Businesses join a chamber of commerce to increase their visibility to potential customers, network with other businesses, and get access to programs and events that will help them increase their market share. Small businesses especially gain credibility by being members as well – a 2012 study by the Schapiro Group shows consumers have a 49% more favorable attitude toward businesses that are members, there’s a 73% increase in consumer awareness and a 68% increase in local reputation, and people are 80% more likely to patronize a business that is a member.
It’s the 21st century, and time you took your chamber digital by using a well-thought out digital signage system for your chamber of commerce to reach people in a dynamic way that will appeal to an audience that is used to getting information visually.
One obvious use of a digital signage system for a chamber of commerce is promotional ads for members. You can save time by creating a simple advertising template for business owners to use, or just publish design guidelines and policies. This way everyone’s content looks good. Or if member companies are too busy to create their own ads, you can do it for them.
You could extend that out to the greater public as well, charging a reasonable fee for ad space on your displays to generate additional revenue without having to raise membership fees. Chamber members could use the system for the same purpose, getting special pricing – such as four free ads a year and a discounted rate for additional ones – which would be another incentive for local businesses to join up. Plus, many places allow chamber of commerce expenses to be tax-deductible for businesses, so any money they spend doesn’t hit their bottom line.
Chambers of commerce often promote or sponsor events for their members. Face-to-face interactions are important for business owners seeking partnerships in their area. These could be public events for meeting potential customers and clients, a monthly mixer for networking with other vendors in the area or updates on local transportation committee meetings. Put messages in your digital signage playlist that remind people of what’s coming up in the area. Adding a short URL code or QR tag makes it easy for people to go right to a dedicated webpage with more details and online registration forms. This also allows you to track how effective your messages are – instant ROI.
Train Your Staff
Education and training are also part of what a chamber of commerce offers. Promote that special guest speaker or offer packages on talks and lectures on professional leadership development. Because video is easy to put into a digital signage playlist, making short how-to videos makes people walking by stop and listen, while also being exposed to other messages on your screens.
Use your digital displays to reinforce key points in your newsletter, and displaying reminders of members-only discounts and services. This helps reinforce the benefits of membership to those who have joined, and might entice a business that is still reticent to pay the annual membership fees. You can also remind people of past and future initiatives you are working on with local government on their behalf. Let them see all of the benefits you’re providing them.
But a chamber of commerce isn’t only about business – ultimately, it’s about the community. Spotlight local leaders and organizations that are members, reminding everyone of who’s in your network. And focus some attention on your own employees – let people put a face to the names of the people who work for them.
You can also use your digital signage system for internal communications. Engaged workers are happier and more productive, and having some dedicated displays for them lets them feel part of the community they serve, and makes everyone feel part of the team. Employee recognition is key element to a happy workplace. You can hold contests to encourage creativity and initiative, such as a reward for the best event proposal to celebrate a member business’ 10th year in operation.
A web-based digital signage system enables you to put displays in multiple locations, and you can update your messages and playlists from any web-enabled device – a computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet. This also lets you send chosen messages to specific screens, or across your entire system.
Digital signage is a powerful tool that connects people to people, and people to organizations. This is the clear next step in connecting member businesses with each other and the public, promoting your members and encouraging more companies to join in.