Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Ways a Chamber Membership Can Balance Out Seasonal Business


If your business is seasonal, it probably feels a lot like feast or famine. You may love your seasonal crowds but hate the fear you won’t last long enough to see your next one. Seasonal businesses or businesses in towns with a seasonal draw struggle with year-round consistent revenue. While you might not ever achieve revenue equality throughout every month, a chamber membership can help you see a little steadier monthly income. Here’s how:

1.    A Chamber Is Often the First Place Visitors Stop

Many visitors are conditioned to stop in at the chamber or the visitor’s bureau for information. While a chamber may answer questions about all businesses, it gives preference to its members. Being a chamber member can cause you to make the short list when the chamber staff are asked to give recommendations.

 

2.    They Host Cash Mobs

Chambers often host cash mobs for members. A cash mob is an event where the chamber invites people to visit a business on a pre-arranged day. Those patrons agree to spend a set amount of money (or more) at the business. Sometimes the event takes the shape of a lunch mob for a restaurant.
The chamber always informs the business ahead of time and some business owner choose to offer specials for the mob. They’re a lot of fun, particularly when the location is kept secret until a few days or even hours before the event. It’s a terrific way to get people to try a business or to help a business that is struggling in the off season.

3.    They Provide Learning Opportunities

If you can’t balance out the monthly revenue, you can use your quieter times for additional learning that will improve your business. One of the first places you should look is your local chamber. They provide inexpensive (and sometimes free) learning for members on topics of interest, anything from social media to email marketing.
Learning more about these things can help you balance out your sales by bringing in more customers or expanding outside of your area. A ski town business may not make much in sales in May but if they can sell their products outside of the town through the Internet and digital marketing, they can flatten out those dips in revenue.

4.    The Chamber Markets Year-Round

The chamber is working to bring tourists to your area and improve the economy year-round not just in your high seasons. They are often assisting local businesses to find new angles to approach shoppers and visitors. Being a member of the chamber not only gets you referrals and featured in their business directories and lists but it also gives you a say in the direction they are taking. Your business voice can be heard as a member of the chamber.

5.    They Attract Industry

Chambers also work hard with economic development partners to bring large businesses to town. This means more jobs and skilled labor. Both things could equate to more business for you during the off season. When the number of inhabitants of your town increases, the number of potential customers for your business does too.
It can be difficult to make it through the slow seasons if you’re a seasonal business or a town with a busy season. Joining the chamber can provide you with many opportunities to help level out those revenue valleys. A chamber membership is a small price to pay to know it will help your business make it through another season.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.





Monday, July 10, 2017

5 Ways Your Customers Win with You as a Chamber Member


A Chamber membership is an investment in your business. As an investment, you undoubtedly expect a return. While it’s easy to look at what you paid for membership and how many new customers were sent you way through the chamber and calculate your return that way, there’s more to it than just that. For instance, did you know that your customers receive multiple benefits from you being a chamber member and those benefits can increase their loyalty? Here are 5 examples of how they win with your Chamber membership:

1.    You’re in the Know

When you’re a member of the chamber you know what’s going on in the business community. You can pass this information along to your customers and look like a hero. For instance, let’s say you own a bakery. Your customer comes in for her morning coffee discouraged that she can’t find a job. As a chamber member, you’re plugged into the businesses that are hiring. You not only tell her about the position but you’re able to give her a referral to the owner who you know through the chamber. You’re helping both her and him and they both love you for it.

 

2.    You Have Inside Knowledge (and Tickets) for Events

Chambers host some of the best events in town. As a member, you may be able to purchase tickets earlier or bring an interested guest. Again, you come off looking like a rock star to your customer or vendor.

3.    You Know About Legislative Initiatives

The chamber is busy working behind the scenes for all businesses in your area. But most people don’t know what the chamber is lobbying for. If you’re a member of the chamber, you not only know but you can share that information with your customers as it may apply to their businesses as well.

4.    You Become a Resource

If you use your chamber membership to become a resource for your customers and share that information with them, you become very important to them. Not only does this make them like and trust you but it also makes you invaluable as they begin to know you as someone who is plugged in. You become a connector in the community and someone they patronize to get the inside scoop. This type of standing is much harder for your competitors to replicate and will make your customers more loyal. Loyal customers are long-time customers which means more sales.

5.    You Hire the Best

Earlier, I mentioned as a chamber member you know who’s hiring. But there’s another employment benefit to you being part of the chamber. You can find very skilled professionals for your business. As a chamber member, you get to meet a wide variety of people and expand not only your sales networking but your career network as well. You also have an entry to the hidden job market, those valued employees who aren’t actively looking for work.

A Chamber membership is an investment in your business but there’s more behind it than simply what you pay out versus how many customers are referred to you. The Chamber offers many benefits to your business, the least of which is helping you establish yourself as a resource in the community and that improves your visibility and customer loyalty.
And those things are invaluable.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Take Advantage Of Your Chamber Membership

You’re Out More Than the Cost of Dues If You’re Not Using Your Chamber Membership


It’s obvious to mention that you’re losing money if you’re not using your chamber membership, but it’s more than just being out the membership dues. If you’re not using your membership to its fullest, you are losing potential customers, revenue, and you’re out significant cost savings. Here’s what you’re not taking advantage of:

Member to Member Discounts

These discounts are exclusively offered by members for members. The chamber works with businesses to bring savings to its members with exclusive deals. Depending on your spending, you could recoup a sizable portion of your dues with this program.
Even if you’re not interested in saving money, being a part of this program will also expose your business to members and discounts could bring you new customers that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This not only brings in new revenue on whatever they spend, but they also may tell friends and family and may return to your business in the future.

The Sticker on the Door

If you have a brick and mortar space and a chamber membership, you likely have some sort of physical designation of your membership. In today’s world where “know, like, and trust” is essential to getting more customers, that designation helps you establish trust before the potential customer has any interaction with your business. The same can be done through an icon on your website.
People often view chamber membership in the same light as a listing on the better business bureau. Their confusion can be a boon to our business. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t trust and that designation helps illustrate your dedication to the community, which makes you trustworthy.

Membership Directory or Town Map

The chamber has a local membership directory and maybe even a town map that provides free, or very low-cost, advertising. These resources are used by citizens, visitors, and those new to town. These lists are smaller than a phone book so you get more exposure. You can upgrade to be featured to get even more views. Your chamber can tell you what their readership or web hits are for their directory but it’s not uncommon for chamber web traffic to be quite large each month because the chambers is widely recognized as the local resource for business.
Being seen by people in a small segmented list, means more customers and you don’t want to miss out on being part of the community list.

Social Media Followers and Connections

The chamber provides its members with exposure on its social media channels. Often the following of these pages is quite large, even in small towns. Being a member means an expanded audience that you don’t have to pay for by buying followers. They’re also more likely to be engaged with you because they are people you know.
If you’re not a member, you’re missing out on this nearly free exposure. Exposure and engagement can bring new customers to your business.

Discounted Business Tools and Services

Are you interested in the latest tools to grow your business? Look online. What will that kind of learning cost you? The chamber provides very low-cost learning sessions and best practices to its members. It may also provide space or copier services for less than it would cost you to get a larger office (or an office in the first place) or rent a copier.
Businesses succeed when they grow “smart.” If you want to expand but aren’t quite in the place to move to a larger office, go to that social media conference, or purchase the office equipment, a chamber can fill those gaps for you and still allow you to grow. Or you could continue at the level you are and miss out on that additional revenue.
The chamber can provide you so much for a very small dues payment. But it’s not just the dues payment you’re out when you don’t use the membership to the fullest. It’s all the additional revenue you can generate through participation. Are you willing to throw that away?

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.