor email subject lines and content based on targeted member segments. It makes your communication more relevant —which boosts engagement and revenue.

That’s what happened with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). They had useful educational courses, but their promotional emails didn’t reflect that. All of their courses were listed in a single newsletter, with a generic subject line. After overhauling their communication strategy, TIA used Higher Logic’s Communications software to create a more targeted approach.

The result: Course registrations increased by 49%, and education revenue increased by 32%.

Create momentum with highly engaged members.

The goal of automation isn’t more messages — instead, it’s more relevance. And your most receptive audience for meaningful content will be the members who are most engaged. Use automation to capitalize on that. Maintain close contact with those members, and send relevant messages based on their interactions. This is the part of your audience that’s most likely to convert. When you establish a more authentic connection with them, it leads to compelling communication that can help generate more revenue.

2. Plan Ahead to Promote More Effectively

Instead of scrambling to send off a reminder at the right time, set up your messages in advance. Plan ahead and let automation do the heavy lifting.

Visit this guide to get a sample automated email campaign structure.

3. Save Time and Avoid Duplicating Work

Think about the communications you send out regularly. With automation, you can create a process that you continually use. After you create a campaign framework with three emails, for example, you can use that same framework again and again. To create a new campaign, simply swap in new messages and email lists to promote other events, courses, or webinars.

Automation enhances your communication strategy, positioning your association for future success. That could mean making improvements to a new member onboarding program or looking for ways to diversify revenue streams.

Let’s Apply It: 4 Ideas for How You Can Grow Non-Dues Revenue

It might all sound a bit vague at this point, so let’s look at four areas that your association might be able to use automated email campaigns to boost non-dues revenue.

1. Promote Your Publications and Subscriptions

You want the right people in your member base to hear about the right publications and subscriptions. For example, if you’ve got members who are all about advocacy, you’d want them to know the minute your latest report on what’s happening on the Hill comes out?

With a combination of engagement tools, you can gather the data about members’ interests, segment your members by interests, and nurture members with automated campaigns – all to encourage more participation and create more exposure for the content they’re truly interested in, like your new report.

By utilizing engagement tools effectively, your association can build a reputation for delivering quality content to your members. This boosts not only the success of your publication but member retention and association revenue.

2. Increase Exposure for Your Advertising and Sponsorship Program

You may already have an advertising or sponsorship program running. You can maximize this by nurturing sponsors using automated campaigns. Just like you can nurture a prospective member, you can pursue a sponsor, and target them with the opportunities they’d be most interested in paying for.

3. Increase Event Registration

You can create an automated campaign to invite members to register, saving your staff time. The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) tried this strategy on its event registrations. The association used an “abandoned cart” strategy to send registration reminders to members who had visited the registration page, but not yet registered. This generated a 25% increase in early registrations, and an additional $73,000 in non-dues revenue. This works well with either virtual or in-person events.

4. Boost Educational Programs and Certifications

When it comes to promoting your educational programs, you want to ensure members can see everything available to them. But to achieve the best results on your non-dues revenue, use automated email campaigns to create targeted, personalized communications, driven by members’ behavioral data, to match them with the right offerings.

The Texas Medical Association increased sales on its educational courses by 313%, using targeted emails. Without bombarding their members’ inboxes, they’re able to still promote all their courses and grow revenue.

Automated Email Campaigns: A Proven Method to Strengthen Revenue Growth

Instead of relying on older systems during economic uncertainty, associations can overcome obstacles by upgrading their membership communications plan with automated email campaigns. Automated campaigns created double-digit and triple-digit increases in education revenue, respectively, for the Transportation Intermediaries Association and the Texas Medical Association.

Automation strengthens your promotion campaigns with highly targeted, strategically timed emails — and also optimizes your staff’s time. When you effectively promote the value of your paid products and services, it helps convince members that your association remains a worthwhile investment.

Allison Able

Sr. Community Manager

Allison Able is an experienced community and communications strategist in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is a versatile community leader who readily dives into new challenges and immediately works to uncover ways to optimize performance, improve client engagement, or solve complex problems. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her fiance, Chris, and their dog, Scout. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, trying out the newest restaurants, and planning her next travel adventure.

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