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Don’t take your Chamber benefits for granted

SUN Columnist

People and businesses join the Chamber for any number of reasons. In the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing some of the benefits that you may not know about or are not taking advantage of.

First and foremost, the Chamber is a membership-based organization. When referring businesses, we refer Chamber members first. Being a Chamber member is being in support of the business community. It is supporting efforts, events and making an extra effort to participate in the business community.

Many people belong to the Chamber just for the referrals that they may receive. Of course, a business referral is a very important part of belonging to the Chamber. This reason is why it is so important for our businesses to take the time to make sure that their business listing is in the right category.

Have you gone onto the Chamber directory and tried to find your organization either by a keyword, your business name or by category? Did you find yourself easily? What does your description say about yourself and your business? Do you list the services that you provide in your business description? Does your description entice someone to make a call to engage your services? If you answered, “no” or, “I don’t know,” to any of these questions, I would ask: when was the last time you checked your business listing? I challenge you to do so this week.

A business listing is free with your membership. Every business receives one free listing with their membership on the website and in the printed directory. However, perhaps your business offers several different services or products. Put yourself in the consumers’ place. If you’re looking for a caterer for your wedding or reunion, would you look under caterer or under restaurant category? If you offer building materials, but you also provide landscaping services, where would you want to list your business? I certainly wouldn’t be just in one place. For a very nominal fee, businesses can list their business under multiple category listings to make it easier for people to find you. As per our statistical data, by far — people look for businesses by category first, then by your individual listing. One piece of business generated from being listed in an additional category would easily be worth your minimal investment.

Did you know that you can also find out how many people are viewing a category, particular key words and even your business? Through the member login, you can track a percentage of the referrals that come from the Chamber. Often the business phone numbers are given out via the printed directory, but you can see how people are finding you. When you get your renewal statement, you are also given the link to view your referrals. When was the last time that you looked at your numbers?

Don’t assume that just because you have a listing, people are looking at it. As a business owner, you need to market your business — that means even through your Chamber business listing. And this is a benefit that is free with your membership.

If you would like some help in understanding how to be listed in multiple categories, need help with your business description or need help in accessing your account to view your referrals or change up your information, please contact membership coordinator Jan Santopietro. She is a wealth of information and can help you help yourself. We can offer the tools, but, as a business owner, you need to use the tools correctly. We look forward in updating some business listings.

Membership news

If you want to find out more about how you can utilize your Chamber benefits, attend the next Maximizing Your Membership class to be held at the Chamber on Monday, Feb. 24. The class is free and lunch is included. The class is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is packed with valuable information. Whether an old or new member — get the most of your membership dollars and find out how we can help you market your business better through the Chamber services.

This week, we welcome back long-time Chamber member Pagosa Realty Rentals with Susan Angelo.

This story was posted on February 13, 2014.