Are you looking to grow your continuing education program? It might be time to create an association marketing strategy.

An association marketing strategy can help you attract new learners, retain current members, drive non-dues revenue, and strengthen your brand recognition within your industry.

But how can you begin building your association marketing strategy? Read our blog for helpful tips! 


Why marketing for associations is important 

Creating an association marketing strategy can help you reach your goals. Here are four ways you can use an association marketing strategy to grow your continuing education program: 

1. Learner acquisition. Do you want to establish your learning program as a go-to destination for professional development? Focus your association’s marketing strategy on attracting new learners to your continuing education program. To market your program successfully, be sure to highlight your value.

Leverage your website, social media, marketing materials, and more to demonstrate the benefits of your continuing education program. Highlight learner success stories, exciting upcoming events, or annual conferences to show your program’s value, ultimately attracting more learners. 


2. Learner retention. An association marketing strategy can also help you boost learner retention. To retain your learners, you should aim to foster ongoing engagement and encourage loyalty to your continuing education program.

Consider leveraging a newsletter which highlights upcoming continuing education courses, exciting events, and special learning opportunities to show off your program. Further enhance the learning experience and drive learner retention by ensuring course registration and event signups are easy.


3. Sponsor acquisition. To boost your continuing education program’s brand recognition, you might want to consider attracting more sponsors. Sponsorships validate your learning program and are also a helpful form of non-dues revenue.

Attract more sponsors with an association marketing strategy. Developing an outreach strategy to reach more sponsors will help you target the right sponsors, create a valuable sponsorship package, and effectively manage sponsorships.


4. Non-dues revenue goals. If your organization has any revenue goals for your continuing education program, it’s wise to create a marketing strategy. Building a strategy to drive non-dues revenue will help you optimize your learning program by considering course and event registration pricing, sponsorship packages, exclusive learning content offerings, and more.  


How to create an association marketing strategy 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of how building an association marketing strategy can help you reach your continuing education goals, it’s time to get to work!

Follow these seven steps to create an effective marketing strategy for your association:  

1. Define your mission

What is your mission statement for your continuing education program? You need a vision to guide your learning program and help establish your marketing strategy and campaigns, ensuring your future goals come true.

Do you want your continuing education program to become a go-to professional development resource in your industry? As you define your vision, consider what you want your learners to get out of your program and what you hope they will accomplish throughout their careers.  Once you’ve created your program mission statement, you’ll be ready to build your marketing strategy.

2. Segment your audience

Segmentation is when you group your target audience based on shared characteristics. Consider segmenting your target audience based on the following:

  • Prospective learners 
  • New learners 
  • Long-time learners 
  • Learners in leadership roles 
  • Age 
  • Profession 
  • Educational background 

After you create your segments, you can create specialized marketing materials to reach these specific groups. Personalized messaging is much more effective than a generic marketing approach.

3. Define learner personas

Creating learner personas will further help you personalize your association marketing strategy. A persona is an example of a potential learner that represents a cross-section of your target group. Be sure to leverage your learning management system (LMS) and association management software (AMS) data as you build your personas.

Try to craft learner personas based on age, career, certifications, training, and more. Leveraging personas is a great way to humanize your marketing strategy, ensuring your messaging will resonate with perspective learners.

4. Research competitors

To better understand how your continuing education program stands out from the rest, do some research of competing programs. Examining competitor programs will help you know what learning services are offered in your industry. This knowledge will help you understand how your program can stand apart.

With competitor research, you can work towards making your continuing education program unique and become the go-to industry resource.

5. Diversify your marketing approaches

Leverage multichannel marketing to promote your continuing education program. Be sure to reach potential learners and market upcoming courses and events in as many ways as possible.

Try using the following marketing channels:

  • Social media platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and more.  
  • Email marketing: Send important updates about a new course and registration information directly to your learners.  
  • Association and learning program website: Ensure your website is updated with the latest information about your program. Additionally, make it easy for learners to register for an upcoming course.

6. Leverage success stories

To attract new learners, try highlighting the benefits of your learning program with testimonials, photos, and videos. You might consider sharing video clips from your latest annual conference or a highlight reel from one of your hot topic webinars.

Try including photos and testimonials from learners that recently completed a certification program. Sharing learner feedback on your social media and website is a great way to demonstrate the value of your continuing education program.

7. Track learner data

Last but not least, be sure to leverage your learning management system (LMS) to track learner data. Tracking this information will help you measure your continuing education program’s impact. Good data will help you know if your association marketing strategy is yielding results and if you’re meeting your goals.

Be sure to use an LMS that integrates seamlessly with your AMS. Using connected solutions will ensure your data syncs and help you make more informed decisions about your marketing strategy. With an LMS + AMS integration, you can track course registrations, certification completions, learner retention rates, new learner demographics, and more valuable information.

TECH TIP: Choose Freestone LMS to track your learner data and create a successful association marketing plan. With Freestone, boost learner engagement with interactive tools and engaging live and on-demand learning content. Freestone makes it easy to sell and incorporate sponsorships in your learning events, helping you drive non-dues revenue.

Learn more

To create a successful association marketing strategy, follow the tips in this blog! And choose Freestone LMS to attract new learners, retain current members, drive non-dues revenue, and more. Chat with the Freestone team today to learn more!