How can I utilize my membership in the local chamber of commerce to promote my business?
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If you are a business niche that services other businesses, then a membership to a B2B club is ideal. You'll need to be mindful that as a newbie in that club you will have to build some good relationships to be able to get things rolling in the means of referrals.
Once that is up and in place you can enjoy that as one channel of referral for business. DO not think that will suffice! Sorry for the yelling but I see too many small-business owners try to hang their whole marketing strategy on one or two channels.
There are a ton of ways to generate leads for your business, please find more than just a couple, or I fear another casualty of business will occur. If it does show good potential, get a membership and try it for a year and measure your results, it may be good, it may not.
If you are a consumer-driven niche, you're going to have to really evaluate what the chamber offers in the way of benefits to help drive traffic to your business.
I know of businesses that are not members of chambers but certain other business groups that do them much more benefit in the way of driving traffic to their door or phone.
Again, low cost, no cost methods are available outside of what this can offer you. Research this channel to see what its potential is for your bottom line, if they can't measurably show you what you can pull in the way of leads, there may not be too much support for you, the member.
You have many choices besides your chamber that can help you make connections either via referral or direct marketing efforts.
I have not used my chamber of commerce. Because of the niche market I work in I have found that social media has provided me with more than enough business to keep me going.
A chamber just doesn't help my business enough to justify the investment in a membership. There are many more ways now to get your business out there. Go look around--it's out there!