Creating a successful chamber ambassador’s program is now more important than ever. An ambassador’s program is an example of referral marketing at its best. As a chamber professional, you can talk about how great your chamber is all day long but when a business owner hears why it’s important for him/her to join from another business owner in the community, it’s worth so much more.
A member of the Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
Who has a successful ambassadors program? I’ve just had some high profile folks leave the board on good terms and want to stay involved. Also a few others who have been around a while that want ways to help the chamber that could support in this effort. Other thoughts and ideas about ambassador committees/programs welcome. Thanks!
If you have some folks already in mind, you’re fortunate. If not, here are some things to consider when creating a chamber ambassador’s group:
Appealing to Vanity Yields Action
Creating an air of exclusivity for your ambassadors is essential. This is a position of great esteem in which they were hand-selected to represent you. You need to go beyond making them feel valued. They must feel invaluable to you and the chamber. If they feel their importance to you, they will (feel obligated to) sing your praises. They are doing valuable work for you. Make sure they feel it.
They are Unique; Promote them as Such
Your ambassadors are important and you know it. Give them a way to stand out in your community. Beth Bridges and the Clovis Chamber of Commerce gives its ambassadors stickers for business cards. Name tags accomplish the same thing. Find some way to differentiate them from your average member. This will promote them as a go-to person for the rest of the community.
Yes, your chamber ambassadors are special but if your don’t let them know what you need from them, you may be underwhelmed. Give them the tools they need to be able to recruit for you. Let them know that they are the face of the chamber. If you expect them to be at ribbon cuttings tell them this. If there are chamber social media expectations, let them know this. While you don’t have to communicate each step they should take as an ambassador, letting them know what your general expectations are is the best way to help them meet them.
A chamber ambassador is a walking testimonial to the good your chamber does within the community. The fact that they are part of the existing business community first, and a member second, allows them to recruit for your chamber in a more subtle, appealing way. Taking time to get your ambassadors program set up and thriving will benefit you well into the future.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Bird Eye