One of the questions I hear quite often in my travels working around the country with Associations, Chambers and other membership-based organizations revolves around other vendors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked my opinion about this provider or that service. So, I thought I’d take a shot at providing a few recommendations here. Now, before I do this, a few ground rules:
- Please know that NO business has a 100% satisfaction rating. Some of you may see companies mentioned here that you’ve had a less-than-perfect encounter with. I get it. My recommendation comes from an overwhelming positive response from those folks I’ve spoken with you have used these companies, and from my own observations of their performance.
- No one business can be one-size-fits-all. Some of the organizations I’m about to list have no real direct competition that I’m aware of. The others do…and there are PLENTY of people who are perfectly happy working with those competitors. This is simply MY list.
- In the interest of transparency, I have a vested interest in ONE of the companies I’m about to mention, but I’ll spell that out clearly below. That said, I truly believe in what each of them are doing and in what makes them special.
Fair enough? Grain of salt at the ready, let’s dig in!
ChamberMail is a turnkey, retention-building opportunity that offers your B2C members direct mail marketing to new residents at a FRACTION of the usual cost…half the price of a postage stamp per household reached! There’s no selling on your part, the benefits to your members are substantial, and they can ONLY get it as a member of your Chamber. ChamberMail is FREE to you and can help increase your B2C member retention rate. From my perspective, when a member is paying the Chamber for services it finds valuable, that member is ENGAGED, and we all know that an ENGAGED member is far more likely to stick around.
Chamber Speak provides marketing and communications support for Chambers and for companies (like Membership180) who service the Chamber industry. When we were awarded the contract to work with CIPE on the Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry project, it was Chamber Speak who wrote and disseminated the press release for us. Company President Michelle West is a former Chamber professional herself, making Chamber Speak different from a traditional advertising agency. She understands your mission and the important role you serve in your community. Chamber Speak knows what you do, why you do it, and they understand the difficulties you face in communicating the true value of your Chamber to existing members and prospects alike.
Chamber For Good is a network of local Chambers of Commerce throughout the country connecting local donors to local charities serving local needs. It leverages the strength and credibility of Chambers to raise the visibility of and create relationships for those charities and causes that build our communities and serve those in need. It makes it easy for residents and organizations to give their time, items and financial support to the many great backyard causes, and creates a position for your Chamber as the connector or access point for all sorts of wonderful things in your home town.
FULL DISCLOSURE: As I mentioned earlier, Membership180 and Chamber Nation are part of a joint venture. In other words, I stand to make a little bit of money if your Chamber switches over to Chamber Nation. That said, I’m still including them in this post because of the tremendous value I think our partnership brings to the Chamber industry.
The “Powered by Membership180” version of Chamber Nation includes a 10-step drip email marketing campaign that goes to work IMMEDIATELY. In short, that program will INSTANTLY email your new member with a letter that comes from your CEO, thanking them for joining and giving them some very simple steps (with instructions and links where needed) to get the MOST out of their new membership right away. In all, the program includes ten different touches from your staff and volunteers throughout the first year of the new membership, and it even has steps for EXISTING members as they renew. It allows you to capture our new “Culture of Engagement” plan” and put it to work seamlessly at your Chamber from Day One!
We’ve also built in an industry-exclusive “Engagement Ranking” feature that will allow you to see at a glance the “Engagement Score” of each individual member AND the membership as a whole. We’ve created a scoring system that will give members points for things like event attendance, opening emails, sitting on a committee, volunteering and being elected to the Board. Each of these is weighted so that being a Board member is worth considerably more than simply attending one Business After Hours. This feature will help you identify those members who might be “at risk” for not renewing, and you can then create a plan to reach out to that smaller group of members to work on getting them more engaged prior to their next renewal.
That’s my list! I’d love to hear some feedback from YOU about other vendors you’re working with or have worked with in the past. Perhaps if I can get a few more suggestions, I can do another post on the NEXT 4 Chamber Vendors You Might Not Know!