Online communities are seen as the go-to hub for members to interact and share knowledge. A way of delivering information to members. When evaluating community software, we often look at the outlay as an expense rather than as a profit generator. But it is a wonderful way to generate non-dues revenue.

With associations looking for ways to increase their revenue, they are turning to their online community. There are many options including advertising, sponsorship, events, courses and products. It is important to promote your sponsors/ advertisers without interfering with the community experience.

12 Ways to help your Community members connect with the right people, content and solutions to achieve their goals.

  1. Banner ads
    Banner ads are an excellent way for your sponsors to broaden their exposure.
    At the top of the community homepage add a leaderboard banner or down the side a wide skyscraper banner.

  2. Newsletter and discussion posts
    Include an advertisement on your daily digest email, which is delivered to every member’s inbox. For your discussion group messages, include a button advertisement or plain text hyperlink. The “post powered by” can include a sponsor hyperlink below the signature field in every discussion post.

  3. Sessions and discussion topics
    For events, sell sponsorship for key sessions and discussion topics. When an attendee goes to a session on community software, it would for example associate Sengii as the sponsor and have a chance to download related whitepapers from the sponsor.

  4. Sponsored blog
    Sponsored blogs can be featured on the community homepage. Encourage your sponsors to contribute to your blogs with meaningful content. This gives them visibility and helps position them as a thought leader.

  5. Member packs
    Include sponsorship information and adverts in member packs.

  6. Education
    Your members will be happy to pay an additional fee for excellent educational content in the form of courses, certifications, accreditations and webinars.

  7. Mobile App
    Using your mobile app notify attendees at an event about in-booth sessions, demonstrations or sponsored social events. About a webinar or online networking event. Scheduled messages are an effective way to generate exposure for sponsors.

  8. Lead Generation
    As attendees begin to search for the right solutions ahead of an event, give them a way to follow sponsors and download content. Notify your sponsor each time someone expresses interest.

  9. Extend an event
    Allow sponsors to distribute content before, during and after the event. It gives sponsors a way to extend their reach and it improves their sales results.

  10. Meeting scheduling
    Nothing makes sponsors happier than meeting with qualified prospects. As attendees begin to plan their event schedule, enable them to set up meetings with your sponsors.

  11. Reviews and recommendations
    When attendees browse for the right solution or look at reviews and recommendations, sponsors will pay to appear at the top of the list just like they do in online search advertising.

  12. Gauge member interest
    Find out what interests your members as they look for people, content and solutions. In that way you can provide a service for your members and put sponsors in front of people who have expressed interest in their solution.

Getting started:

  1. Identify a target list of partners

Here’s where you should look when compiling your list:

  • Your partner ecosystem directory on your website
  • Sponsors your company has partnered with in the past
  • Your competitors’ events – who is sponsoring those?
  1. Get the numbers

Before agreeing to invest, your sponsors are going to want to see some numbers. These questions will help your sponsors assess whether your members match their target buyer profiles.

  • How many members you have, or how many people will be attending an event?
  • Community engagement rates
  • Demographics? (e.g. regions, ages, member roles)
  1. Create a range of options

Set out all the options in a prospectus, clearly laying out the benefits of collaborating with your organization.

  • Clarify the different options that you have available (events, conferences, newsletters, community homepage, networking events …)
  • Outline the pricing and requirements for each
  • Outline your policies to ensure no misunderstandings

 Get your members involved in recruiting, there are lots of benefits for them too.  We are happy to help you get started. Schedule a call with us.