Local Chamber of Commerce Promoting Your Webinar/Seminar - Any experience?

11 replies
Does anyone have any experience partnering with chamber of commerces to help promote an upcoming offline seminar or webinar geared for educating local businesses? If so, what has your experience been with them? Do they generally respond well to advertising for you? Like possibly sending an email blast out to their list of businesses?

I'd love to hear more about what you guys have done, and what, if anything, has been successful for you related to strategies like this.
#chamber #commerce #experience #local #promoting #webinar or seminar
  • Profile picture of the author localvseo
    I have found it to be a great way to get exposure for your business. I would suggest a few things:

    1) Become a member
    2) Make an appt. with the Exec Director or President to learn more about how the chamber works and to explain your services to them. They will know a lot of the members and can probably make some good introductions once they understand your business model.
    3) Start attending chamber events.
    4) After you have done that I would then offer a special seminar to members. You will have hopefully met some interested people in your services, as well as have an advocate to help bring in other people that could be a good fit. You can offer a special for people attending etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author aaronblevins
      Great suggestions. I'm wondering if a membership is required, or if one would be able to approach the organizations, without being a member, and possibly get them to "partner with me" to educate their members by sending out an invite email with an invitation to an event, such as a webinar or seminar, that would educate their members on a particular subject - I.E. SEO, Facebook, Mobile, etc.

      Any thoughts offline experts?
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      • Profile picture of the author localvseo
        I think you can approach without joining. (Every Chamber has different policies, so worth checking out their site to be informed before you approach). However, their goal is obviously to increase their membership, so you may find better reception and buy-in from the organization if you show you are committed.

        Originally Posted by aaronblevins View Post

        Great suggestions. I'm wondering if a membership is required, or if one would be able to approach the organizations, without being a member, and possibly get them to "partner with me" to educate their members by sending out an invite email with an invitation to an event, such as a webinar or seminar, that would educate their members on a particular subject - I.E. SEO, Facebook, Mobile, etc.

        Any thoughts offline experts?
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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    As a business person when do I get a chance to attend a webinar.

    I went and asked some of my other offline business friends and they said the same.

    Of course if you have good content that is backed by proof etc I might make time. By proof I mean top business people interviews etc.

    Quentin
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  • Profile picture of the author Doug McIsaac
    I've done several classes with my local Chamber and our Downtown Merchants association and you'll get a much better response if you're a member. If they aren't willing to JV with you many of them rent their lists to members for a couple of hundred bucks too.
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  • I've been a public speaker for about 7-8 years and have taught many seminars to the IM/entrepreneur/home business type crowds. A few years back I added offline marketing to my service offering and joined the local Chamber. I have done seminars and webinars for the chamber crowd, and here are my observations.

    While chamber policies are different, they would rather you be a member to teach seminars. Most chambers have many members that would love to promote themselves so for them to give a preference to a non-member does not make much sense.

    In the seminar world, the cost per lead to put people in a seminar can be hundreds per person. In my local chamber I pay couple hundred bucks per year and they fill the room for me (on average 70-80 people) with targeted hot leads! This is the cheapest form of marketing that I can think of. Of course, you have to be pretty decent at speaking and teaching.

    I have gotten good clients from every seminar I taught at the chamber. I just did 2 webinars (one this last week) - and they work well too.

    However, and this is a big "however," all things compared, local business owners do not respond the same as an online crowd. Whereas I have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of products online to people I have never met, it would not work in the local marketplace. These are real people, not internet dwellers like us. So you have to go in with this fact in mind.

    I found that the more relationship you build, the better your close ratio will be. You have to establish yourself as a true authority for local business owners to trust you. This means investing time and effort. I attend the networking meetings and business after hours get togethers. And I enjoy them and I get to meet all kinds of people. But if it's not your thing, you might feel that it's a waste of time.

    Another thing I'll share is that what local owners want is different from the IM crowd. While for years, I have been selling marketing training, I quickly found out that most business owners don't want to learn. They want somebody to do it for them. So you have to change your offer to reflect that.

    To give you an example, last Thursday, I did a webinar on Facebook Timeline changes. I had a mix of both crowds - internet and local. I offered 2 packages at the end. One - do-it-yourself training on using Facebook and the other - do-it-for you custom design and maintenance. I had sales for both packages. Do you care to guess which group bought which? Without fail, local business owners went for the do-it-for-you package. They are too busy running their business to learn how to do this stuff.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Before you join, do your research on all of the chambers around you. Some are cheaper than others and some have "associate" or reciprocal agreements if you are a member of another chamber. Also check their benefits. I know some allow you to get group health insurance if you are a member.
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  • Profile picture of the author DennisM
    GREAT strategies mentioned here but this is what's worked for me...

    I first started with the JV option. I offer 100% of the gate (NO risk for the Chamber) and you get quality leads to follow up on later. Just offer to speak for FREE and again, the Chamber gets to charge anything from free to whatever.

    Here's a quick way to get leads from your local chamber. What I do is just pay for the advertising which could be anything from a banner ad on the site, a physical mailing or inclusion in their e-newsletter, etc. This way, I can target multiple chambers without becoming a member. It costs money but as Strategic stated "the cheapest form of marketing" and is well worth it!

    You can milk this for whatever you can, become a member, get active, etc. or just get leads and close what you can. I chose the latter and landed 2 deals which I felt was worth it from the little time I spent on this so called campaign.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Another thing that DennisM's comments triggered with me is to talk to the chamber about events that they may already need a speaker for. It may not e as long as you might want, but many have monthly meetings that could be a breakfast or a business after hours that they will have a speaker at. You might be able to fill a slot that is currently open.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Try holding several different one session workshops/classes in your community education programs. They usually run at least 2 a year, if not every quarter. How about a class entitled, "How to use facebook(or internet marketing or mobile marketing etc...) to gain 20 new customers in the next week."

    You could do multiple different classes to reach many new people, or have same people sign up for several of your classes(gives you credibility).

    Businesses PAY YOU to show up and learn a bit, but really, its an infomercial for them to pay you even more for your services. Show them whatever presentation and how to. At the end, many will take your card/brochure, some might make an appointment with you to help them right away, some others may try to do it themselves but call you in a week or two to pay you to do it for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
    Looks like I should try and write them articles for email newsletter or website with advice on websites/mobile websites/mobile apps.. It costs 550 euros to join Chambers where I live, steepy, but should be worth it..
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