8 Ways to Increase Sales Opportunities
By Optimizing Chamber of Commerce & Other Professional Membership SEO Benefits
If you’re a member of your local chamber looking to increase sales, you’re in luck. If not, stick around, because the following eight search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategies apply to most professional memberships.
When using best practices, SEO is an affordable way to increase sales revenue and ROI from any affiliation.
The key to generating more revenue from membership investments…
is to optimize all member-available SEO opportunities. Specifically, obtaining all inbound links from your member organization’s marketing efforts. By doing so, you’ll see an increase in your website’s traffic and sales leads.
This is important…
Be sure to use keyword-rich anchor text within the hyperlink from your membership’s digital marketing efforts.
Suppose you own a roofing company. Your hyperlinked anchor text from another website to yours could read — Reliable and Neat Roofing Company instead of www.YourWebsiteAddressHere.com. The former tells search engines what your website is about, increasing your search results.
When hyperlinking, use words your customers will use when searching for products and services like yours — a.k.a., keywords.
Also, it’s important that the sales copy and anchor text used on other web pages match up with the sales copy found at your website. Said another way, if the sales copy on one web page and the content on the other linked page have nothing in common, you could inadvertently hurt your search engine rankings.
The only way to obtain quality, keyword-rich inbound links from your memberships is to be proactive. Specifically, tell your membership marketing staff how to link to your website.
Here are 8 SEO strategies that improve sales opportunities from memberships:
#1 — Ribbon Cutting **This includes non-retail businesses and those that have been in business for some time.
The ribbon cutting is one of the most popular, yet simple, ceremonies that chambers implement to welcome new members. Typically the chamber also invites the local press. The key to optimizing this opportunity is being prepared. At your ceremony you should have, at minimum, a company bio or press release that includes your website address and other social channels. When distributing your bio or press release to the reporter, ask for your URL to be included in the article. To increase the likelihood, mention a “tip sheet” available at your website the reporter can refer readers to. For example, a financial advisor could post at her website, “3 Simple Ways to Save More Money,” or a hairstylist could post, “7 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Keratin Treatment.”
Reporters need a reason to refer readers to your website. Give them one.
In the event a reporter does not attend your ribbon cutting, ask someone to take photos of the event. Then, follow up directly with the business editor or reporter with your press release. Also let them know you have photos. However, don’t just attach and send the photos; ask first. Consider piggybacking onto the chamber’s positive reputation by asking a chamber representative to submit your press release and photos for you.
Be sure to have an electronic version of your press release whereby you’ve included keyword-rich anchor text.
No retail location? No problem.
If you do not have a brick and mortar location, you can still have a ribbon cutting by hosting it at the retail location of another member who sells products and services complementary to your business. For example, if you’re a graphic designer working from home, team up with your local print shop to have them co-host your ribbon cutting.
Been in business for a while? No worries.
Consider the following alternative announcements: rebranding, reopening, under new management, special donation, partnership, community sponsorship, huge sale and so on. An event doesn’t have to be called a “ribbon cutting” in order to attract the media and attendance of your membership’s president.
Remember, most news coverage is archived, allowing your inbound links to live on.
Additional Inbound Link Opportunities Associated with Ribbon Cuttings
Consider the chamber’s other event marketing efforts, whereby you can capture an inbound link to your website:
- Chamber Facebook Page
- Membership Events Calendar
- Monthly Member eNews
- Mayor or City Council Events Calendar (usually a town representative attends ribbon cuttings)
#2 — Job Post
Chambers frequently offer web pages to post member job openings. To maximize this SEO benefit, post an ongoing job opportunity. For example, “At Smith Graphics, we’re always seeking creative and motivated design talent to join our organization.” This way, your inbound link from the chamber’s job post page to your website, where you also have an ongoing job post, becomes a long-standing, almost-archived inbound link.
To increase the credibility of this inbound link, have the link point to a unique page describing your job openings. The similar content from the chamber’s web page to your job-opening-specific page tells the search engines there is a relationship and, therefore, is more likely a reputable and resourceful inbound link.
#3 — e-Newsletters
Most chambers distribute a monthly electronic newsletter. What’s more, most are also archived online. Pay for a small electronic ad that includes a keyword-rich hyperlink to your website.
Keep in mind, the more quality and relevant inbound links to your website, the higher your website will show in search engine results pages.
As an aside, it’s rarely effective to advertise just once in any form of advertising. I always recommend repetition. The digital world is far too cluttered; therefore, repeat, repeat, repeat.
#4 — Business Profile
Most chambers host member profile pages on their website, which you then link to your website. Spend extra time writing a benefit-oriented profile. Minimize feature-related copy; instead, describe how others will benefit from doing business with you. This approach increases the click-through rate from your chamber profile to your website.
Answer your prospect’s most pressing question, “What’s in it for me?” When you do, they’ll be more likely to visit your website. Don’t forget to use keyword-rich anchor text on the hyperlink from the chamber’s website to yours.
#5 — Newspaper Business Profile
Most chambers have longstanding relationships with their local newspapers and online community news portals and receive a dedicated section for chamber member highlights. This space is often used to highlight a new member. Again, follow the same process as the ribbon cutting, including providing a business bio or press release that directs the newspaper’s readers to a helpful tip sheet at your website.
#6 — Partnerships & Listings
Many chambers have deep relationships with local advertising vendors such as: Yellow Pages, town map advertising programs, etc. When these opportunities provide electronic listings (almost all do), be sure to have your contact information and anchor-text-keyword-rich website URL included.
#7 — Chamber Members
Each time you make a professional connection with a chamber member whose business complements yours, ask them if they would include a link from their website to yours.
You just picked up your newly printed brochure from your printer. The printer is also a chamber member.
After commenting on how great your brochure looks, ask the printer if she would provide a link to your website. Caveat: the link is more powerful when the two businesses are complementary. For example, a link from a printer to a graphic designer, or visa-versa, has a high level of relevancy and, therefore, the link is more credible to the search engines.
Equally important is that the link will appear more trustworthy to visitors. This brings me to a very important point: Remember to write for your readers, not search engines. The latter won’t buy from you, only people will.
#8 — Chamber Blog
These days many chambers have a blog. Offer to be a guest blogger, whereby you write a post that includes helpful information for chamber members and the chamber’s website visitors. At the end of the blog, insert your brief benefit-oriented bio and website link. The value of the archived inbound link will surely surpass the time it takes you to write an article.
[Related] If you need help with your writing, consider my freelance copywriting services.
These days, no matter what marketing efforts your membership organizers are implementing, there is almost always an online component accompanying their efforts. The key is to recognize and take advantage of all opportunities that your membership investment affords you.
Can you think of other SEO opportunities made available by membership organizations? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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