Common Challenges for Associations

Have you ever wondered if, within your own association, your conference team and your continuing education team face similar challenges? According to the results of our two industry reports, they do!

Watch Dan Loomis discuss the most common challenges that appear on both the 2018 Training Trends Report and 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report. In the video, Dan also details a way to bring the conference and training groups together to find solutions to their shared challenges.

 


Video Transcript

Dan Loomis: “Within your own association, do you ever wonder if your conference team and your continuing education team have similar challenges? We looked at two industry reports and we found some interesting trends.

 

“What we found interesting is across conference and training, there’s challenges around managing content changes and how to deliver the mix of content that needs to be delivered for the learner. It’s not surprising that that’s a focus, because it actually helps with the strategic focus and the relevancy of an association. But, what I find interesting looking at these reports side-by-side, there’s a lot of associations that are still challenged with managing costs, deciding what quantities to produce and even order fulfillment and shipping.

 

“If you think about these things that are consuming their time and deciding what quantities to produce is taking up about 30% of their time, where they would prefer to spend 0% on that type of task.

 

“So, what if you outsourced to a third-party that could handle that stuff and still support your brand and all the things you would like to represent when that material goes out, and you could put that time towards some of those higher end, higher level strategic objectives of really focusing on the mix of the formats and managing those content changes.

 

“So, like we say in life, it’s not always about the big changes, it’s about the little changes and maybe it’s time we apply that to our own associations.

 

“Here’s a suggestion: Grab some members from your conference team, grab a few from your continuing education, have a little lunch and learn, do a little team bonding. It will be interesting to see what kind of common challenges they have in your association and see what kind of solutions they can come up with.”

 

Some New Program’s Resolutions for 2018

 

Every January we resolve to do things differently in the New Year. We make resolutions to get more exercise, eat more vegetables or drink less coffee. But sure enough, by the time the calendar turns to February, we settle back into our day to day routine, and our well-intentioned goals are brushed aside.

I hear similar stories from customers about setting goals for their new programs, as well. Instead of changing behaviors around personal health, the focus is on improving their educational offerings. You too may have set goals to expand your courses internationally, offer more content online or develop training on new regulations. Then, just like a personal resolution, the reality of the day-to-day routine takes over and you find yourself back to working harder, not smarter.

Probably the most common goal that is set aside when developing a new program is improving the branding of the course materials. That’s unfortunate because ensuring your course materials offer a positive first impression can have a dramatic influence on how learners’ receive your new program.

This year, resolve to use these three elements of branding to improve your program launch:

Cross Promotion

Leverage your existing marketing materials in a new way. Bundle a promotional flyer for your new program with the materials that learners purchase for your other courses. This is a great way to let your members know about your new offering.

Design

Create a cohesive look and feel to the course materials you offer by using consistent colors and fonts across all your materials. Using your logo on the cover also helps establish your brand as a recognizable learning resource.

Packaging

Presentation is an important part of establishing a positive first impression. Have you considered an eye-catching box or high-quality case to help create a professional appearance for your materials? If you are sending multiple items to each participant, think about kitting the items together in a beautifully assembled package.

Launching a new program is a lot like flipping the calendar to start a new year: Even the best intentions but can get overwhelmed once reality sets in. Resolve to make these simple improvements to the branding of your course materials and make 2018 the year you keep your New Program’s resolutions.

 

How Social Proof Can Increase Enrollment In Your Training Courses

 

Social media offers many new and innovative ways to promote your training courses online, but it also excels in one of the oldest: recommendations from a learner’s peers. Of course, in the online world, everything needs a buzzword, and in this case, “peer recommendations” is now known as “social proof”

Social proof is a simple concept: people trust the recommendations of their friends and peers more than they trust traditional advertising. Leveraging these recommendations is a great way to expand visibility, increase enrollment and validate people’s confidence in your continuing education courses.


Social proof can be a powerful addition to your overall marketing strategy, and who better to leverage for these positive testimonials than your current learners? Oftentimes though, your learners would be willing to share their thoughts about your course but aren’t sure how to do it, so while in the classroom, let them know that you’d appreciate the feedback and explain how they can help advocate for your continuing education courses online. Here are just a few of the ways your current learners can help become advocates for your courses online.

Write a guest blog article

Have a current learner write a guest blog post about their experience in your training course. They can share their key takeaways from the course or any tips they’d like to pass along. This is a great way for future learners to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to take your course.

Social proof: Guest blogs give a personalized account of your training that a potential learner can identify with and see if they’d be interested in taking it themselves.

Provide a case study

Interview a current learner and use the information you collect to create a case study about their continuing education experience. Ask about their impressions of the course and the instructor, as well as how they plan to use the knowledge they acquired through taking the course. Make sure to follow up with that student to see how the information they learned has helped them in their career. These case studies can be posted on your website or blog.

Social proof: A case study can be an effective way to increase enrollment in your courses by showing specific examples of how the knowledge from your training courses can lead to a better career.

Share on social media

Learners can share their experiences or interesting facts presented in class on social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter during breaks or before and after class. Then, your organization can share or retweet the posts as a quick testimonial.

Social proof: Social media posts help show the learner’s friends and colleagues that they are advancing their careers, which can help inspire their peers to do so, too.

Create Facebook events

If you’ve set up Facebook events for your future continuing education courses, your learner-turned-advocate can personally share and invite their friends who might be interested in taking a course.

Social proof: The invitation from the learner themselves will serve as a personal recommendation rather than an advertisement. Facebook event invites can also create a sense of community before the class even begins.

Leave an online recommendation

Whether it’s on your organization’s Facebook page or your website, positive reviews speak volumes. Ask your trainees to leave reviews sharing their experiences and recommendations online. This is something you can ask all of your learners to do after the course is over to gather more testimonials and boost your brand.

Social proof: Reviews increase the confidence in the value you provide through real-life feedback from actual learners.

In the world of social media, social proof goes a long way and can increase both the awareness and positive reception of your organization. If current learners are willing to share their experiences online, both future learners and your organization can benefit.

 

If you are interested in learning about other ways your organization can spread the word about your training courses and increase enrollment using social media, download our free whitepaper, “Promote your Training Courses with Content Marketing.”

 

 

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