How can Local Chambers Better Educate and Grow Members Online

With the continuous growth of the Internet, every local chamber of commerce has the opportunity to connect and lead its communities, businesses and professionals in a more efficient and engaging manner. Here are a few tips that could apply to any chamber looking to better harness the power of the web to educate and grow their members.

  • Offer Clear and Compelling Calls to Action

    One of the main goals of a local chamber's website is to provide valuable resources for its current and potential members, such as up-to-date reports, statistics and news, events and workshops, business directories, and more. Each page of your website should allow your visitors to answer the question "what now?" Site users should be directed to easy-to-find calls to action, such as: "download a report", "sign up for membership", "submit an event", "reserve your seat for the luncheon", "download a list of our members", and more.
  • Showcase your Members' Stories Interactively

    Your website tells both your and your members' stories. Instead of simply listing your members' names online, it's crucial to present their success and news stories in a dynamic and interactive way. This information can be delivered as a blog post, a video, or a photo slideshow with sharing tools available for your members and visitors.
  • Reach Potential Members through Search Engines

    No matter how beautiful and user-friendly your website is, it won't be successful if your potential members can't find it. Try searching for your core focus in Google, Bing or Yahoo and see whether and where your website appears in the results. If your rankings are low, the first step is to use Google Keyword Tool to help identify the keywords your audience is searching for. Then embed these phrases in your page titles, meta-descriptions and headings. In addition, site architecture, content, and links from other sites are critical in achieving strong results. Don't forget that you help your members improve their search engine success when you link to their websites for your chamber site.
  • Extend your Education via Social Media and Email Marketing

    It's important for local chambers of commerce to engage their members and keep them educated and informed. Social media and email marketing can play a key role by fostering instant, relevant communication. Integrate email subscription forms and social media links on your website, and place them in a prominent position. Keep the look and feel of your email templates and social media platforms consistent with your website by utilizing similar brand color, themes, and layout. Last but not least, content is always the king. Assigning one or two internal staff members to your email marketing and social media efforts will help you offer high quality and fresh content to your communities and members. Messages need to be timely, consistent and relevant to make a positive impact.

This article was first published on WMC E-Newsletter to local chambers.

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