The Benefits of Joining Your Local Chamber of Commerce

Not to be confused with the Better Business Bureau, which represents the interests of both consumers and businesses alike, the Chamber of Commerce solely represents the interests of business owners.  Today there are thousands of these organizations all across the U.S., all of them focused in one way or another on promoting any number of pro-business initiatives.

Today’s Chamber of Commerce organizations range from the all-encompassing and nationwide U.S. Chamber of Commerce all the way down to the state, regional and local levels.  The exact nature and extent of the activity undertaken by the Chamber then varies in accordance with the level at which it operates.

For instance, local Chambers of Commerce are focused on bringing their own business community together in ways that will foster their members’ own growth and support for one another. In many cases, that means working with local government representatives, such as the mayor, the city council and other local representatives to ensure the voices of the Chamber’s actively engaged entrepreneurs and other business owners are heard and that their needs are being met.

Becoming a Local Chamber of Commerce Member

Okay, so it sounds like a no-brainer that any small business owner should get on board, join up and join in, at the very least where the local Chamber of Commerce is concerned, but not so fast!

Before you do, you need to understand going in that becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce will cost you some money.  That’s right, paying dues of some kind is required.  And while those dues will constitute a tax write off for you and your business, given that joining the Chamber isn’t free, it begs the question: “Is it worth it?”

We’ll get to that in a bit.

For now, just know that conducting a straightforward cost-benefit analysis is only part of the equation when it comes to making this decision.  It’s also important to understand that getting the best return on your investment will require something you may already believe you don’t have enough of these days…time.  Joining the local Chamber if you’re not going to take the time required to become an active member is probably not going to pay off much for you, certainly not in the long term.

Yes, joining your local Chamber of Commerce is essentially about your own business’ growth, that’s for certain, not just initially but well into the future.  It’s also about building relationships over time that will take time, but that will also have a tremendous positive impact on your professional and personal growth, as well as that of your surrounding community.

Chamber of Commerce Membership: Benefits from the Consumer Perspective

When it comes to describing the benefits of doing anything, there’s a tendency to rely on what would be considered more anecdotal evidence, especially where there’s been little research conducted or a lack of more scientifically driven information is available.

Thankfully that’s not the case when it comes to understanding the value of joining a local Chamber of Commerce from a consumer and customer relations standpoint.  On this subject, the findings are pretty clear.

In fact, a recent study designed to measure consumer perspectives on this topic yielded some pretty impressive numbers for building a persuasive argument as to why businesses and companies that don’t join their local Chamber may be doing themselves a tremendous disservice.  It was conducted by The Schapiro Group and Market Street Services using a scientific web-based survey of 2,000 adults across the country.

First among the most telling results?  When consumers know that a small business is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce, they are 44% more likely to think favorably of it, and they’re a full 63% more likely to purchase goods or services from that company in the future.

Talk about brand awareness and image enhancement!

Additionally, a high level of involvement in the local Chamber by a business grants it a certain level of trustworthiness and a competitive edge in the local marketplace. In fact, those businesses are automatically perceived by many to be industry leaders.

Furthermore, Chamber membership confers a higher level of distinction on certain types of businesses in particular, including restaurants and insurance companies.  And it results in all companies being more highly perceived as users of good business practices, reputable, caring about their customers and being more involved in their communities overall.

Chamber of Commerce Membership: Benefits from the Business Owner Perspective

So we’ve pretty much established that joining the local Chamber of Commerce carries a certain level of cachet where consumers’ perceptions are concerned.  And that alone is a great reason to get involved, no question.

But remember those more “anecdotal” benefits we referred to earlier?  They’re every bit if not more important to you as a small business owner because they represent the nuts and bolts of how your joining the local Chamber can yield measurable and positive results for you and your specific business over time.

Here they are:

Promotions and publicity—Many local Chambers run programs that offer promotional materials, events and activities to welcome new residents and businesses to the area, ensuring that your business is front and center and ahead of the local competition with this very valuable target audience.  Additionally, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) advertising and publicity opportunities are oftentimes available to members exclusively, and mailing list access alone could be worth its weight in gold.

Networking—While today’s technology and the ability to network online may have you wondering if the local Chamber of Commerce way of doing business in person is obsolete, think again.  There’s still nothing as strong as face-to-face communication where building trust, respect and name recognition is concerned…nothing.  And it’s only through building that level of relationship over time that you are likely to acquire customer referrals and find the most suitable vendors, consultants and distributors you need to help you grow your small business long-term.

Mentoring—We’ve talked a lot in these pages about the incredible benefit of having a mentor when you are starting or trying to grow your own small business, and the local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to find one.  It’s also a great place for you as an established small business owner or entrepreneur to offer your services to an up and comer in this regard.  Nothing pays you back like paying it forward, and mentoring is no exception to that rule.

Events and programs—The local Chamber of Commerce will likely facilitate a whole host of activities and events over the course of a given year, each designed to help you as a small business owner to either get to know your peers, your competition or your customers that much better.  These kinds of programs provide tremendous business opportunities for people to get to know one another and expand their prospect base and generate great leads.

Members-only discounts and services—Oftentimes, local Chambers of Commerce will negotiate deals with companies and businesses that provide the products and services that businesses need most, such as phone and internet service, computer hardware and software or other vendor products and services.  And don’t forget health care insurance access.  These discounts alone can mean hundreds of dollars in savings to the small business owner in particular, making the cost of dues almost negligible by comparison.

Government access and impact—Because the local Chamber of Commerce speaks with a united voice, one very much in favor of business interests, members are more likely to have an impact on government decision-making as part of a larger body than they would on their own.  Additionally, elected officials are much more likely to entertain an audience of concerned local Chamber of Commerce members than they are any one individual business owner, especially if he or she is not representing a very large concern or at the very least a large contributor.

An Office Away from the Office—Small business owners, especially those who work from a small home office, will have a place they can go to congregate with other professionals when and if the need for human interaction and exchange becomes preferable.  Moreover, they can oftentimes use the Chamber’s facilities to host clients and hold meetings, ensuring they have a more professional office environment available to them that may even be available at a moment’s notice.

For More Information:

Looking for more insight on what belonging to your local Chamber of Commerce might mean for you and your business in terms of consumer appeal? We invite you to read more about the study findings referenced in this article at The Real Value of Joining a Local Chamber of Commerce: A Research Study.

If becoming an active member of your local Chamber of Commerce is something you’d like to learn more about, we recommend that you contact that organization directly, and if you’d like more information about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you’ll find it here at

Effective Social Media Marketing Techniques

What is SMM?

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is all about getting more traffic through social media websites. It majors on providing quality content to attract attention and encourage the audience to share this content with others on social media.


Basic Elements of Social Media Marketing Techniques

  1. Business Goals that are achievable, measurable and realistic.
  2. Potential customers
  3. Research
  4. Unique content
  5. Marketing Objectives
  6. Channels


Pros of Social Media Marketing

In 2014, Hubspot revealed that 92% of marketers worldwide referred to social media as significant to their business. 97% of marketers today are engaging in social media.

Here are some of the many benefits of social media marketing:

  1. More website traffic.
  2. Better conversion rates.
  3. Improved customer service.
  4. Gaining customer loyalty.
  5. Increased brand visibility.
  6. No need of incurring advertising costs or setting promotional budgets.
  7. Improved search engine rankings.
  8. Better customer insights.


8 Effective Social Media Marketing Techniques Revealed

1)      Become active across all social media channels – make campaigns that spread across all your networks with trending unique content.

2)      Don’t focus on gaining followers, build a growing community – a community is better because it pays needed attention to what you provide or share.

3)      Boost influencers pride– influencer normally have a large audience at their back and also they are more knowledgeable on their chosen niche. Here are some tips on how to get them looking at you:

  1. Research and create a list of potential influencers.
  2. Engage with their content by sharing it, liking it or even updating it.
  3. Ask them questions about something that has been launched or questions related to their niche – This makes them feel important and good.
  4. Engage in twitter chats – this helps your business grow or branch out more by getting new angles, authority and building robust relationships with influencers in your niche.


4)      Make sure you provide unique trending content– here are some ways to go about this:

– Check out news channels and see what’s new pertaining to your niche.
– Comment on trending content.
– Use Buzzsumo to find great content.
– Search for relevant videos on youtube and share them.

5)      Use effective social media platforms – These include:

  1. Twitter – Did you know that there are about 500 million tweets sent every single day? Definitely someone is bound to engage with you or share your content.
  2. Facebook – Do you know that Facebook has 1.23billion monthly active users? The audience is vast in numbers. Potential customers right at your door step.
  3. Google+ – this is a great social platform for social signals. When you post something on your niche and someone happens to search for something related to that on Google search, your post is likely to be on page one of the search results. Also if you have a large presence on Google+, a snippet of your profile will be revealed when someone searches for your business on Google search.
  4. LinkedIn – This social platform comprises of over 332million users. Best platform for B2B social maeketers.


6)      Make use of Facebook ads – they are fairly cheap and best of all, the audience is extremely targeted showcasing good results or conversions.

7)      Make sure your niche purpose is to solve a problem– normally this gets more conversions.

8)      Provide unique interesting content – again make use of videos and infographics (beautiful informative visual presentations).



Give it time and make sure you follow through the techniques, remember more customers, increased traffic and higher conversions.

Online Marketing Techniques For 2015

Internet marketing is becoming more and more popular. A clean and professional strategy helps to build backbone of your online business. In the world of digitization traditional marketing has shifted with the popular online marketing techniques to reach out potential customers. As, we are in twenty first century, where our world is much advanced with technology, it’s time look forward to the most relevant trends of marketing this year.

Advancements and regular changes in digital marketing techniques are always accelerating and make it hard to keep up for the casual observers. So, let’s review the trends and predictions for 2015.


Mobile Optimization:
Mobile marketing has shown maximum growth rate in the past few years. In 2014, we saw the responsiveness and adaptive features in websites or mobile app. This year is moving beyond the simple mobile friendly websites and app. Apart from these techniques, mobile optimized content and social media marketing has shown significant growth.

Google’s specific emphasis on the mobile-friendly websites has been crucial for SEO point of view. They even stated that mobile usability is further relevant to search results and a major search ranking factor. So, we might predict that half of the websites will finally incorporate mobile into all areas of digital marketing. Mobile Ads, specific content creation for Smartphone users with a fully responsive website are crucial to boost success this year. So, consider a strategy of how the customers react with your social media posts and consume the feeds about your services.

Be more social:
Social media is the integral part of marketing strategy. Increasing number of fan followings in Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have forced the marketers to invest more in social media. Advertising campaigns, regular posts and updates have increased exposure to traffic, given new way to scale the results. Website clicks, app download, email opt-ins, etc are beneficial for small to medium scaled businesses.

More on Content Marketing:
From Google’s perspective, content is the king in every marketing effort. In B2B marketing research, over 90 percent of marketers use content marketing due to effectiveness. As, SEO, PPC and Social Media have allocated more on content marketing efforts, you need to find out the best way to stand out amidst the throngs. Content is not only text; video content and research base content boosts search engine activities and gives advantage in huge competitive market. Invest in mobile content, video and visual content is the basic marketing technique to look forward this year.

Email Marketing:
Email marketing is a cost effective solution of reaching more customers and large ROI. You can reach to customers and start direct communication with them, which helps to build relationship, trust and loyalty. You can reach the current and potential customers effectively using the well written, engaging e-newsletters. With each email sent, brand awareness starts to develop and thus keeps your business in top priority list within customers. After a successful reach out, people will remember your business and come back again.

Why Cheap Websites Don’t Work

I hate the word ‘Cheap’, to me it is a dirty word. I feel sorry for other web designers who actually think that it offers them any sort of credibility to their name, on the contrary it just makes them look bad. Lets look at the synonym for ‘Cheap’

Cheap, inexpensive  agree in their suggestion of low cost. Cheap  now usually suggests shoddiness, inferiority, showy imitation, complete unworthiness, and the like: a cheap kind of fur. Inexpensive  emphasizes lowness of price (although more expensive than cheap ) and suggests that the value is fully equal to the cost: an inexpensive dress.  It is often used as an evasion for the more specific cheap. 4.  paltry, low, poor, inferior, base.

I certainly do not want my business nor myself to be perceived like this, how about you ?

To build a professional website for your small business needs a professional approach, we are not building you a personal blog as a hobby, this is your lively hood, this is your online image and generally the first place a potential customer will look even before they pick up the phone or visit your premises. The importance of having a good looking, functional, conversion driven website should be in your businesses top priority list.

Reasons Why Cheap Websites Do Not Work

In web design cheap websites do not work because cheap usually signifies shortcuts are needed to be made to achieve the outcome within a budget. Web design firms like almost any business type works on an hourly rate basis, depending on how long the job takes will ultimately depend on the final price. With web design there are a significant amount of processes that need to be done in order to clearly communicate the clients needs and wants. Not only this there is an element of competitor research that needs to be done also to determine what you need to achieve to become an authority figure amongst your competitors.

If your competition has clearly spent thousands of dollars on web design and internet marketing do you really think that your $500 website will make an impact to your potential clients? Who do you think your clients will choose as the deciding factor when making a choice between 3 choices, the one that looks unprofessional, cheap, amateur or vice-versa ?

No one works for free, but if you are deciding to engage a web design firm that is offering you the world for $500 then you need to take a step back and consider what the potential outcome will be.  The fact of the matter is time is money and $500 will only get you so far, cheap website design providers will NOT give you personal service, will not NOT visit you for a one on one consultation and will NOT truly value your business relationship, and they certainly will NOT spend time and effort if giving you the results you want. Going for a cheap website may actually be a total waste of your time and investment maybe even tarnish your reputation.

Over the years we have heard all too many times of unsatisfied clients who have had to redesign their small business website because of poorly communicated deliverables and an overall bad experience dealing with cheap web design companies. This is why cheap websites do not work and should be given more value.

So your not looking for a cheap website but how much should you spend?

Generally for a start-up business online presence should be included in the start-up costs, however if you are an existing business and you want a website for your business then it should be part of your marketing costs. A businesses marketing budget should be between 4 and 12 percent of the gross turnover of the business, so an example of a businesses turning over under $1 million dollars the marketing budget should be around $25,000. The amount that should be allocated to your website is up to you. Generally thou, your website is the starting point so a general rule of thumb is to spend as much as is needed to make an impact when you go live.

If the cliche ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ was true then there would be no need to spend much money on website design, unfortunately visitors to your website will have an opinion of you within the first 30 seconds of landing on your website whether consciously or sub-consciously, make the right first impression, make an impact and get people talking about your website it will be well worth the effort, time and money you spend.

If your looking at pushing your business further into the online market or would like further advice on this matter please call us at 541.288.3172 to discuss your needs.