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Chamber Marketing 101: Be Local. Get Connected. Stay Awesome.

You’re a business owner who has an endless array of daily tasks to attend to. Your day-to-day operations depend on your attention to detail and oversight and knowing how to market your business — including chamber marketing — is just one thing of many on your plate. In other words, your time is valuable.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and it’s important to be protective of your schedule, dropping any activities that aren’t productive. One thing you should never skip, however, is an opportunity to network and connect with other local business owners. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce and participating in meetings and other events is an investment in your business. But, this is one investment that you can see an almost immediate return on.

What Is the Chamber?

The Chamber, short for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is an organization that helps businesses connect with one another. It’s a platform by which business owners can help influence public policies that benefit themselves, their fellow business owners and the community. It is the largest business association in the country. From 450 local chapters across Canada, they support and represent the interests of over 200,000 businesses. Those local Chambers are an incredibly rich source of valuable resources.

Why Join a Local Chamber?

Membership in a local chamber of commerce has a multitude of benefits for business owners. From networking opportunities to education and business information to advocacy and marketing opportunities, the chamber supports businesses on an individual basis. The most important benefit, however, is being connected to other business leaders within the community who seek opportunities to grow, learn, and do business together.

Networking Opportunities

Communication these days is often accomplished in the digital realm. That doesn’t mean that face-to-face meetings aren’t important. In fact, they’re more important than ever. Monthly chamber events, meetings, roundtable discussions, and other chamber activities are a great way for business leaders to meet and form beneficial relationships. In turn, they can work together to ensure the marketplace remains competitive and that no company has an unfair advantage.

Relationship Building

Local business owners have more in common with one another than profits, they’re also interesting individuals. Building relationships, at the business and personal level, is important for a person’s health and well-being. Taking part in local Chamber activities, like the Bonnyville Chamber of Commerce’s trip to India, is a fun way to make new friends, and build strong business relationships at the same time.

Regularly Scheduled Events

Every local chamber maintains a calendar of events for the coming month, making it easy to plan ahead. While attendance at all the events isn’t mandatory, they provide ample opportunity to learn and grow. For example, the St. Paul & District Chamber is offering several events in January. These events offer help for small businesses, including tax advice, customer service related information and many other business topics.

Chamber Marketing Opportunities

A fantastic way for a business owner to connect with other like-minded individuals is to attend a Chamber Connect event. There’s one held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce. It’s a meet-and-greet type event where people exchange business cards, discuss important matters, and create valuable partnerships. It’s an especially potent marketing tool for B2B businesses since the members are all business owners themselves.

There are also a number of other ways you can market through your local chamber, including:

  • Placing an ad in chamber email fanouts that go to members
  • Sponsoring an event
  • Advertising on their websites
  • Being listed in their business directory

Policy Input

Business owners are among the most influential people in our communities. They drive economic growth and have a major impact on policies that affect the affect the entire community.

Joining a chamber, like the Alberta LGBT Chamber of Commerce, gives business leaders the opportunity to impact policies and influence the chamber’s advocacy agenda. Whether it’s by participating in a committee, submitting policy change resolutions, or simply speaking out, members are a key element of the chamber’s decision-making process.

Access to Information

Keeping pace with federal legislation, new rules and regulations, and local business initiatives is a challenge, to say the least. Members of the chamber have unlimited access to information about these important topics as well as expert advice from policy experts. Whether it’s a question about local licensing requirements or a federally mandated regulation, business owners can quickly find an answer to avoid complications later. They can also share their experiences and knowledge with other members.

Tools and Resources

Business leaders have access to a wide variety of tools and other resources through their local chamber aimed at helping them to serve the community and their customers better. Small business tools, webinars, videos, podcasts, workshops, and other information is all just a click away. Chamber events and conferences not only provide valuable information but also facilitate networking between members. In addition, many chamber members are also experts in finance, marketing, and other business topics and offer advice and assistance.

Chamber Benefit Programs

Chamber membership can also help save a business money through one of the value-added benefits programs available. Programs vary from discounts on professional services and products to access to free business tools. These additional benefits can be a real benefit to new business on a limited budget as well as established companies looking for ways to maximize their profit margins by decreasing costs.

Improved Public Image

Joining the local chamber and becoming a participating member has benefits that are difficult to measure. One of those benefits has to do with public perception. When a prospect or customer sees that you’re affiliated with the chamber, they’re more likely to perceive you as a trustworthy, community-minded business. In other words, membership is like a badge of honour that sets your business apart from non-chamber members.

Conclusion

Your business needs a presence, both in real-life and digitally, and marketing is an absolute necessity in today’s world. If you’re not connecting with local business owners and leaders, you’re missing a very important part of the equation.

If you operate a B2B business, local chamber members are all prospective customers. They’re also allies who will work with you to influence policies that affect you all. In short, joining the local chamber is one of the smartest things a Canadian business owner could do.

Contact us to learn more about the benefits of chamber marketing and how we can help you with your digital marketing strategies!