How to Get Results From Your Chamber of Commerce

Small Businesses often have small marketing budgets; it is an absolute necessity that they maximize every dollar spent on marketing. Networking is crucial if your marketing budget is tight, and your local Chamber of Commerce can be the Using your Chamber for Business networkingbiggest bang for your buck if you know how to make it work for you.

I have lived all over the Eastern US, and in each location I’ve been involved in Chambers.  Some are stronger than others, but in order to make any Chamber work for you, you must not sit on the sidelines; get involved.  Here’s a short list of to dos:

  • Read your membership documents: As soon as you pay for your membership, read every thing handed to you and look out for the free deals.  Most chambers give you discounts on advertising or even free opportunities to get your business in front of your fellow members during your first year of membership.  Don’t let them sit unused.
  • Meet with a Chamber Employee: Set up a meeting with whomever handles Membership and/or Marketing and make sure that they understand your business, and ask to be made aware of every marketing opportunity. Make a friend inside the Chamber and keep in touch.
  • Attend Events: This may seem like a no brainer, but I cannot tell you how many people I come across who pay their dues, never go to events, and then complain that they’re ‘not getting anything‘ out of their Chamber.  You must attend different types of events as well – some breakfasts, some lunches, some evening events.  You’ll find that other people get into routines and you’ll miss meeting them if you don’t go to the ones they always attend.
  • Volunteer: You must give to get, and the best way to be noticed and make friends in your Chamber is to stand shoulder to shoulder with them as you work on a project or event together. People do business with people they know, and you really get to know your fellow members when you work with them towards a goal.
  • Offer to Speak: Chambers are often searching for professional speakers willing to get in front of other members and help them learn more about a particular subject. If you have the ability and knowledge, don’t be afraid to give some of it away.
  • Sponsor an Event: Not only will sponsoring a high profile event get you noticed, it will bring lots of good will from your Chamber.  Offer to host an event at your business if possible… the first hurdle in getting a new customer in the door is to get them in that first time.  Once they’re comfortable, they’ll come back.

Like so many things in life and business, you only get back as much as you give.  Chambers can be powerful weapons for your marketing arsenal if you know how to use them.

What have you done to get the maximum out of your Chamber?

If you want to learn more about how to maximize your Chamber membership, check out Frank Kenny’s endless stream of helpful tips.