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Social Media Marketing Tips for Businesses on a Budget

You have an excellent range of products and services but it seems that nobody knows about it. This is an all-too-known situation for businesses that just started and you’re not in this alone. Everybody has gone through it and like everybody that did, you too can get out of it. There are a number of tips that can help out local businesses be more present in their market.

Build Your Social Media Presence

Seldom do you see people not glued to their gadgets’ screens everywhere, for all ages, at that matter. Kids start it young by playing apps to pass the time, teens are addicted to it for their friends on social media and adults are glued to it to be updated with their project progress and job updates. You can penetrate every market you can think of with social media, you see.

There are different platforms you can start with but the easiest would be Facebook. A huge number of the population is on Facebook making it the wisest option within the bunch. With its targeted ads, you can make yourself visible to people that matter — your intended niche. Gone are the days of spending on reach that are not for people you actually intend to reach. With the right mindset, you can also execute excellently planned campaigns that can drive engagement and visibility for your brand which potentially could boost sales.

Not only is Facebook easy, you can also choose Instagram for your marketing needs. This social media platform is a jackpot when it comes to audience reach. It aims to please your current and potential market through showcasing your products and idea of your products visually. Carefully and creatively created Instagram feeds are to die for.

Generate Views Through Irresistible Online Deals

There are a number of ways to drive engagements and one of the tried and tested, fool-proof solution is to hold out online contests. This not only aims to generate user-generated content, one thing this also can hold true is its reach to your market and potential customers. Though these user-generated content, it lessens the load to your social media manager to gather content for your social media profiles. One detrimental tip though: do not forget to ask permission when posting these things.

You can start off by giving away something your users would want and of course, will benefit your brand. What else should it be than give away your services and products for free? This will cut off costs because you would have to provide the prizes instead of purchasing them from other merchants. Next step is to determine how you would like to execute the giveaway. Would you like your users to tell you how they can potentially benefit from your product (given that they haven’t tried it yet) or would you like to reward your current users by generating feedback from them? There are a number of creative ways to pull this off given the right team to help you through it.

You can also consider making themed giveaways — would you like to run it over the holidays or is your product a perfect fit for a Mother’s Day celebration? Also important when planning such a giveaway: make sure your timeline is at the sweet spot. Don’t make it too short or too long. Lastly, publicly announce your winner so people would know that your brand sticks to its word. Other brands make such a big fuss about a giveaway they won’t give away in the first place. Others go the extra mile by even coming up with decoy winners.

Perihelion Web Design can help you with your social media marketing needs. We have a team of friendly experts ready to pull off and guide you through your crazy ideas. We make sure we take in your ideas — or not, however you want it, actually. We service areas in the Pacific Northwest but the Columbia River Gorge is our home. We love growing local brands and you should, too.

BOGUS DIGITAL MARKETING: Impressions Do Not Equal Sales

One of the most over-hyped metrics in the digital marketing world is the “impression”.  The idea is simple – if an ad is shown on a webpage or search engine result, it’s an impression. However, this can give advertisers a false sense of exactly how much their ad has made an impact.

Google has just put out their own stats, showing that 56% of ads aren’t seen. Nothing new to see here! But please keep wasting your money on CPM ads!

A comScore study in 2013 found that 54% of display ads are never seen. Maybe they were displayed on the page, but they were below the fold, or the person left the page before the ad was fully loaded, or a million of other issues.

This feels like the in-joke of the internet, a wink-wink between traditional agencies and publishers – those that sell display ads to unsuspecting clients and the sites that accept ad revenue. Both of these parties know that display ad metrics aren’t just inaccurate, they’re a hollow and not but ash.

Impressions have ended up being the “look how great we are!” measure that agencies that are more focused on trying to obfuscate what’s really going on so that they look good, rather than report on real results. It’s a big number and it looks amazing to say that your ad had 1 million impressions instead of the sad trombone of 10 clicks. This kind of reporting is particularly rife within so-called “traditional” advertising agencies, who are used to reporting on offline campaigns and are still struggling to understand all this internet stuff.

Impressions are also sacrificed to the altar of vague reporting metrics such as “brand awareness”.

We had a real-life example of this recently when working with a client who used another agency for their web design and marketing before talking to us. The client claimed that an ad had resulted in “brand awareness” due to the large number of impressions the ad received. But in reality, the creative was boring and blended into the site. There wasn’t even a call to action. Just because your ad had 1,000 impressions, it doesn’t mean that:

a) 1,000 more people know about your company.
b) 1,000 more people feel good about your company.
c) 1,000 people looked at your ad at all.

If you need to measure brand awareness, try measuring it on social media or count people visiting your landing page. Did someone talk about your brand on social? Did they go to your site, maybe sign up for your newsletter? That’s brand awareness! Someone glazing over your display ad on a web page that they viewed for two seconds isn’t brand awareness.

Someone glancing over your display ad on a webpage that they viewed for two seconds isn’t brand awareness.

(Facebook is also guilty of this. The “boost” button on page posts is paying per impressions, although they call it reach. Reach is also a poorly understood metric that’s becoming a stand in for impressions on social media. Buyer beware.)

How did we get here? In the beginning of advertising, we paid per impression. Billboards cost a certain amount depending on how many cars drove by. Nielsen ratings determined how much advertisers should pay for TV shows — sweeps weeks were how television shows inflated their numbers so they could charge more. We didn’t have a better way to measure things.

Then, the internet happened. Instead of thinking “hey, we can measure all kinds of things now!”, pageviews became the default metric of success because it was comfortable and nobody in advertising had to shift too much. You could say “this site gets 10,000 pageviews a day”, put down your client’s money and then tell them that they got 10,000 ad views. Just like buying a radio ad, right?

Pageviews should never have been the default measure of advertising. It’s resulted in awful clickbait headlines (You won’t believe what happens next!) and multi-page slideshows used by these types of sites. But pageviews are a metric that could be easily measured and sold to people who understood the old school of advertising.

What they didn’t understand (or willfully ignored) was banner blindness. Spend 5 minutes on the internet, and you’ll start to zone out the ads. Some pages make it hard by shouting at you, showing popups, and pushing giant page takeovers, but loud isn’t the new good. You can’t make someone want to pay attention to your creative that was recycled from a billboard. The internet is not just a cheaper billboard. If your ad isn’t compelling, if it doesn’t speak to me, then you might as well save your money and take yourself out for a nice dinner instead.

We can target based on behavior, what you’re searching for, your age, your Facebook interests, whether or not you already visited our site – a million different ways to show exactly the ad that you’ll be interested in at the moment you see it. But instead, most advertisers submit web page visitors to the blunt force trauma of multiple ad impressions, hoping for a nice big number they can show on their PowerPoint presentation the next time they’re at a client meeting.

People on the internet aren’t lemmings, just waiting around to be shown something flashy so they can jump off a cliff after it. We all see ads every single day, and we’re smart enough to decide what’s interesting and what’s just more crap to ignore. Recycled creative and scattershot advertising isn’t just lazy, it’s disrespectful to you and to your client. Reporting on impressions reinforces the idea that if you show an ad enough times, we’ll just have to give in to the message. And we all know that isn’t true.

Contact Us for a free website and social media presence evaluation and learn how we can help your business in the age of digital and social media marketing.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Web Design Agency

Why Should You Hire a Professional Web Design Agency?

In recent posts we went over the problems with small business websites and things to do before you hire a web developer. Many of the problems we outlined in these posts came from not hiring a professional web design agency to handle your project in the first place. Yes, professionals are more expensive. But if you think professionals are expensive just wait until you hire an amateur!

 

98% of business owners who attempt to build their own website fail at the task and never launch a website at all! US Small Business Administration

 

In today’s digital and increasingly mobile world your website is no longer static, but rather an interactive online presence that needs to constantly adapt. This includes optimizing for new mobile devices, updating content and keeping it fresh, and adapting search tactics to the latest Google algorithm changes. And of course you still need a killer design to stand out in the market!

Yes, you can figure most of this out by yourself. But the result may not be all that good. Roughly 97% of websites designed by amateurs fail. Doesn’t your brand deserve better than that? By hiring a professional web design agency you can focus on running your business and not learning the intricacies of web coding and SEO.

 

 

6 Reasons for Hiring a Professional Web Design Agency

By hiring a professional web design agency all the components of your new website will work together from the start. A modern website is a lot more than just a bit of code with a few words and images added. A professional web design agency has all the resources you need to succeed at a lower cost than you might expect.

1. Vision

Professional web design agencies work with innovative technology. What will your website look like in two years from now? A professional web design agency not only designs and develops websites, it also keeps an eye on future developments. With many new apps and ever-increasing web functionality to appeal to the social-mobile-local shopper a professional web design agency can show you how to plan and not get left in the digital world.

Even if you only have a vague vision of what you have in mind a professional web design agency can help you refine it and make sure it works in life; the latter comes in really handy! And if you don’t have an idea a professional web design agency can help you create your own unique look.

2. Experience

Building a mobile friendly responsive websites is no easy task. If you don’t believe me you should try it yourself! Unless you are highly skilled in software applications, the latest web standards, and speak a few machine languages (Parlez-vous PhP?) you have a learning curve ahead of you. A professional web design agency is already experienced, so you don’t have to pay them to learn.

And what if you get stuck? There are any number of problems during the design and development of a website. Some of them are fixed relatively easily, but others may need looking through 1000s of lines of code or even creating custom solutions. That is best left to a professional web design agency.

Professional web design agencies can also help you with domain purchases and registration, email configuration, website hosting, IT services, and other non-design related services. Even if you already have some of this in place a professional web design agency makes sure that everything works well together.

3. Resources

It takes a lot of different resources to create an engaging online presence in the digital age! A professional web design agency usually combines the ability and vision of different creatives and strategists to offer the desired results. Depending on the scope of your project you will need experts ranging from content creators and digital marketers to web designers and developers to SEO experts and social media strategists. A professional web design agency has all of them in-house or on-call. That ensures continuity from beginning to end while greatly reducing the risk of delays.

Have all required professionals involved in your project from the beginning. This allows you to anticipate problems and shortcomings in advance in advance instead of fixing them in the development phase. Having non-designers involved in the creative process is very helpful in developing creative solutions. And our content strategists learned a lot since they started hanging out with our SEO team!

4. Process

Building a website is a complicated project, and careful planning definitely helps. A professional web design agency usually has an established process based on their experience. This makes sure your project keeps moving forward without overlooking any details. A typical process workflow could go like this:

  1. Strategy – The research and preparation in this step is the foundation for the design and development work.
  2. Design – The visual look of the website begins to take shape and any custom design elements created.
  3. Build – This is where the creative vision turns into reality. Developers build the website functionality and add the content.
  4. Test – This is where the new site undergoes extensive beta testing, including functionality on different browsers and devices.
  5. Launch – This includes any last touches and moving the site to a live server.
  6. Report – The last step is tracking the new site’s performance and making required tweaks and content updates. Repeat this step as needed.

The process usually includes timelines for design and development of the new website from beginning to end. Here is a sample outline showing the individual responsibilities of the client and the designer. A professional web design agency can develop a custom time line for your project based on your specific requirements.

 

5. Scalability

Many first business websites are relatively small in scale. In some cases there are just a few pages and maybe a contact form. But that usually doesn’t last long. Soon business owners want to add other essential website elements such as a blog, enhance social interaction through video chat, and sell both real and virtual products. Add some enhanced interactivity such as payment options and maintenance requests or custom search functionality and you are talking about a pretty complex digital presence. And how will all that work with the first website?

A professional web design agency not only can help you with your first online presence, but with future enhancements as well. By keeping a close eye on professional developments in their field a professional web design agency can help you expect future trends and help you plan to take advantage of them as they emerge. Your first online presence is more limited, but our experience has shown that clients quickly want to take add content and functionality to their site. By planning ahead you can do this quickly and easily and avoid having to re-develop all or part of your site.

6. Cost

Yes, you read correctly! Cost savings are a big part of hiring a professional web design agency. Here is how it works: You try on your own, and you really give it your all. But after about 200 hours* you give up. Instead you ask your neighbor’s kid to help. And after a few days (or weeks) he gives up. You go on Craigslist and hire a “professional.” Most likely they will just take your money. So here you are, a few months and a few thousand dollars (*yes, your time costs money!) with really nothing to show for it.

A professional web design agency costs a few thousand dollars as well, or even more depending on your project scope. But after about 2 months a professional web design agency completed your project, which means you start earning money and not paying it out. Isn’t that what you wanted in the first place?

And a professional web design agency will design your site based on a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. This will allow you to update and keep up your website yourself, thereby eliminating the need for a webmaster. This will cut both time and cost required for making updates. A professional web design agency can always help you with more difficult tasks, such as adding a new product gallery or shopping cart, but you can save money by making your own content updates.

 

 

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Web Design Agency

The above are only the most important benefits of hiring a professional web design agency. Depending on your specific project there can others, such as developing a custom mobile app for your business, creating a custom shopping cart, or helping you get the most out of your blog. If you are not sure what a professional web design agency can do for you just ask one!

Of course, you have some responsibility for working with a professional web design agency.  If you are not sure what your professional web design agency expects from you go ahead and ask them. They will prefer explaining their process to you up front than having your project derail later.

Regardless of the type of website your business needs you can count on a professional web design agency to deliver on time and on budget. But the benefits don’t end there. Most professional web design agencies offer ongoing support and training, website maintenance programs, and are very helpful in third-party vendor conflict resolution as well.

And many offer related services such as content curation, search engine optimization, and social media services as well. By working with just one vendor you ensure continuity in your online presence and simplify the process for yourself. And that’s what you wanted in the first place, isn’t it?

 

 

What To Do Next

You have the facts, now you need to decide. If you really want to design and develop your own site we admire you and wish you the best of luck. We mean that! If your new site turns out awesome let us know!

But if you are like most business owners we know you already have enough to do just running your business. So search for a professional web design agency in your city, or simply reach out to us and we will be happy to help you!

We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From highly customized corporate sites, to responsive e-Commerce websites to small business websites and personal blogs we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever increasingly social, mobile and local consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free web design estimate or get a quick estimate of what your site might cost.

And if you are still not sure why or if you need to hire a professional web design agency don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and find the best way for your business to get the online presence you need. As a professional web design agency it is one of our specialties, after all!

Do you have anything to add to our reasons for hiring a professional web design agency? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!

We appreciate your help in eliminating bad business websites, one pixel at a time! Thank you!

Video is Not Enough: 6 Ways to Drive In-Person Visits with Digital Marketing

Many designers are hopping on the SEO Video trend in 2017 and their clients take their word as the gospel truth and put all their marketing dollars into that basket without considering what the real effects are of ignoring other key items and options they should be taking advantage of.  Video has it’s place in digital marketing for sure, but with the rise of personal assistants such as OK Google, Siri, Alexa and the like Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence are going to be the key motivator for helping in-person sales when one can simply ask the assistant “What is available for family fun’ in ‘insert your town here’ or ‘Where’s the best place to eat’ in ‘insert your location here’ … ask and be told what you want to know.

It’s no secret that in-store traffic is valuable for most businesses. In fact, while the average website conversion rate is 2.35% across industries, for in-store traffic the average conversion rate is 33%. That is to say – if you can move that website visitor to knock on your door, there is roughly a 1 in 3 chance they will make a purchase. So how can you make that happen?

Here are six ways you can use digital marketing to drive in-person visits to your business location:

1. Optimize Your Website

Did you know that your user’s experience begins before a prospect even visits your page? User experience begins wherever on the web prospects find you. Everyday consumers turn to search engines like Google to find answers to what they are looking for. Some experts say that as much as 30% of all searches queries have local intent.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, uses a knowledge of search engines and how they work to update and tweak your website to make sure you are easier to find in the search engine results pages. A secondary impact of a well-optimized site is a better user experience on your page. This is because when determining your page rank (where you land on the search results page), search engines account for everything from navigation, to page load times, fresh relevant content, images, media, and more.

In addition to a strong SEO strategy, a few things to consider for your website that can help increase in-store visits:

  • Online appointment scheduling – Appointments can be scheduled after-hours!
  • Calls to action – Make it clear what the next steps are. Ex: Visit us today!
  • Print-at-home and mobile couponsThat can only be redeemed in-store

2. Take Advantage of Paid Search

For searches with high commercial intent, paid listings still reign supreme. They receive preferred placement at the top of the search engine results page across Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We’ve already talked about local intent and how important it is to rank for these searches. How can you optimize your PPC campaign to be competitive for these searches and increase in-store visits?

Here are a few things to consider:

3. Get Smart About Social

Social media marketing yields hard-to-measure results. And with all the other aspects of your business that need to be managed, Twitter or Facebook may be last on your list. However, if you are not taking advantage of social media at all, you could be missing out on opportunities to drive in-store visits.

Facebook is a great place to start – it hosts a wide demographic of users in every geography and is relatively simple to use. You don’t need to post daily to be successful, but you do need to have a presence.  Here are a few easy ways to encourage in-person visits using Facebook:

  • Optimize your profile
  • Make certain your business information is accurate (including location address and hours)
  • Showcase positive customer experiences
  • Promote sales or store events with Facebook Ads
  • Share pictures of goods and/or services

4. Harness the Power of Mobile

With the advent of the smartphone, today’s world is smaller than ever. We are always connected; even while we dream. A recent study found that 71% of people sleep with their smartphones. You can take advantage of the amount of screen time prospects spend on their phones and tablets with mobile advertising. Geofencing is a cost-effective way to get in front of your local prospects while they are on the go. Whether you want to target a radius around your store, or even target local competitors directly, your brand can appear on the screen of users just steps from your door. And it presents you with another perfect opportunity to entice them with coupons or specials.

5. Don’t Forget Current Customers

When putting together a marketing plan designed to drive in-person visits, you cannot neglect your loyal customers. Returning customers are the most valuable segment of your business. They keep coming back to use your services time and again – increasing their lifetime value. And they also become brand ambassadors and influencers, recommending you to family, friends, and colleagues. Because returning site visitors are often already customers, retargeting is a great way to get in front of them again. Tailor your message for these ads to your repeat customers. Make sure it is seasonally appropriate and related to goods or services they may need in the near term. And don’t forget a call to action!

6. Claim Your Local Listings

Prospects often turn to the internet for directions and general business information. These are common searches before an in-store visit takes place. While your business information may be front and center on your web page, a prospect might not look any further than your map listing. Don’t make your customers and prospects jump through hoops to get to you. Remember your competition is at every turn trying to distract them. Loyal customers are less susceptible, but first-timers can be easily deterred by something as simple as not finding your store location the moment they need it. Make sure that you have claimed and verified your local listings. Focus on big hitters like Google My Business or Yelp. But don’t forget industry-specific listings such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, ZocDoc, or ApartmentRatings.

Website traffic is important – and should still be a metric that you consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. But in many industries, conversions or purchases are still made offline. That means if you focus your marketing on driving website traffic, you might not get the results you need. By taking advantage of the strategies listed here, you can drive more in-store traffic and watch your business grow.

Marketing Your Small Town Business

Marketing is not a one-size fits all process – small town business marketing ideas differ from marketing ideas that work in a city. In order to be successful, you must cater your marketing toward your target customer audience and reach them appropriately.

Small town market demographics

The first thing to do is to figure out how to market yourself to your customers. Who are your customers? Where do they spend their time? What are they interested in? Once you determine who you are marketing toward, then you can start to work on the marketing.

Look up the demographics of the area before you start to market – find out who is in your audience. Are you marketing to a community with young children, stay at home parents, church-goers, Veterans, eco-conscious vegetarians, farmers, Spanish-speaking agricultural workers, or motorcycle riders in their 50s? Do some research before you start.

Develop messaging for the local culture

Once you know who you’re marketing to, you can develop your messaging in accordance with the local culture. Messaging is part of marketing strategy and is important to lock down. Depending on the town, the population may have conservative religious and political views or be focused on sustainability and town preservation. Family values and town traditions may resonate more with small town or rural community than innovation and technological change. Read the local paper for news about the area to learn more about the community so that you can resonate with people.

Structure your messaging to mirror the tone of the small town or area that you’re marketing to. Hunting humor that is appreciated by one community with a hunting culture may be offensive to another community seeking to protect an endangered species.  Keep local culture in mind when marketing to a small town or rural community.

Online marketing for small town businesses

Online marketing efforts in less populated areas will differ from online marketing efforts in more populated areas. In a small town or rural area, you will be marketing to a smaller number of people. Depending on your business you may have a lot or very little competition. If you don’t have a lot of competition, your business will be easier to find online. But, just because you’re easier to find online, doesn’t mean that people are looking.

Rural customers are less likely to have high speed internet than customers living in cities or even small towns. High speed internet is costly in rural areas and landscape like mountains in some small towns makes internet service unreliable. While internet at home might not very common, that doesn’t mean that online marketing is out of the question. Many people living in small or rural towns use their cell phones to access the internet instead of a home computer. What does that mean for your business?

Mobile responsive websites

If you are marketing toward people in small towns or rural areas, your business website must be mobile friendly. Google is cracking down on mobile responsiveness for websites. Websites that are not optimized for mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, and iPads will be ranked lower in search engine results than websites that are mobile responsive. Check here to see if your website is mobile responsive.

Mobile responsiveness is important for your business – if potential customers cannot access your website online, they cannot learn about your business. If your website doesn’t pass Google’s mobile-friendly test, Perihelion can build a mobile responsive website for you.

Online directories

Registering your business with online directories like Google+, Yelp, and Yellow Pages is important when you’re marketing in less populated areas. Depending on the town, people may not travel in the direction of your business on a daily basis and may not see that a new business has opened for weeks or maybe even months. By registering your business with online directories, potential customers who are looking up your type of business on Google or Yelp will come across your business when they need it.

Not only are online directories good for reaching local customers, it will also help you get found my people driving through the area. If you’re opening a business that is off of a major transit way, you may pick up customers passing through. You never know who is looking for your type of business on their road trip to visit the Largest Ball of Twine.

Advertising online

Facebook or AdWords advertising may beneficial to marketing in a small town. With Facebook Advertising, you can build your ad’s audience based on demographics or a geographic radius. You can run the ad on desktop or on mobile devices. You can even cater the ad toward locals who Like specific Facebook pages like the local Chamber of Commerce or by profession, like farmers.

In a small town or rural area, AdWords can help your small business get found on local geographic searches more than other companies. If you’re seeking to build an online presence, or are a seasonal operation looking to make a splash, a Google AdWords campaign can give your business a boost while organic traffic to your website builds up.

Downtown The Dalles

Downtown The Dalles, OR

Build trust and a good reputation

In a small or rural town, you can be sure that word of mouth referrals will be a good way to get the name of your business out. But in order to get people talking about your business, you first have to gain their trust. Don’t barge into small town claiming that you’re the best thing since sliced bread. Aside from the fact that sliced bread is pretty great, people simply will not trust you. If you go in trying to establish relationships with other business owners before establishing a rapport, they will think you’re trying to scam them.

Small towns and rural communities are tight-knit groups of people. They know their neighbors, probably grew up together, and help each other out. This type of community is great for a business’s reputation, but you need to earn the trust of a rural community first and build your reputation. Start by introducing yourself to people before marketing yourself to them. The most important part of selling your product or services is helping people.

Get to know the people in the small town or rural communities – not only will they learn to trust you once they know you’re genuine, but they will also open up to you about themselves. This will enable you to figure out how your business can help them – an integral part of your marketing messaging.

Getting the word out about your small town business may seem daunting, but by using these methods, you can soon be on your way to successful marketing!

Support The Organization That Supports Your Community

Why Join A Chamber of Commerce

Click to Enlarge

We are 5 months into a new year with new opportunities to grow and renew. But it’s also a time to look at expenses and re-evaluate where we’re spending our resources of time and money.

Among the decisions that many local area business owners will face this year is whether to join or renew their membership in our local Chamber of Commerce.

If you don’t want to support a local organization that supports you, your business and community year round then don’t join the chamber of commerce. If you don’t want to support the group that is often the first personal point of contact with an opportunity to make a positive first impression for people considering visiting or relocating to our community or the surrounding area then don’t support the The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chambers of commerce have been around for decades.  You might say that with the Internet and social media a chamber of commerce is not needed. You might say it is not always the first point of contact for information because potential visitors and new residents can surf the web to get information on The Dalles and surrounding communities.

While it is true that people can gather a lot of details on the Internet it is also true that information may have been placed in prominent digital locations with the help of the local chamber.

And, regardless of where or how potential visitors, new business owners or residents got their initial information, the chamber often serves as the first real personal point of contact for those folks. If they have already done research and determined they might like to pay the city a visit there’s a good chance they may pick up the phone or make a point to stop by the chamber offices on their first visit for a more personal contact.

On the down side, like most investments, joining a chamber of commerce has cost associated with it. There is the cost of a membership and the potential cost of time to attend meetings and show support at public events by helping out.

Each of us needs to weigh the positive and potential negatives of joining or renewing our membership. We need to evaluate whether money spent or the time invested in going to ribbon cuttings, helping out at events like the annual NW Cherry Festival, the Starlight parade or other events is worth our time.

That is one of the positive attributes of supporting our chamber. It offers a wide variety of networking opportunities and we can pick and choose which ones to participate in. If we want to get full value for our investment we will get involved in at least some of those events and activities.

For a new business starting up the outlay of dollars and lack of available time may deter the owner from joining the chamber. On the other hand, what good is investing in a new business if there are no customers and if you are not taking full advantage of marketing opportunities.

Your firm may have a web page. You may be aggressive in your social media marketing. You may know people in town already. Regardless, there is nothing like the personal touch of meeting potential new customers and clients face-to-face and one-on-one.

The chamber offers plenty of those types of opportunities. The organization also does a lot to help support its members with publicity.

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce offers increased exposure for your business through its Website, its Social Media Posts, Membership Directory and through other avenues both online and offline such as photos and mention of new member’s ribbon cuttings published in the pages of local newspapers.

Even if your products or services are something a person might not need on a routine basis just the fact that you are a member in good standing of the chamber helps validate your business to potential customers. For visitors and residents alike, being a chamber member can give a business the needed boost for having people make contact when the need does arise.

Networking can be a pain if you’re cold calling. But if you’re in the same place, whether it’s the annual membership meeting, a chamber hosted ribbon cutting or monthly meeting, it is easier to make those contacts.

Being a member of the The Dalles Area Chamber of Commence by itself is not going to make or break your business. But it can be an important part of your business’s marketing plan.

When time comes to consider joining or renewing membership please support the organization that supports you, your community and your business throughout the year and throughout the decades.