I’m a New Alameda Chamber Member. Now What?
Have you recently joined the Alameda chamber? New chamber membership brings a lot of benefits, but also a lot of questions. We’re here to help and ensure you are as excited a year from now as you are right at this moment, Alameda Chamber member!
Keep reading if you’re overwhelmed by the number of chamber benefits. Find out how you go about exploring the chamber membership components that are most beneficial to you and your business. And learn how to uncover hidden Alameda chamber member benefits you might not know anything about.
Have you been wondering when you’re going to see your first new customer from the chamber? How do you make that happen?
If you’re a brand new Alameda chamber member, there are a few things you should know about maximizing your membership benefits.
A Word About New Chamber Membership
Sometimes you’ll hear that new chamber membership is similar to a gym membership, you need to use it to gain the benefits.
That’s not exactly true.
Regardless of whether you attend a single chamber event, the chamber is still tirelessly advocating for you and your business on a legislative side, ensuring that the voice of business is heard in city council, at the state senate, and on the federal level.
This has been especially important during COVID. The Alameda Chamber took the concerns of business owners to representatives at our state and local levels to ensure they legislators understood the challenges business was facing. That’s difficult to do on your own unless you’re very well connected.
Next, even if you never attend a single networking breakfast, the Alameda Chamber is still referring inquiries about your industry or product to you. Community members and travelers often seek suggestions from the chamber on businesses in town.
Even if you never host a ribbon-cutting, the chamber is there to help you get back on your feet in times of natural disasters and other times of difficulty like this pandemic. It’s not part of a membership benefit. It’s just something we do because there’s a need and we are uniquely connected to business and government. Our hardworking chamber staff and board are here to help in these critical times because we’re a part of the community too.
So, you see you needn’t do anything to partake in the benefits of chamber membership. But if you do, the return on investment for your business will be much richer.
You’re a New Alameda Chamber Member. Now What?
With a new chamber membership, what comes first?
Think about your goals for chamber membership. Why did you join in the first place? The reasons behind your chamber membership will give you some insight into how to make the most of your membership.
Important New Member Advice
- Read what the chamber gives you. When you joined, we gave you membership materials. Take a look at them. There’s important info there.
- Look at the chamber calendar and make note of anything that interests you. We have a lot of virtual events, including 3 signature events a year and several monthly ones.
- Follow our social media feeds. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Next, it’s time to think about what you want from the chamber. Why did you join? Some of the most common reasons include:
- Getting more customers.
- Increasing your reach so more people know about you.
- Improving your reputation or becoming a larger part of the community.
- Meeting like-minded business people.
Or maybe you have your own reason to join.
Whatever it is, the reason you joined, the goal behind your membership dictates what step you should take next to make the most of your chamber membership.
Ways the Alameda Chamber Can Help You Get More Customers and Increase Your Reach
If your goal in joining the chamber is more customers, here are a couple of activities and things you can do right now:
- Attend the next chamber event. Get to know people. Don’t participate with the idea to sell. Join with the idea of how you can be of service to them. Our events are still going strong, virtually.
- Get listed in the membership directory.
- Talk to a staff member (if you haven’t already as part of the membership process) and find out how they can help you get your name out there.
- Be a part of the member-to-member/hot deal discount programs.
- Host a networking event at your place of business. We can’t do this yet but we will soon. In the meantime, you might have knowledge that could shine in a chamber-hosted webinar. Let us know.
- Add valuable comments on the chamber blog or share a special blog post of yours that chamber members could benefit from. Never hard sell your services in blog posts like this. Look for ways to help others.
- Ensure the chamber has all of the pertinent information about your business including hours of operation, address, and specialties. Give them brochures, if that’s allowed.
Ask about any other cool membership benefits you might be looking for.
Improve Your Reputation or Become a Larger Part of the Community
Some new members are looking for something other than more sales, although that may be part of their desire. Some have had PR problems in the past, they’re new to the area, or they just want customers to see them as a valuable member of the community. If any of those are true, a chamber membership is a good investment.
If that’s why you joined you should consider the following activities first:
- Proudly display your member identification.
- Get involved. We have numerous opportunities to volunteer. We have committees (such as the fundraising and marketing committees), special projects, and ambassadorship opportunities. By volunteering you can get to know other businesses on a deeper level.
- Sponsor an event. If you want to get your business name associated with the chamber, sponsoring an event is a good way to do it. The chamber offers a lot of different levels of sponsorships (including new virtual sponsorships) so there’s one that will fit your budget. Our events (and other opportunities) each draw slightly different crowds so talk with us to understand which one fits your ideal demographic.
- Run for the board. While this may not be something you’re ready to take on as soon as you become a chamber member, it is something you might want to (eventually) consider if you’re trying to improve the reputation of your business. The governing board of the chamber is a large responsibility but also attracts some of the community’s most well-connected and influential leaders.
- Host a ribbon-cutting, open house, or anniversary milestone celebration. Another way to showcase your business is through a grand-opening, anniversary celebration, or an open house. We can help you organize one (maybe virtually for the time being) and may even work with the mayor’s office. Check with us to see how each of these special events is handled.
- Host Good Morning Alameda. Our morning networking event is a great way to get your business name out there.
Meet Like-Minded Business People
Another reason to seek a new chamber membership is to associate with like-minded business people. If that’s your goal behind becoming a chamber member, consider the following benefits:
- Join a mentor program. Check with us to see about your mentor/mentee interests. We have some exciting leadership ideas in the works. We can also help put you in contact with peers. Being a business professional these days can be a lonely position. Meeting others in your industry, career level, or those with similar aspirations can be very inspiring.
- Attend networking events. We have several virtual meeting events that are a lot of fun.
- Join the conversation on social media. Become a part of the online community and comment on our Facebook page and other member’s posts. Be helpful. Give compliments. When you do it consistently, you’ll get to know others in the chamber.
- Be part of the Chamber Academy. It’s the perfect way to learn more about the chamber and get involved.
Other Chamber Benefits for Specific Needs
In addition to the goal-oriented benefits listed above, chambers offer a lot more benefits. We offer:
- certificates of origin
- guest blogging opportunities
- sharing news and event announcements through email blasts, calendars, and newsletters
- marketing or social media assistance
No matter why you joined the Alameda chamber, your new chamber membership is full of benefits to help you meet your goals. The best thing you can do for your investment is to get involved in a capacity that helps you advance your business.
We’ve outlined some ideas here but these are only the beginning. In order to get the most as a new Alameda chamber member, make sure we understand your business goals. We can help put you on a path to get there and ensure you get tons of value from your membership.