A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
Just had lunch with my boss and started talking about members signing up online – any chambers out there had success in this area? What worked well for you? Thanks!
If you’re going to allow members to sign up online you need to do two things (besides having a method/application form with which to do so).
2 Things Chambers Need for Online Membership Applications
First, you need all of the relevant information about your chamber, membership structure, benefits, etc., online. While I could, as a potential member, call in for this information and then join online, most likely those who join are going to do so without contacting you.
Accepting online applications for chamber membership appeals to younger business owners. Gen Xrs, and more so Gen Ys, prefer electronic forms of communication.
If your chamber is providing the potential member with the information needed to make a decision, they will do so without coming into your office. They might be making the decision on non-business hours or they may not feel like they can spare the time for a conversation or visit.
It also shows the potential member you are a progressive organization, which is appealing to these generations as well.
Second, you need a communication plan to reach out to these new members almost immediately. While it’s very easy to join online, those who do so do not have the welcome of a smile or a voice so make sure you reach out to them as soon as possible. You may even consider an email campaign to stay in touch with these folks to get them actively involved quickly.
As chambers continue to present information in the ways most appealing to their members and potential members, accepting online memberships makes sense. It allows potential members to sign up when they’re thinking about it. If they’ve been mulling it over, they don’t have to wait until 8 or 9 to speak with someone at your chamber. They can join when it’s right for them.
Are you using online sign-ups?
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by CollegeDegrees360