Wednesday 20 November, 2013
Have you ever thought about joining your local Chamber of Commerce? For restaurants, shops and other small local businesses, it’s an obvious good move with many benefits for your business. But many online marketers have never even considered it, although it offers the same benefits and more.
A Chamber of Commerce exists to further the interests of the local business community. Even if you operate virtually in the digital world, there are two good reasons to join a local Chamber of Commerce. They offer networking opportunities with like-minded businesses in your area. This networking can result in business opportunities, partnerships, and even leads.
Why You Should Join
For online marketers, there’s another huge advantage. This advantage is that it lends you credibility. Studies have shown that people are generally more likely to buy from a company that’s a member of its local Chamber of Commerce than those that aren’t. It shows that you’re a legitimate business.
You can advertise your membership on your website and this engenders trust for potential shoppers. There’s a good chance that your competitors haven’t done this, so you’ll have an advantage over them.
It also makes you more visible in your community, which helps to brand your company and can bring you leads. Online marketers often do all of their work in front of a computer, but if you get out into the community, there is a great deal of opportunity.
For example, you can teach brick and mortar businesses how to drive traffic to their site or boost their social media presence in return for things they can do for you. With your increased visibility locally, you’ll draw new customers offline to your online business.
Interestingly enough, there are actually SEO benefits to joining your local Chamber. For the last few years, Google has placed increasing importance on local SEO. When you join and they put your business on their page along with contact information, this is a huge SEO boost. Chamber of Commerce websites are clearly authority sites in the eyes of Google. You can optimize the content on your listing as well. Just as the Chamber what features you can use in your listing and create the content. Your listing and its link to your site will appear in more local Google searches.
Your business will also appear in their newsletters and press releases. When you have news to share, they’ll share it for you. Your news will not only be visible to more internet users, but you’ll get even more traffic through it.
How to Join
The first step is to contact your local Chamber of Commerce and request a membership pack. This will include all the information you need to know about fees, community involvement, networking opportunities, and other details. You can then meet with your local membership director and decide how to proceed further if it sounds right for you.