Why You Should Join the Chamber of Commerce

SEO Design Chicago is a digital marketing agency. We know how to build brand awareness and market our services through digital means. But one of our favorite tactics seems like old-fashioned marketing –  no internet connection needed. In this post, we want to tell you why joining your local chamber of commerce is a great marketing strategy. It has a lot of non-digital perks. But oddly, your chamber of commerce can boost the quality of links on your website, and who links to your website. This boosts your ranks in search engine results pages (SERP).

To younger people, the local Chamber of Commerce may seem like something old people belong to. It’s true – there’s a lot of tradition involved with the Chamber of Commerce. This age-old institution has been a cornerstone of business communities for decades.

local chamber of commerce

But that doesn’t mean the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have benefits in this digital world.  In addition to helping you make partners in the community, who may drive business your way, the Chamber of Commerce is a way to drive backlinks to your websites. And driving backlinks to your website is a tried and true way to make your website search engine friendly. SEO is the art and practice of optimizing your website so it appears higher in search engine results pages (SERP). Let’s look at the benefits of joining your local Chamber of Commerce a little closer:


Building a Stronger Local Network

The Chamber of Commerce serves as a place for local businesses to address issues about how to promote businesses in the area, fix problems such as crime and traffic, and collaborate on ways to partner together so everyone benefits.   Joining the chamber instantly connects businesses locally. When businesses connect, great ideas can form. For example, many chambers of commerce sponsor holiday events, like trolleys, so customers can travel from store to store to shop. Networking events and business seminars organized by the chamber provide valuable opportunities for everyone involved. 


Advocacy and Representation

One of the primary roles of the Chamber of Commerce is to be the voice of businesses in the community to the government and corporate authorities that operate at city, state and federal levels. By joining the chamber, a business gains access to an advocate that can champion its interests when new laws and regulations are on the table, or when existing laws and regulations need to be re-examined.  Chambers work tirelessly to influence policies that directly impact the business climate, advocating for favorable regulations and conditions that support the growth of companies within the community. Being part of this collective voice can give individual businesses the strength to address common challenges and work towards a more business-friendly environment. This is especially important in an age when people are staying away from brick and mortar stores more, and are turning towards online shopping. Businesses need a hub, a chamber, to offer a way for them to exchange ideas and fight for them at higher levels of government. Chambers understand that most people still prefer buying stuff in person, especially when it comes to home decor and clothing.


Access to Resources and Expertise

The Chamber of Commerce stores the history of businesses in the area – from those that succeeded to those that closed. So think of them as a library of resources to help your business survive on your block. Chambers hold everything  from market research and industry trends to legal advice and business development strategies. Believe it or not, Google doesn’t hold all information. Chambers often have inside scoops that no one has put online. Many chambers also offer free and paid  workshops, training sessions, and mentorship programs. The best way to learn about business is from other successful business owners. 


 Marketing and Visibility

No one is going to shop at your store or use your services if they don’t know you exist. It’s rule #1. Chambers promote the businesses within their network on fliers, at events, and more.  A Chamber of Commerce provides an effective platform for marketing and promotion because they post about their businesses on their digital channels, and in print products. Many chambers offer exclusive marketing opportunities to businesses in their networks. These include sponsorship of events, inclusion in chamber publications, and access to online directories. When you are listed in a chamber’s online directory, Google recognizes that link. They see it as a “word of mouth recommendation” from a trusted source and boost your website higher in SERP. Being associated with the chamber lends credibility and trustworthiness to a business, signaling to potential customers that a company is good. Being associated with a chamber’s website does the same thing in Google – they boost you too. 


 Cost-Effective Advertising

For small and medium-sized businesses, marketing budgets can be tight. Joining the chamber can be a cost-effective solution to this problem. Chambers often negotiate group rates for advertising space in local media outlets, offering members a chance to advertise their products or services at a fraction of the regular cost. For example, if there is a hyper local newspaper (don’t dismiss the power of these free door-to-door products), a Chamber may be able to get you a cheap ad here. This opens up avenues for businesses to reach a wider audience without busting their budgets.

man is reading local newspapers


Community Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility

In an era when consumers are increasingly conscious of the social impact of businesses, community engagement and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have become integral to a company’s digital reputation. Chambers of Commerce are deeply rooted in the local community, and by joining, businesses can actively participate in community events related to the environment. For example, many chambers sponsor shredding events. At these events, people can bring documents with private information, like social security numbers, to shred them for free. You can have a booth at these events, or simply include your logo on the sign near the shredder. This not only enhances the company’s image but also establishes a sense of goodwill and trust among consumers. You can also work with your chamber to become a drop off spot for electronic goods that need to be recycled. Many people are too tired to drive to electronic recycling centers, which are usually located far from town centers. Your Chamber can help you become a drop off spot. And when people drop off an old computer, they must just come in to buy something. 


Educational Opportunities

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from high school, college or graduate school. Chambers of Commerce provide  a variety of educational opportunities for their members. Some of these are in person and some of these are online. This could include workshops on the latest industry trends, seminars on emerging ways to promote your business online, or presentations from thought leaders in fields like human resources or marketing. By participating in these educational initiatives, businesses can stay ahead of the curve, adapt to market changes, and position themselves as driving forces in their fields. 


Access to Government Contracts and Opportunities

Many government bodies and corporations collaborate with chambers of commerce when looking for potential vendors or partners. Joining the chamber can open doors to government contracts and bigger business opportunities that might be otherwise challenging to access. Chambers often act as intermediaries, connecting businesses with government decision-makers and helping them figure out how to work with them. We’re not suggesting chambers work with WalMart to drive out smaller stores. We mean that when governments have grants for small businesses, chambers can explain how you can apply for them, and secure them. 


Collective Bargaining Power

When it comes to negotiating deals or getting discounts, there’s strength in numbers. Chambers of Commerce often negotiate group discounts on products and services such as insurance, office supplies, and utilities for their members. Or let’s say a group of businesses want to hire a group to perform at a summer festival. Let’s say this group sells t-shirts. They may give a discount if they know their shirts can be sold afterwards at a number of different stores. By leveraging the collective bargaining power of the chamber, businesses can enjoy cost savings that might not be available to them if they fly solo. 


pictures of collective bargaining

Why We’re Part of Our Chamber of Commerce

We’re not just part of our neighborhood chamber of commerce. We’re part of a few of them. Why? As digital marketing experts, we know the benefits. 

SEO Design Chicago is a member of multiple chambers of commerce in the Chicagoland area.  Being part of the community and helping them understand business opportunities in getting found is what we are best at! One reason is that we often send expert SEO consultants to our own chamber meetings, and others. They explain to other businesses why digital marketing matters. Some of these businesses have become our customers. And we’re also good people – we like helping our neighbors. When they do well, we do well.  

Some of these chambers have recognized our work by giving us awards. We advertise them on our website, which helps potential visitors realize, “Hey. These people must be good.”  

These chambers have also listed us on their website, as members and sponsors of events. When they do that, they link to our website. That gives us a “backlink,” or a link from another website to ours. Google, Bing and other search engines monitor how many backlinks you have from other sites to yours. The more you have, the higher your site is ranked in Google. According to Google, links are one of the top factors that influences how highly a website is ranked. Backlinks demonstrate that a website can be trusted by its users and has valuable information that website visitors would find relevant. Backlinks from Chambers of Commerces are particularly valuable, as chambers are esteemed organizations. 

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