When your association deals with energy, it may feel like kismet to find a spark for revenue that touches several parts of the association. That’s exactly what happened with the Energy Management Association when it decided to host a seven-session series of webinars in the fall of 2020.
“We wanted as high attendance as possible, so we made them free and offered free continuing education credits,” says Sam Schwarz, EMA’s member engagement and marketing manager.
The organization’s webinars also qualified for CEU credits for two allied associations, making them more attractive to sponsors because they drew a wide variety of attendees. But EMA kept sponsor pricing relatively low and cast a wider net to bring in revenue from several parts of the organization.
For example, the webinars helped identify people who might be interested in the organization’s certification. “We added the checkbox that said, ‘Are you interested in our nationally recognized certification for energy management?’” Schwarz says. “Through that, we were able to get over 1,100 qualified leads.”
In addition, EMA used the series to stoke interest in a new associate membership category, which is aimed at suppliers. “Every time someone sponsored a webinar, we threw in an associate membership,” Schwarz says. “We would promote the webinar saying, ‘This associate member is cohosting this webinar with us.’ Then we would get people reach out to us and say, ‘What is this associate membership about? I want to learn more about that.’”
Because the webinars were recorded, EMA is now monetizing the series by making it available to people who missed it. “We’re turning it into an on-demand version, where we are going to have it on our website for purchase going forward,” Schwarz says.
The webinars were a hit with members, who enjoyed the one-hour time frame and weekly connection with peers in the energy management field. They also allowed some members who have earned EMA’s certification to get more involved.
“One of the things we tried to do with our webinars was to have one of our energy management professionals—that’s the name of our certification—be a cohost,” Schwarz says. “Previously, maybe these members weren’t as engaged or had the opportunity to be. But these programs gave them the opportunity. Not only that, their companies loved the exposure. A happy member, an engaged member, is more likely to renew and keep their certification.”