A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
How many business categories do you allow your members? Do you charge for additional? In our annual printed community guide we allow one, and up to two extra for $20 each. But our online directory appears to be unlimited. Looking for some best practices here.
Should You Charge for Additional Categories in a Member Directory?
Finding the right balance between having a valuable directory and getting revenue from the upcharge of additional categories takes some understanding of your member businesses and community. Allowing for too many categories, when your member businesses are fairly straightforward, will leave you directory looking thin with 1-2 entries under each category. Fewer categories, will boost the numbers in each category.
Another idea is to have several broad categories with more defined subcategories but again you don’t want to have so many that each one looks light.
Many times online directories are unlimited because more space is available and search features make it easier to locate the business of your choice.
If you have too many categories in a printed directory, the directory becomes cumbersome and hard to use. Do you look for a marketing writer under a Writer business category or a Marketing one? With an online directory an answer to that question will take you seconds. With a printed one there can be many pages between M for Marketing and W for Writer. Plus it’s hard for your members to decide how to be listed if the choice is too vast.
The chambers that charged for extras usually allowed for 1-2 categories in print for free and charged $25-$50 for additional categories.
One chamber professional said his chamber allowed for two categories included with basic membership. However, higher membership tiers allow for a larger number of categories. This is a great idea to help those who need multiple listings, select a higher tier. (Of course that can’t be the sole reason they would upgrade – unless your business directory gets the traffic of Google.)
What are your chamber’s best practices for limiting categories and the amount of times a member can be listed? Share your chamber’s best practices.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey