There are many benefits associated with belonging to a Chamber of Commerce. The underlying mission of a Chamber of Commerce is to drive economic growth in a community by supporting local businesses. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this goal with great success, while overcoming the challenges faced in the industry. The information below sheds light on these challenges and marketing ideas that can yield a high return on the investment made by the Chamber of Commerce 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 associated with being a member. When membership starts to drop off, sometimes it’s because needs were 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 a good way to make data-driven decisions as opposed to decisions based on assumptions. The bottom line is that you can’t meet the needs of members if you don’t know what they are.
2. Cost of Marketing
Depending on the methods used, the cost of marketing can become problematic for the local Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately, there are many ways to market the services offered and not all of them are costly. There are a number of free marketing ideas that 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 Outdated Member Information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 the 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 made 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, it’s important to ensure the event is worth their time and fits within their schedule. This is easier said than done, especially when it comes to ensuring meetings and events are meaningful and beneficial. They should also be brief and have a clear agenda that’s provided in advance. When it comes to attracting busy entrepreneurs and business owners, you must value their time.
5. Limited Communication
Just like any other organization, communication is critical for every Chamber of Commerce. Many experience the challenge of limited communication with their members, which results in an “out of sight, out of mind” situation. Communicating with members on a consistent basis doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, some of the marketing ideas listed below will provide you with 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 on a daily basis. 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:
The use of newsletters for email marketing has become a staple of businesses around the world. Why? Because it’s effective and doesn’t cost anything, with the exception of the time it takes to develop and send the email. With the right software, you can produce a series of newsletters that are sent automatically based on the needs of members. The best part is that you can send email content that’s targeted and customized. There are a variety of email newsletter templates that can be found online to get you started.
Pro Tip: Make sure the subject like is catchy and creative, and you’re not making any of these common email marketing mistakes, so that members actually open the email.
2. Educational Seminars
The use of educational seminars for the purpose of marketing should be a stable in the marketing strategy of every Chamber of Commerce. It’s because most members join exclusively for the purpose of learning what they don’t know in an effort to stay in compliance with regulations and learn ways to grow their business. In fact, educational seminars should be held on a weekly basis so that members know they can always gain value from their Chamber of Commerce membership. This includes educational opportunities on accounting, leadership, human resources, business licensing and many other topics.
Increasing engagement on social media is important because building a strong online community can attract more members. Through social media engagement, you can provide information that’s useful and drives 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 truly engaged through comments and other communications. This means you’ll have to post on your chosen social media platforms with some level of 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 provided by the Chamber of Commerce is a great way to get the attention of potential members. You are essentially providing 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. When doing so for a Chamber of Commerce, it’s important to write articles that are relevant and useful, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and other marketing requirements. You can keep readers coming back to the website with tips on how to achieve success in business.
6. Networking Events
It almost goes without saying that frequent networking events should be held to attract new members to the Chamber of Commerce. Whether it’s an event that’s 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 is having 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 what they need, you’re more likely to keep their attention. The tips provided are win-win solutions for both the Chamber of Commerce and its members.