Ahhh the honeymoon, when members are new and filled with dreams of how extraordinary membership will be. It’s an ideal time for the new member welcome packet to shine.
It goes a long way because you have their attention. They’ve just given you money and they are looking for a return on their investment. It’s the ideal time to start building (or continue building) a long, loyal relationship.
But what goes in this “Wow them now” packet? We’ve got a list of great ideas that will make the best impression from the beginning.
The welcome packet is part of the overall onboarding process. It’s that neat little (or big) physical package. Pixels can contain value, but the physical world still makes for a more tangible impression. Information marketers called that sound of a great big product hitting your desk as the “thud factor.” It just feels more valuable.
Yes, email communication is an essential component of a chamber member onboarding program. It’s a great way to give a new member a little bit of information at a time, something they can digest and implement, and not feel overwhelmed by. After all, you don’t want to deluge them with info and leave them feeling like they are drinking out of a fire hose.
But when it comes to the welcome “package,” it’s a time for gifts, highlighting the value of the investment they’ve just made and overall making them feel welcome.
For those occasions, many chambers use chamber or new member packets/swag bags. There are options from inexpensive to high-dollar, but some are even non-dues revenue opportunities for the chamber.
Let’s explore what chambers should be doing as part of the new member welcome packet, as well as best practices and what you should avoid.
Ideas for the Chamber New Member Welcome Packet
Keep in mind that while you can create a non-dues revenue stream from businesses that want their swag included in your new member welcome packet, you don’t want to water down the value of what you’re giving these new members.
Here are some suggestions that will put smiles on new members’ faces and/or be valued as good resources for them. (Note: these items are a compilation of what some chambers are doing. This is not a complete list where you need to include each one of these items for the best packet.)
- A personal note of welcome. You’ll welcome them in many ways but there’s something special about a handwritten note card.
- The chamber printed directory. Help them get to know and patronize other members. It also serves to make them feel a part of something much larger than their own business. (Included in the Stayton Sublimity Chamber of Commerce’s Potential Member Packet.)
Image courtesy of Izzy West via Pinterest
- A sponsorship/marketing opportunities brochure. This is a good way for the new business to see what the chamber offers and how they can begin to think about ways to leverage and gain exposure through the chamber.
- Chamber swag. An item they can keep on their desk that provides quick access to the chamber contact information is handy.
- Coupons or discount cards for member businesses.
- An appealing visual (infographic, wheel, or other eye-catching design) detailing chamber benefits. This is not a list of everything they get. Instead, this should be a nice visual representation to get them excited about what the chamber has to offer. Ideally, it would be customized to appeal to what they’re looking for from membership.
- 2 free tickets to the business breakfast or a paid event (shared by the Calloway Chamber of Commerce).
- Ribbon cutting form or information (shared by the Calloway Chamber of Commerce).
- Business networking and/or Business After Hours schedule (shared by the Calloway Chamber of Commerce).
- A pen and notebook that reads Proud Chamber Member (shared by the Calloway Chamber of Commerce).
- Membership plaque in a frame or window cling.
- Swag from local businesses. Again, this could become an in-kind donation or a paid sponsorship to be included.
- QR code to the event calendar or an FAQ section.
- New businesses can be given a list of City or local resources necessary to opening a business in town. This should be a customized add, not one that everyone receives.
- An infographic of the benefits most chamber members experience using data. Such as “79% of our members find a valued mentor or friend as part of their participation here” or “63% of members saved more than $100 last year as part of our member-to-member deals.”
This can all be presented in a reusable tote that can be paid for through sponsorships or an in-kind donation. This is an easy sponsorship item that can be added to your top tiers or stand-along. While you’re at it, print a few extra and create a new resident welcome program, such as this one from the Pleasant Grove – Lindon Chamber of Commerce.
No matter what the contents of your new member packet, the goals are simple:
- To make the new member feel welcome
- Provide materials that are valuable, setting the tone for your relationship
- Provide them with things to do the way a good host would meet a party goer and show them around
When New Member Packets Aren’t the Solution
Some chambers have stopped using new member packets because the content items mainly ended up in the trash. Others have given it up for environmentally-friendly reasons of not wanting to provide more “stuff.”
If you decide a new member packet isn’t for your chamber, do not miss out on this valuable new member honeymoon time.
Make sure you provide an email onboarding campaign to welcome them and detail next steps for how they can begin seeing results from membership. This is important even if you have a new member breakfast or welcome event. Chances are, they will be so overwhelmed by the event and the new people they are meeting, they may not remember everything that is presented.
An email nurture campaign will give them digestible pieces and actionable items to see more immediate results. Keeping the promise of what they expect from membership is the beginning of a solid foundation and that’s what you want.
You may also want to explore other ways to make connections with new members such as a digital welcome packet or a special webpage dedicated to new member needs.
You could schedule a visit (or a drop in) from an ambassador with a membership a plaque, a call from a chamber staffer to welcome them and answer questions they may have forgotten to ask or answer questions that may have come up once they attended the welcome meeting.
A Final Consideration for New Member Welcome Packets
In addition to choosing a physical packet or one online, you’ll want to be sure to set aside some time to review the packet and ensure it always has the most up-to-date information.
While onboarding isn’t the first part of the relationship between you and your new member, it is one of the most critical times. This time could be the difference between solidifying a strong relationship or leaving someone feeling cold. Use new member time wisely and continue touch points into the future for the best possible outcomes.