There’s an interesting discussion that pops up at virtually every Chamber and Association we work with.  Invariably, we’ll ask to see the marketing materials the organization is using to promote itself or the CEO will offer them up and ask for advice on how to make them better.  In fact, when we’re working on a  Membership Campaign with a Chamber, the Achievements and Benefits document is one of the very first things we want to see.  Grab yours for a second so we can take a look at it together.  It’s OK…I’ll wait.

Got it?  GOOD!  My guess is that very near the top will be some mention of your networking events, ribbon cuttings and other opportunities to get connected within your local community, right?  I just went and grabbed an example off the internet from a Chamber I’m familiar with.  This isn’t their COMPLETE list, but you get the point.  The PROMOTION and EXPOSURE items and NETWORKING EVENTS and ANNUAL EVENTS are all listed right up top, with things like ADVOCACY and COMMITTEES way below the fold.  Does your document or web site look like this?

member-info

If I were consulting this Chamber, the first suggestion I’d make is to reorder these bullets.  Let’s look at the FOUR SIMPLE STEPS I’d recommend to them (and maybe to you, too?) to instantly improve the quality and effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

  1. List EVERY benefit your Chamber offers to its members.
  2. Bullets are great, but show me NUMBERS!  I want to see the impact of the work you’re doing.  If you have an active role in Economic Development, tell me how many dollars of impact your efforts have made.  Tell me how many jobs you’ve brought to town and how much that equates to in annualized salaries.  Tell me how many children you’ve been able to reach towards closing the skills gap or how many dollars in scholarship money you’ve awarded.
  3. Identify how many people (or what percentage of your community) have been directly or indirectly affected by each listed item.   Remember that we work for ALL business-owners in our community, whether they’re a member of the Chamber or not.  We want to know how many PEOPLE have been affected or will be affected by your efforts…not just how many MEMBERS.
  4. Reorder your list to put those items that affect the largest number of people (economic development and advocacy) first and those that affect the smallest number (usually your ribbon cuttings and then your networking events) last.

Once that’s done, your materials will be FAR more effective.  Why?  It’s how we function as humans.  How many listings do you click on when you do a Google search?  If you’re like 95% of us, the most you’ll click on is three before determining you’ve searched for the wrong terms and you’ll start again.  The same is true for your prospect in reading your materials.  If only 8%-12% of our members will ever attend our networking events (and far smaller percentages for ribbon cuttings), why would we put those things at the top of the list of our benefits?  We immediately risk losing 90% of those who even begin to read them.  Start with the things that have the greatest chance of interesting your prospect and end with those that have the smallest.

It’s your turn!  We want to see YOUR Benefits and Achievements document.  Head over to the Membership180 Facebook page and share yours with us, or comment below with a link to the online version.  We’d love to give you some kudos where they’re deserved and maybe some direction if need be.  And remember, if there’s ANYTHING we can do to support your efforts, or those of your organization, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Have a GREAT day!