The new year is the perfect time to change things up in how you market and communicate your chamber of commerce content and resources for your members by adding easy-to-build content to your website.
Wondering how you’re going to do this? We understand! You barely have the time to do what’s in your job description, much less rework your chamber website and member benefits.
Don’t worry, we have you covered in this article.
We’ve compiled a list of resources and benefits that your members already need or are thinking about. Take a look at these questions and needs, then consider how you can provide that to your members. It saves you time and effort because the demand is already there, you just need to provide or direct them to your corresponding chamber of commerce content.
Here’s how to provide content from easiest to more complicated:
- Post links to existing content available elsewhere in your community.
There’s no reason to recreate something that already exists, especially if it changes frequently (such as COVID updates).
- Gather related existing resources (from your site and/or others) in one central location.
For example, a page on How to Start a Business in your community.
- Repackage your existing content in a way that is more user friendly or accessible.
For example, creating a simple PDF document, video or infographic based on your in-person new member onboarding.
- Create new content based on needs.
Again, don’t worry. As you can see from this list, you don’t need to create new content for every resource you want to offer. Often, the most efficient way to present it is through existing channels.
However, don’t be tempted to say “the City handles that” and move onto the next topic. If you want to become a go-to resource for business, links are very effective.
If someone is on your site looking for something, you don’t want them to leave frustrated. Providing a link (while it will eventually take them off your site) will instill in them that you are a first stop for all their business needs
Whenever possible, look for content and information on your sponsors’ sites that could provide helpful information on the topic (just be careful that you don’t link to overly salesy content).
One of the best chamber of commerce benefits you can offer is to save your members time and effort.
Your Chamber of Commerce Content Must Match the Resources Your Members Are Looking For
What kind of content are your members looking for? Information and resources that can help your members be more successful. When you provide it, they will begin to see you as the place to go for their business needs.
Again, you don’t need to create all of this from scratch. Use the resources available in your community to build a robust collection of information and help. Then market your resources and encourage people to share them.
Business and community visitors to your site are looking for:
- How to start a business in your community. List the steps to creating a business. Include a section on different ways to register your business and why you might choose each. You may have a member/sponsor that helps with this and you could link to content on their site. Don’t forget taxes, licenses, permits, and zoning that are specific to your community or state. Assume the person reading the information knows nothing about doing business in your area. Add sections and resource links on help available to minorities, women-owned, and veteran businesses. Info or links on how to write a business plan, become a federal contractor, or things you need to know to buy a franchise can be helpful as well.
- Funding. Grants and other forms of funding (such as loans) are a big deal right now, but the process can be overwhelming. You can help by curating links and lists of important information on what they are, how to procure them, and deadlines to apply.
- Certificates of Origin. Explain how to get one and the costs involved.
- COVID. Enough said about this one. Maintaining updates could be a full-time job these days. That’s why many chambers have created a resource section that links to specific government mandates, advice, etc.
- Home-based business or work-from-home resources. If you have several home-based business members you could create a special section for those who are hiring or expanding. Work-from-home resources may include local businesses that are currently hiring as well as information on ergonomic set ups, organizational and productivity aids, as well as members who can help with home office set ups.
- Social media. There are a lot of people who need help here. After all, social media for business is not the same as personal posting. Create a list of best practices, ways they can get involved with you, and how connect on social.
- Relocation or visitor information. Even if your area has a CVB or visitor’s center, there are many people who think the chamber should be the first spot they stop when requesting information on an area. (They’re not wrong.) There are many ways you can organize this information from magazine style layouts to interest-specific guidance. Check out the resources on the Dallas Regional Chamber’s page.
- Chamber marketing and/or membership opportunities. Your members (and potential members) don’t want to see a list of every way they can pay you marketing dollars or every single benefit you offer. Instead, break marketing opportunities or member benefits down in a digestible fashion. Some chambers organize by goals or stage of business such as exposure, reputation building, etc. Take a look at how the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce emphasizes the “fit” behind every member benefit (see screenshot below).
When creating or curating your chamber of commerce content, resources and website organization is important.
Don’t hesitate to link to web pages (yours or others). They’re free and information will overlap. For instance, you may want to add a link to your information for home-based businesses under your How to Start a Business Page.
On each of your pages, think about what a visitor to that page may need or wonder about. Then add helpful links or buttons to ensure they can find the info they want in an efficient way.
If you do, they’ll return. If you’re seen as a business resource, it will improve retention and membership sales, increase your reputation as the voice of business with the local media, and become a tool for people moving into the area. All of these things will also increase web traffic, which will make you more appealing to sponsors and advertisers, not to mention Google and other search engines.
If you feel like you don’t have time to dedicate to your chamber of commerce content, think again. It has ripple effects throughout your entire chamber. Content curation, creation, and organization offer the kind of return on investment that you might not see, but will definitely feel in the long run and every time someone tells you how helpful your site is.
That’s a great feeling, and potentially, a lucrative one.