There are many benefits associated with belonging to a Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber of Commerce’s underlying mission is to drive a community’s economic growth by supporting local businesses. Fortunately, many ways exist to accomplish this goal while overcoming the industry’s challenges. The information below sheds light on these challenges and marketing ideas that can yield a high return on the Chamber of Commerce’s investment and its members.
5 Challenges Chambers of Commerce Face
1. Unmet Member Needs
When a business or professional decides to join a Chamber of Commerce, they do so because of the benefits of being a member. However, when the membership starts to drop off, sometimes it’s because needs are unmet. This can be resolved by first identifying what each member needs. You can use free surveys sent by email or provided on social media to obtain helpful information. It’s an excellent way to make data-driven decisions instead of conclusions based on assumptions. The bottom line is that you can’t meet members’ needs if you don’t know what they are.
2. Cost of Marketing
The marketing cost can become problematic for the local Chamber of Commerce depending on the methods used. Fortunately, there are many ways to market the services offered, and not all are costly. Several free marketing ideas can be used to optimize results. Content and video marketing are two methods that often yield remarkable results.
3. Outdated Member Information
As a Chamber of Commerce administrator, there is a constant effort to maintain updated member information. Even when there is a concentrated and ongoing effort to ensure the contact details are accurate in member profiles, it doesn’t always yield the desired results. One way to overcome this challenge is by placing ownership on the members and providing multiple opportunities for them to provide updates. What’s great about current technology is that most membership directories are online, and changes can be reflected in real-time. You don’t want stale data to remain in a database.
4. Scheduling Conflicts
When scheduling meetings and planning events for Chamber of Commerce members, ensuring the event is worth their time and fits within their schedule is important. This is easier said than done, especially when ensuring meaningful and beneficial meetings and events. They should also be brief and have a clear agenda that’s provided in advance. When attracting busy entrepreneurs and business owners, you must value their time.
5. Limited Communication
Like any other organization, communication is critical for every Chamber of Commerce. Many experiences the challenge of limited communication with their members, which results in an “out of sight, out of mind” situation. Communicating with members consistently doesn’t have to be complicated. Some marketing ideas listed below will provide cost-effective tips for staying in constant communication. Just keep in mind that some communication methods should be offline. Although it might seem like a lot, there should be some form of communication with members daily. Since this can occur through social media, there is often no cost involved.
7 Chamber of Commerce Marketing Ideas
Along with having a great chamber of commerce website design, and implementing a local SEO strategy to help grow website traffic, below are seven additional marketing ideas for your chamber of commerce:
1. Email Newsletters
Newsletters for email marketing have become a staple of businesses worldwide. Why? Because it’s effective and doesn’t cost anything except the time it takes to develop and send the email. With the right software, you can automatically produce a series of newsletters based on members’ needs. The best part is that you can send email content that’s targeted and customized. Various email newsletter templates can be found online to get you started.
Pro Tip: Make sure the subject line is catchy and creative and you’re not making any of these common email marketing mistakes so that members open the email.
2. Educational Seminars
The use of educational seminars for marketing should be stable in the marketing strategy of every Chamber of Commerce. It’s because most members join exclusively to learn what they don’t know to stay in compliance with regulations and learn ways to grow their business. Therefore, weekly educational seminars should be held so members know they can always gain value from their Chamber of Commerce membership. This includes educational opportunities in accounting, leadership, human resources, business licensing, and many other topics.
3. Social Media Engagement
Increasing engagement on social media is critical because building a robust online community can attract more members. You can provide useful information through social media engagement and drive potential members to the Chamber of Commerce website. Social media engagement isn’t just about the number of followers you can get or the number of likes you can curate; it’s about how many people are genuinely engaged through comments and other communications. This means you’ll have to post on your chosen social media platforms with some frequency.
Given the busy schedules of most professionals, a webinar is often a preferred way to receive training. Hosting a webinar to promote the services the Chamber of Commerce provides is a great way to get the attention of potential members. You provide them with an example of what they can gain by becoming a member.
5. Blog Articles
Blogging is one of the best ways to promote any business. For a Chamber of Commerce, writing relevant and valuable articles, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and other marketing requirements is important. You can keep readers returning to the website with tips on achieving business success.
6. Networking Events
Frequent networking events should be held to attract new members to the Chamber of Commerce. Whether it’s an event held in person or virtually, members should be able to connect with other professionals because it adds value to their business.
7. Member Business Card Drawing
Everyone enjoys winning something for free. A great Chamber of Commerce marketing tool has a business card drawing for a service or product that’s highly beneficial. For instance, you can give away free consulting services on a topic of interest.
When you provide members with what they need, you’re more likely to keep their attention. The tips are win-win solutions for the Chamber of Commerce and its members.