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.