Is the world of “free” content devaluing membership?
There’s no question that the information landscape is a vast place. And with tools such as Google, finding the information you need is just a few keystrokes away. And the best part? Most of it doesn’t cost a dime. Educational resources, such as the Kahn Academy, offers an almost overwhelming number of online classes at no cost to the user. And Youtube tutorials feel like they come by the bushel. This isn’t even taking into consideration all of the written articles, instruction pieces and open web-forums available in today’s market. For them, monetization comes by way of ads that pay out either by impression, or by click-through. So the question is: for Associations that depend on paid membership to keep their doors open, how do they compete with the seduction of free?
The short answer is: they don’t. There may have been a point in time, 10-15 years ago, when the draw of exclusive content was more than enough value to encourage people to fork-over yearly membership dues. Now that content has become a lot less exclusive, this is no longer the case. That isn’t to say that associations don’t have anything to offer, and over the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at how member based associations can increase membership through a variety of methods, including:
Looking at how a member values their membership
Providing an environment for reliable information
Teasing what membership offers
Over the next few days we will be taking an in-depth look at each of the items listed above, and demonstrate that membership based associations has a high value they offer to their members.
As stated above, it is nigh impossible to compete with free. Instead, membership organizations should turn their attention to the value they bring to their members that provides a solid, tangible benefit to membership. On Wednesday we will be taking a look at a key shift in paradigm associations need to embrace to start the change…
Can you think of anything I’ve left off of the list? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.