When interviewing for a job, most advisers will tell you not to leave any information gathering up to the hiring manager; as the job candidate you should be providing everything necessary for that individual to make a decision favoring you. Don’t make him or her search out your schooling or level of experience. It’s especially important he or she can see clearly how your past work history and personality will mesh well with the company. Don’t expect the employer to make that correlation. You need to draw it for them. Spell it out in easily digestible phrases and terms.
Retaining member businesses is no different. Don’t leave your members wondering what value you bring to their business. Waiting until renewal time is not the time to remind them either. If your members cannot envision multiple ways in which you’ve made their lives easier and more profitable, you can bet they will probably not renew. Making sure that your members recognize the value you provide does take some work on your part, but membership management software from YourMembership can easily help you keep track of your efforts. Plus since it’s a web-based system, you can access it at any time from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Retaining member businesses is no different. Don’t leave your members wondering what value you bring to their business.
Getting back to basics
Historically, chambers worked to better the local economy attracting businesses and working to retain jobs. A lot of their efforts in state and local government on behalf of business were done behind the scenes. Those days are over. It’s time that your member businesses know what you’ve done and how it affects them directly. If you’ve worked to keep taxes down by fighting against a tax increase, break it down for them in numbers. Let every business know what you have saved them. Put it in a newsletter, tweet it, get the message out. Don’t want to single anyone out? Let them know what you’ve saved them in generic terms. For example, businesses grossing between $25,000-50,000 will save $x, etc.
If you have a member business discount section and are able to poll people who used it — do so. It’s great to offer your members a way to save money and if you can remind them (specifically) how they did this, they can tie a number-value to your offerings.
How much business have you thrown their way? Using a touch log is a great way to keep track of this information. Then make sure you are able to slip it into conversation (either online or in person). You’re merely reminding them of the value you provide. If you can do this throughout the year (instead of just right before renewal) you will remind them how important you are to their business.
Remind members of the meet and greet opportunities they have throughout the year, and if someone passes along information to you about an important connection they made through your event, make sure it stays in their mind. Again a touch log is a great place to tuck this information. It’s organized by members and can be set with reminders for easy follow-up as necessary, and since YourMembership.com’s membership management software is mobile you can access these data stores at your events or anytime on the go. No more tucking scraps of paper into your back pocket hoping you’ll remember to take down the information when you get back to the office.
Remind members of the meet and greet opportunities they have throughout the year
If most of your member businesses find topics like social media or search engine optimization (SEO) confusing, you may want to think about hosting a seminar (online or in person). This provides great value for the attendees and can be measured. A little online research can tell you exactly how much they could’ve expected to pay if they had contracted for something like that privately. Share this number with them.
Your website becomes their website
Another concern for companies with an online presence is SEO. Hosting links on your site to theirs can improve their search rankings should people click on them. This is free or relatively inexpensive (depending on what you charge for displaying their content). Learn more about how design can make your website stand out.
Your member businesses have a lot to worry about as well as multiple demands on their time and resources. Make sure that when renewal times come around that they are able to make a sound decision with all of the cost-savings and added value your Chamber has provided them. It may feel pushy initially but you are providing them a service, one that they will appreciate more and more as they come to understand what it is truly worth.