Making your Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Membership Work for You
Optimum Participation, Optimum Results
Did you know that research demonstrates the following:
- Many businesses are not taking full advantage of their Chamber of Commerce membership and losing sales leads and brand awareness as a result.
- Six benefits of Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce membership are often forgotten but have the power to create additional sales revenue for your business.
Many business owners join the Chamber of Commerce because they recognize that their customers associate Chamber affiliation with ethics, professionalism, and commitment to the community. One study on consumer preferences found that 63% of consumers prefer to shop and do business with Chamber members, so it is no surprise that business owners gladly pay membership dues and place the chamber logo on their websites and front doors. But many of these businesses are not taking advantage of opportunities to increase sales and brand awareness. Yes, their Chamber membership boosts their credibility in consumers' eyes, but a Chamber membership potentially offers much, much more.
Here are six ways business owners can derive value from their Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce membership:
1. Get on the Chilliwack Chamber's website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
One of the very first challenges new business owners face is quickly spreading the word about their venture. Did you know that the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce offers our members space on the Chamber's website for a nominal fee? Aligning your company with the Chamber website is a strategic move that allows you to share in the large number of community visits it generates.
The Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce membership includes your own online directory listing, hard copy directory listing, and now available, a VIP enhanced directory profile page on the Chamber website. Patti MacAhonic, executive director, says, "Our members frequently use their online profile page on the Chamber's website to give their customers a convenient point of reference to learn more about the services they offer. With our new systems in place, members can post coupons, share company news, and communicate with our community at large through their profile page."
2. Let the Chilliwack Chamber promote your news
Most "how to" articles regarding free publicity tell you to develop relationships with local reporters so that they will publish news about your company. At the Chamber, no such effort is needed. One of its services is publishing news about its members’ companies and promoting their events—on its website, in a weekly email, or in a newsletter. Inform the Chamber of what's new at your company.
3. Demonstrate your industry expertise in writing
An even better way of using print to get in front of potential sales leads is to write an article that other business owners will find useful and relevant. At the Chilliwack Chamber we are very willing to post well-written articles submitted by members in our newsletter, on our website, in our monthly and quarterly media publications or in our LinkedIn group.
"We've found that members who provide educational content are able to promote themselves as experts instead of salespersons," says Taylor Aspouris, Sauder Business School student, who has worked for the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce in marketing and events. "Readers can contact them for their expert advice, which then becomes a very easy sales lead to convert."
Ask us for guidance on what is an appropriate format and then take the time to write a professional article that adds value to other members' businesses.
4. Talk about your business
The Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce provides many opportunities for members to give presentations that introduce themselves and their businesses to fellow members and the community.
Speaking formats vary from one-minute "info-commercials" you give about your business to 30-minute presentations at ‘Lunch and Learns”, “Business Visits” or booth space at our bi-annual FV Business Showcase or annual Business Conference. These opportunities allow you to provide in-depth information about your company. Other opportunities can include serving on expert panels at seminars or committees.
One of the benefits of these speaking opportunities is that they are in front of "safe" audiences. That means the room is full of people just like you, and they will be supportive. As businesspeople, they appreciate the pressure of giving a presentation, and they understand that everyone is there to network and advertise their services. Jessica Bishop, who assists members in arranging these opportunities says, “I very much enjoy seeing members gain confidence and real connections through these opportunities, it is part of what makes my job so worthwhile.”
5. Host an after-hours Chamber Connections event
You spend a large part of your day chasing down sales leads. Why not entice them to come right to your front door? Hosting an after-hours chamber networking event is an excellent way to attract throngs of potential sales leads right to your own location. After-hours Connections functions are typically more social than strictly sales-oriented daytime events, but the acquaintances you make can be invaluable.
Don't have adequate space for guests or you work out of a home office? Not a problem. Many small businesses partner with another Chamber member to host after-hours gatherings. That still gives you the desirable host privileges. Hosts of after-hours networking typically get advertising signage, recognition by the chamber, and an opportunity to address attendees directly and share some information about their company.
6. Become involved in premier Chamber events that provide high visibility in the community
Attach your business name to the annual Business Excellence Awards and/or Business Conference through sponsorship. These events are high profile in the community at large. Having you business name visibly attached in the form of sponsorship gets you in the ‘public eye’ for a prolonged period through many advertising venues. Be seen as a vital part of the vibrant business community of Chilliwack.