Michigan Rural Water Association

Membership Engagement

“Village Press has been great to work with for publishing our magazines, making it such an easy step-by-step process. In addition, they handle our advertising sales. They have done an incredible job of increasing sales, and reaching out to our advertisers and potential advertisers.”

Tim Neumann, Executive Director

The Challenge

The Michigan Rural Water Association (MRWA), Harrison, Michigan, produces a 32-page publication, The Clarifier, which is sent on a quarterly basis to the association’s 3,000 members. They came to VPDCS in 2014 for a redesign of the magazine and to take on growing their ad sales to help better cover the cost of magazine production. The previous year, they averaged $6,000 in ad sales per issue and were struggling to find new advertisers. MRWA also wanted to grow ad sales for their 84-page annual membership directory. Devoting more time and effort to growing ad sales wasn’t going to fit with the administrative staff’s existing duties and responsibilities.

The Solution

MRWA was given a dedicated advertising manager to focus on their publications. In addition to standard outreaches, such as emails and phone calls, the ad manager knew she had to meet with potential advertisers face to face. She began attending association events to create even more opportunities to meet people personally. The “new look” of The Clarifier, which was modernized and streamlined, became an effective marketing tool for her to use in her sales pitch. MRWA also agreed to a digital version of the publication, which is accessible via any browser and available for anyone to read on their website MRWA.net, which expands the consumption of the publication and the visibility of advertisers to consumers and potential members of the association in addition to active members.

The Results

Ad sales have risen steadily over the past several years. The first year, MRWA saw a growth of 39 percent per issue for The Clarifier. In other words, $9,500 more in annual ad sales. Since partnering with us, ad sales growth has doubled and MRWA sees an average of $12,000 in ad sales per issue. It’s the same story with the annual membership directory. In 2014, our first year, ad sales were $12,000. Three years later, that number has grown nearly 48 percent. These publications are some of the best benefits offered by MRWA, and now they are steady sources of income for the association.

First year ad sales growth per issue

Ad sales increase the first year

Average annual ad sales