Thanks to new tools and platforms, many traditional member benefits are being taken to the virtual space, allowing more flexibility for members to participate. One trend we’ve seen in the last few years is the traditional seminar being taken online to create webinars.
In fact, your association may already be conducting webinars on a regular basis! But, with any other member interaction, you want to make sure these learning opportunities are engaging so members continue to use them - and often. Try some of these tricks with your online learning program to make sure members keep coming back for more:
1. Change up the format
Sometimes a straight up lecture makes most sense, depending on the topic and size of your audience. But when the topic allows, try conducting webinars with more interactive formats:
- Q&A: Ask attendees for questions beforehand and have your presenter address them individually. (After 10-15 minutes of introduction and instruction, depending on the topic.) If your webinar platform allows, you should also try to take questions live! Some attendees may be more likely to think of them in the moment.
- Panel: Panels are great because the guests can bounce the discussion off of each other, which keeps the webinar more lively and engaging. You might also consider including a moderator to keep the conversation moving. (Again, depending on topic and size.)
- Open Discussion: You’ll still want a host to guide the conversation, but many platforms allow attendees to share their cameras and participate in the discussion, too. This format works best for smaller, more intimate webinars. Pro Tip: Test the technology before you try this for the first time!
2. Invite guests to host
Your association leaders, no doubt, have expertise in many areas - but it’s always good to change up who your members are hearing from! Plus, inviting guests from outside the association to host your webinars may draw more attendees, depending on their influence in your community. Who knows, guest webinars could even attract the attention of prospective members, too!
3. Survey your members
Continuing education requirements may dictate some topics, but it’s always worth asking your audience what they want to see and doing your best to make it happen! Work some surveys into your online learning program strategy:
- Include a survey link in your email newsletter or members-only portal. (Or both!)
- Since they’re already engaged with your webinars, send a post-webinar follow up email to attendees asking what they’d like to see next.
- Talk to committee leaders to find out what would be beneficial to their groups.
- Ask specifically who members want to hear from (or might be able to connect you with) and invite them to host a guest webinar.
4. Create corresponding content
Whether it’s a worksheet to follow along with during the webinar or a checklist to use after, create something that corresponds to the topic and content of each webinar. This will give members something else to engage with, a way to put what they’re learning to practice, and encouragement to join even more webinars in the future.
5. Always hit record
Repurposing your content is key! Record your webinars so that you can do things like:
- Share the the video with members later in a different format (email, newsletter, during a meeting, etc.)
- Earn some non-dues revenue by creating a library of “premium content”
- Create short video snippets that are easier to digest on social media
- Revisit the presentation to create other forms of content, like guides and infographics
Your association’s content - including live webinars, and their materials and recordings - are all valuable resources for recruiting members with inbound marketing. What is inbound marketing? A cost effective method for creating a loyal following and converting them to members! Find out more with our free download, Growing Your Organization’s Membership: A Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing for Associations.