I met with a prospect the other day that was lamenting the fact that their association membership was declining and conference attendance was falling off.
This is not a good trend line
The prospect suggested that they should be live-streaming the conference to those members that cannot attend and charge for the sessions. On the surface, this may appear to be a prety good solution to ensure that conference content gets out to the members. But there is a danger in this strategy.
More members will stay home from the conference
In our experience, live-streaming must be carefully choreographed in order to not cannibalize conference attendance. We would suggest only advertising live-streaming after attendance has closed for the conference. Only live-stream a maximum of one session per day.
As far as charging for the livestream, our experience suggests that members would not pay for this unless the speaker was absolutely world-class or there was accreditation or badging associated with the session.
Where does that leave us?
By offering live-streaming to members (as well as other interested parties) for free, you put yourself in a position to deliver valuable content to your virtual members. They then feel that they are actually getting value for their membership, and that may be the tipping point as to whether they renew or not. Live-streaming should be paid for by sponsorship - not membership. By limiting the live-stream opportunity, the virtual member may see value in attending next year's conference based on the quality of content consumed. Also, by making the live-stream free to everyone, you attract prospects to watch your association's content that may join based on the value provided.
To learn more about building conference sponsorship to fund live-streaming consider attending our webinar in June. Get more information below by clicking on the button
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John Heppenstall is Director of Marketing for WorkerBee.TV