Cheryl Viola, Jerome Chamber of Commerce #02

by | Dec 23, 2020

Topics include:

  • 6-week Online Leadership Program
  • Content-value chamber luncheons
  • Restaurant Guide for truckers in print & Facebook
  • Industry of the week
  • Weekly radio spot for visibility

Cheryl Viola MBA, Executive Director of the Jerome Chamber of Commerce in Idaho, shares her chamber’s creative approach to creating value and generating non-dues revenue ideas.

With just 180 members and Cheryl as the sole staff person, this chamber must be entrepreneurial and leverage as many external resources as possible to create non-dues revenue.

Listen to the full discussion here:

Watch the full discussion here:

Connect with the Guest:

Cheryl Viola: LinkedIn

Jerome Chamber of Commerce

Key Takeaways:

You will learn these non-dues revenue ideas:

  • A 6-week online leadership program done several times per year
  • Moving to content-value chamber luncheons
  • Leveraging print and Facebook for truckers’ dining guide
  • Cozy way to give visibility to local industries
  • How create chamber visibility with local radio spots


Full Transcript

Welcome to more non-dues revenue, a series of seminars sponsored by chamber marketing partners, where we interview Chamber of Commerce visionaries, and discuss their creative entrepreneurial strategies for generating non-dues revenue. I’m Ed Burzminski, president of Chamber Marketing Partners. Now let’s get started.

Ed Burzminski 00:19
Our guest today is Cheryl Viola, Executive Director of the Jerome Chamber of Commerce in Jerome, Idaho. Cheryl came to the drum chamber in March 2018, specifically to provide membership growth, drive non-dues revenue, develop and introduce new programs to enhance benefits and help rebuild the image of the chamber within the community through a variety of initiatives. Prior to her work at the drum chamber, Cheryl was executive director at the Dickinson Area Chamber in North Dakota, who she likes the cold climates. Cheryl holds an MBA in marketing from North Central University. And we’re excited to have Sheryl with us on the morning news revenues Zoominar Welcome, Cheryl.

Cheryl Viola 01:04
Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.

Ed Burzminski 01:07
I do want to share something with you about Cheryl.

Ed Burzminski 01:11
Cheryl is an amazing early morning riser. She is at the gym at 345. Every morning. Can you tell us a little bit about why you do that.

Cheryl Viola 01:24
Um, It actually stems from easily time in my schedule with kids and stuff like that, that to make it work. But I actually went on a very big weight loss journey about 10 years ago. And so very motivated. And I’m actually there six days a week. Saturdays, I’m not there quite as early, and Sunday’s are my day off.

Ed Burzminski 01:45
What was the end result of your weight loss? How much did you lose?

Cheryl Viola 01:49
over 150 pounds

Ed Burzminski 01:51
Wow, that is amazing. Now that’s dedication. And that’s commitment. And that is going on a journey. So let’s jump right in.

Ed Burzminski 02:00
Cheryl, what’s your chamber like? And how many members do you have? How many staff? What’s your community like and things like that. Tell us about that.

Cheryl Viola 02:10
Jerome is a small bedroom community about 10 miles west of Twin Falls, Idaho. We are just over 10,000 people in population. And we have currently have 172 members that just picked up a brand new member about an hour ago.

Cheryl Viola 02:27
As far as staff goes, it’s just me, person, staff of one. I’ve got 10 board members and about 22 active chamber ambassadors, staff of one, it’s just me.

Ed Burzminski 02:43
What time to get to the chamber in the morning about 7am What time do you leave? Ah, that depends.

Ed Burzminski 02:50
I understand.

Ed Burzminski 02:52
So Cheryl, so many of us these days are making a buck a nickel at a time and you had to get really creative with non-dues revenue when the pandemic hit. Tell us what you were facing and what you did.

Cheryl Viola 03:05
Well, it’s just like all the other communities with the pandemic, the first thing that we’re facing is trying to make sure that both of our met our members and our non-members, were aware that the chamber was there for them that we were in this together, and how we can help continue to drive people to the businesses during this timeframe.

Ed Burzminski 03:28
And so I understand that you created like a restaurant guide or dining guide for truckers.

Cheryl Viola 03:34
Yeah. Well, it kind of came about because like you mentioned in my introduction at that I was brought in specifically because the chamber needed a rebranding and a rebuilding in the community. So one of the supply chain trucking companies in the area who has not been a chamber member for many years, because they have lost faith and confidence had reached out to me and said, We have truck drivers, and they want a hot meal and we can’t get them into the drive throughs what can you do to help?

Cheryl Viola 04:05
Which then I took it upon myself and I was working from home at this point to call every one of the restaurants in the community both chamber members and non-members and created a simple graphic that listed the business alphabetically and then had like a bullet point system where it was what their pipe operation was where they where they open for in restaurant dining where they open for drive thru only if they had drive thru only How could they accommodate the truckers and that was really before the curbside really took off. And so we had some of our businesses jump up and say hey, we got to trucker have them call in. We won’t be have someone out there to meet them with their food. We even had a brand new restaurant opened up in the middle of the pandemic.

Ed Burzminski 04:52
A brand new restaurant. Yeah, that’s challenging, but awesome. So okay, so you’ve got this restaurant guide out there. How did you let people know?

Cheryl Viola 05:04
Social media, as you said, my MBA is in marketing. So we targeted we have a weekly newsletter that we have over 400 subscribers on. And the four social media channels that we use the most Facebook and Instagram are the biggest in this area’s southern Idaho, LinkedIn and Twitter is not quite as big.

Cheryl Viola 05:25
And so we targeted the social media outlets and blew it across them several wait times. And we ended up with over 13,000 engagements on Facebook alone, just on the restaurant guide

Ed Burzminski 05:39
13,000 engagements. So that means truckers and restaurants…

Cheryl Viola 05:44
People both shared in reshared. They viewed it, it just picked up traction like you wouldn’t believe. And so it was an ongoing thing during the lockdown, because things would change. So we would go in and update it and rebroadcast it several times over.

Ed Burzminski 06:02
So okay, I guess this is kind of a silly question. But how is it benefiting the local businesses?

Cheryl Viola 06:07
Well, obviously, for the local businesses, specifically, the people who thought that the restaurants were closed down, it kept, you know, the restaurants opened, some of them did have to change their hours down and you know, drop to lower hours and stuff, but it still kept them somewhat functioning. We didn’t have anybody completely shut down.

Ed Burzminski 06:26
Did you lose any businesses? Any restaurants?

Cheryl Viola 06:28
Thankfully, no, we have not.

Ed Burzminski 06:30
That’s great. Is it currently monetized? It’s a generating revenue for the chamber,

Cheryl Viola 06:36
Not at this point, because once again, the part of the strategy with my board of directors was once again rebuilding the confidence in the community. And we saw it as an opportunity to attract new businesses and pick up some of the ones who had lost faith and had dropped their membership. Specifically, like the company that reached out to me and said, Hey, we need help, what can you do?

Ed Burzminski 06:58
So it’s really a program to benefit all business, particularly restaurants in your community that were the hardest hit. You saw a need. You talk to somebody who had a need you created a solution for a problem. And it’s created visibility and engagement for the chamber. How do you see it being monetized in the future? Or can it be monetized?

Cheryl Viola 07:19
Well, definitely, it can be because we can reach out to some of our members and some of the companies that benefited from this restaurant guide, and approach them for sponsorship dollars so that we can continue to circulate it. You know, throughout social media, we can have it printed and have it so that when people call for relocation packages, it’s thrown in there as well.

Ed Burzminski 07:40
Well, like you, I’m a marketing guy. And that is a beautiful, great message for when the pandemic is at, well, any crisis but when this pandemic is over the chamber, listen to the needs of the community responded with a solution to a problem. And thankfully, well, hopefully no restaurants will be lost once this is all done. And you created a way to keep business flowing to restaurants. What a great success story for the chamber and the chamber to toot its own horn. A lot of chambers don’t like to toot its own horn. But that is a great story to tell. That’s a great membership tool to tell later. Thank you it. So I understand that you created a revenue generating non-dues revenue generating program a six week online leadership series, six weeks, how did that come about?

Cheryl Viola 08:31
How did that come about? For the all the listeners and the viewers on this podcast it came about when I first came to this chamber, I partnered with our local radio station, communication station and we I got on to three local stations doing what we call chamber chats. And chamber chats was an opportunity to go and talk on three different stations and give a quick business tip, and then talk about chamber events and upcoming community events on the air. And with that, I’m always trying to find content for the chamber chat, something that was going to be relevant to the listeners, we really honed-in on that the real need in this area was to target the soft leadership skills, those skills that the employers were saying that were missing in their new hires when it comes to active listening, how to network properly, and those types of stuff. So

Cheryl Viola 09:22
I’m constantly reading professional development leadership books. And in the process of doing that, I stumbled across a book that I absolutely fell in love with. It was a really fast, easy read. And I thought this would be a fantastic way to monetize some things and offer this I could do it in six weeks because the way the chapters were laid out and make it modeled almost like a book club but more interactive. So we started marketing. We called it ignite the leader in you and the book that I came across is called “Spark how to lead yourself and others to greater success.” This is my copy with all my notes. Well, if you can see that.

And so I read it through once thinking I was going to use it for the chamber chat, like the content, so much read it through a second time, reached out to the authors and said, Hey, I want to use this as a leadership series, can you give us a discount on the books, and one of the authors emailed me back and said, We’d be happy to help you and gave me a great discount. And then they had a slide deck prepared on their website that I then downloaded and added my own slides and additional content to it, marketed the heck out of it, we had some one company send six people from the same organization to it.

And to make it beneficial, they each got their own binder with my own marketing stuff on it with the with the six weeks and the reading assignments and the handouts to start off with because when I said it was interactive, they had reading assignment. So I had all their email addresses. So before the first week, I emailed them all individually and said, We’re so excited to have you in this program. Would you please read the introduction in chapter one? Have you prepared to talk about it? At the training session, we partnered with local library because that was when we were, it was mid, the mid early fall, I guess, end of August, early September that we ran it. So we could meet in person and I had eight participants. So we partnered with the local library and use one of their meeting rooms and had the social distancing. And, you know, we utilize the technology that way and got it started.

So, you know, like anything else, when you start a leadership series, and you get a brand new group, the first couple sessions are kind of quiet people, you know, aren’t willing to share, which is why you have to have your additional stories and experiences to kind of help in questions to to get them talking. And speaking. By about halfway through the course we were getting some great dialogue in the discussions to really help garner and help them do not only develop these leadership skills, but one of the neat things about the handouts is it talks about some of the handouts included things like for them to do to go back to their teams and say, Okay, in this week’s leadership thing, I just learned this concept, and then encourage them to talk about it within their organizations to try and be able to troubleshoot to tackle some of the challenges that they are within their teams.

Ed Burzminski 12:36
What kinds of businesses participated?

Cheryl Viola 12:39
I had …southern Idaho is a huge egg area, we’ve got several dairy processors, and that includes great big companies that produce the way that used in your protein smoothies, shakes down to actual, we’ve got Dairygold, it’s a is a big company here, we’ve got a cheese manufacturer that actually put you know, makes cheese on site and ships it out. So what one of the companies involved was one of these food industry ones in the dairy industry. And they had sent six people and their HR person reached out to me and said, We don’t have anything in this area. It’s different than even what the twin Chamber of Commerce is offering. At the price point of $180 per participant, they said would you be willing to give us a discount, so I gave them five, sixteenths for the price of five.

Ed Burzminski 13:38
Wow. And it made money?

Cheryl Viola 13:43
It made money because the other company that participated was one of the big local banks had their one of their marketing person in. And then one of the other cheese manufacturers had one of their marketing people in the session. And one of the reasons I liked this book so much is because it was the chapters were so easy to read. It wasn’t something that was going to, you know, you end the workday and you’re going “Oh man, I gotta read my chapter for this session”. And it’s grueling and boring. And you’d have a hard time staying focused on it. They’re sort they’ve got great stories in them, and it actually made it fun to read.

Ed Burzminski 14:22
So it sounds wonderful. It sounds like some of you, you found that book. But now tell me six weeks. Now normally these leadership series are take months. I mean, I’ve seen them at major Metro chambers and either other chambers every six months or so, why six weeks, and how could you condense it all down to six weeks?

Cheryl Viola 14:41
Well, like I said, it was the way that they had broken down their chapters, like for example, you know, one of the chapters is on accountability. And it talks about how to empower your people to take ownership and be accountable, whether it’s for successes or failures. And like I said, that was very One of the, you know, the huge things that I’ve noticed in my chamber chats that that the industry will all industries are really needing is really discussions on all of those soft skills. And how do we, you know, translate that into, it’s okay. You know, it’s okay to say I made a mistake, it’s okay to say I failed. What can I learn from this because what we’re noticing is, when we started this a lot sooner,

I had done a bunch of research on the multi-generational workplace. And we found out the disconnect with communication styles, and that some of the younger generations meaning the millennials, and the Gen Z-ers and stuff coming into the workforce, we’re so afraid of admitting to failure that it was causing roadblocks in businesses. And that’s one of the reasons why the research is showing that they jumped from job to job so quickly, because they don’t want to be seen as failing. And how to get them to break past that to see it as a growth opportunity.

Ed Burzminski 16:00
How many generations are in the workforce right now?

Cheryl Viola 16:03
Right now, there’s currently five different generations in the workplace. And it’s the first time in history that they’ve had that many in one work in one setting. And when you think about it, you know, you’ve got your baby boomers, Gen Xers or millennials, you’re a Gen Z. But you’ve also got a few of the traditionalist that are still in the, you know, their mid 80s that are still in the workplace. And that’s where that that last generation sits in.

Ed Burzminski 16:29
So there’s, if I if I hear you correctly, there’s kind of like a disconnect, or could be a disconnect in communication across all of those generations in the workplace.

Cheryl Viola 16:38
Well, absolutely. I mean, when you think about, you know, you taking your traditionalists and your baby boomers, technology wasn’t even around and everything was handwritten. And communication was telephone and face to face, you know, and then you get the brand new young generation, and I’m going to speak for my teenagers at home, everything is texting, right? heaven forbid, you want eye contact, it just doesn’t happen.

Ed Burzminski 17:05
That’s a skill. I think that in the new young generation is being lost. And chambers do an excellent job of networking, but having that ability to connect the knowledge of how to network, what is networking, and just that ability to have a one on one conversation. So through that leadership program, how does that address the leadership, addressing those communication styles?

Cheryl Viola 17:35
Let me give you an example of an experience I had when I was in North Dakota, I had a we had a business after hours. And I had met this young sales person who had just come come into her position. And she’d come into the chamber and wanted to be involved and you know, was trying to do that outreach. And so I invited her to come with me to the next business after hours. And that’s key.

Cheryl Viola 17:57
First of all, if your business after hours, are struggling with attendees, it’s always the same people, you need to empower your people to say I challenge you to invite somebody else to come with you. And so I you know, I get there because I’m really setting up and I’m networking and visiting with people and I see this, this young sales executive walk in the door and stand against the wall, like a wallflower. And I walk up to her and because we’d already started to build build a relationship, I kind of hooked my arm through hers. And I said, No, Andie, this is not how you meet people. And I kind of led her to a table with a bunch of other people, the president of the local university and some of the other people who are having a conversation, I waited for them to have a pause when they made contact with me. And I said, I want you to meet Andy from such and such communications company. But that skill set with not knowing how to approach a person and say hello, she’d never been taught. And so once I guided her to that and taught her how easy it is. Then the next business after hours, I noticed that she was much more comfortable and just going up and approaching people.

Ed Burzminski 19:04
Okay, so what you’re describing is like so 2019! But in today’s new reality, how do you address that with somebody in an online way or in a professional way online to reach out to people? Is there a way that you can train them through your leadership program or elsewhere to engage?

Cheryl Viola 19:26
Well, yeah, we were talking before we started the podcast about how the zoom meeting thing is really connecting people across the country in a way that we’ve never had it before. So once again, as you’re listening and viewing and taking notes, if you are then you’re going to make a note of somebody else’s, you know, comments and say, hey, I want to meet up with that person because I like what they said. How can I reach out to you? You know, we just utilize it in a variety of different ways. For you know, those who follow Frank Kenny on the timber professionals on Facebook, you see a lot of people saying, Can you send me information? Here’s my email address and, and I’ve been able to meet other chamber executives from across the country where we have our own separate meetings, because we found that there was a commonality and some of our challenges and be able to pick each other’s brains that way.

Ed Burzminski 20:16
That makes sense. So getting back to your the leadership program, its six week program, because it’s six weeks, do you? How often do you see yourself doing that during the course of the year,

Cheryl Viola 20:29
I would love to initiate initiate it three times a year to start with, I have had some of the other businesses expressed interest on doing a special one in house just for their company. But once again, with the pandemic and with them restricting down how many people can be in their conference rooms and changing their shifts around that hasn’t happened yet. But I have had expressed interest from two other big dairy manufacturers that does what they want to do.

Ed Burzminski 20:56
Okay, so people in the audience who wants to know more about the six week online leadership series, if you want to type “I do” in the comment sections, and we’ll work something out with Cheryl, because she seems to have put this together into a program. And if that would be a benefit to you. Again, just type in? I do let us know. So Cheryl, with your marketing background, you know how important it is to be visible. But visibility doesn’t directly convert to cash right away? What does visibility look like for a business? And more importantly, what does visibility look like for chamber?

Cheryl Viola 21:31
Visibility for business, first of all, is getting your name out there, and so that people recognize their logo and their name, when we’ve had businesses first come into the area. So let me pick on the company, the restaurant that just opened up in the middle of pandemic, they had the most brilliant marketing strategy I’ve ever seen, they targeted only all on social media, because everything was shut down. And they would do little videos and all sorts of things.

They instantly opened up when they actually had their official opening, with curbside pickup only. And it was really about getting involved in getting your name out there a lot. One of the advantages, as you know, as chamber professionals is the value of being a chamber member is the fact that people will come to chamber members first. And doing what you can as a chamber member, as a chamber to highlight the businesses in your area. And we’ve done that with different ways.

I have a program called business of the week, where we highlight one of our members each week, we do a picture with them, they’ve got this big sign they get to proudly display it’s kind of like a traveling trophy. They also get mentioned on the three radio shows that I’m on the one of the radio stations will even do a free interview for them. So there’s all different ways that the chamber can help promote the business. So to help give them visible visibility so that if somebody the community goes, Oh, yeah, I heard about that business, but where they hear it from.

Ed Burzminski 22:57
So with that business of the week, I understand that you pivoted from business of the week to industry of the week. Why?

Cheryl Viola 23:03
Because during the lockdown, we couldn’t get into the actual businesses, a lot of the businesses wouldn’t let me in, or you know, vice versa, my board president said, I don’t want you out in the community, we want to keep you safe. So we converted it to the industry of the week. And so the first one that we targeted were the supply chain, specifically the truck drivers to say, Hey, we did this special graphic thing, we want to do a shout out to our superheroes. And this week, superheroes are our truck drivers in the supply chains, because without them, we wouldn’t be able to be up and functioning regardless of what your business is because you still got to get product shipped in and shipped out.

Ed Burzminski 23:42
Got it. Now, prior to the pandemic, starting when we were still doing, you know, in person events, you had talked about changing your chamber lunches from being to becoming more like content value chamber lunches, when we get back to doing that kind of stuff. This is very interesting. Can you tell us what that content value chamber lunch is?

Cheryl Viola 24:04
Well, yeah, when I first got here, once again, it was like I said, a small bedroom community and their chamber lunches were really poorly attended. We’re talking 10 or less people, most of them are chamber ambassadors that attended. And it’s like this isn’t very good, because what they would do is they would target a chamber member who would come in and talk about their business. Well, that’s fine and good to learn more about the business, but it wasn’t attracting the right type of people to grow the lunches and to really make a profit off of the lunches. So once again, I copied some of the things that I hit done in North Dakota. And one of the first things that he introduced and I know a lot of you other chambers do this was I did a state of the city. They hadn’t done one in this bedroom community before. So you know, had reached out and he got ahold of the city administrator, you know, the chief of police and we really, you know, targeted on certain things to have this presentation.

Cheryl Viola 24:55
And so that was the first one and then from there, it kind of snowballed and realize that that people want good quality content.

Cheryl Viola 25:02
Some of our better attended ones was when we had a presentation of this was when people start coming to me, I don’t have to go to speakers, they come to me. So our local public health district found out that I was doing these lunches and they said, We want to do a presentation on baby. I thought perfect. Let me see what I could spot you in? Well, we had the guy come in and do a presentation on vaping and inform people on really what we had no idea on. huge success, then that snowballed into getting a hold of the chief of police and having him do one on drugs in the community.

Cheryl Viola 25:34
Because once again, a lot of people don’t realize what’s in their own community, or state of the city, we had so many speakers lined up that we broke it apart, and then did one called state of education, where we had the local college president in we had the superintendent for the school district. And we had some of the private school principals talk about what’s going on in their educational institutions and where their growth is going. And once again, those are much better attended. So it really is, once you do the first, you know, one or two people will start coming to you when the community realizes that, hey, these chamber lunches are doing something that I’m gonna get value out of, like you said,

Ed Burzminski 26:14
Makes sense. So speaking of going back to in person, you did something recently, you had 100th anniversary banquet that was in person, yeah, during a pandemic. And I understand you made money from that. But tell us, tell us a little bit about that. And why did you choose to go and do that in person? And how did you keep people safe?

Cheryl Viola 26:38
Well, first of all, to give a little bit of history, the 100th anniversary banquet was scheduled to run the night that this state was shut down. Oh, boy. So you come into work that morning. And the first thing you have to do is start canceling everything and making sure that it will the attendees know what’s going on. We’d had a biggest pre registration ever, in the history of this small community. Partly, I think it was because of the work they’ve seen the chamber doing and that we have been changing that image.

Cheryl Viola 27:11
But also because it was it was the 100th anniversary, people were very gracious and understanding. So pause that, you know, fast forward, it’s six months later, when you’re going how are we going to do this banquet? How are we going to get these awards out? we randomly selected a date the very first weekend in October, which was a good choice for us. Because once again, we were open up to stage three at that point. And we had, you know, put things in place where we had little hand sanitizer bottles to on every table, we had the masks available, we encourage people to wear masks, and they just had the tables more separate apart from each other. But because of the number of attendees that we had, we’d even picked up additional registrations because we rebranded it as well. When we first started branding it for the march event, we had it a different name and a different theme.

And to make it something fresh, we completely rebranded it and said okay, we’re still going to do this. And we combined because we had to cancel the golf scramble, we had to cancel another big fundraising event, we combined a couple of events into this one, and said, okay, it’s not only the awards banquet this time, but it’s also going to be a auction and fundraiser. And we partnered with somebody else and got in some really big ticket items, like some special trips and things like that. We had 227 people pre-registered and about 200 show up.

Ed Burzminski 28:39
Well, that’s awesome. And during this time, so it sounds like people really are wanting to get back to the old ways of doing things. And kudos to you for being able to do that safely. So it sounds like, like so many chambers, you were faced with a challenging situation. You took an entrepreneurial approach, you created something new, you created new opportunities. And there are opportunities now to monetize them to generate more money out of them, and to do more frequently, which is absolutely incredible. So what are your thoughts briefly about generating both dues and non-dues revenue going forward?

Cheryl Viola 29:18
Well, you’d use you know, revenue. First of all, is all the chambers No, your dues revenue really is your bread and butter with your operating costs for operating costs, right? When it comes to your non-dues revenue. The biggest thing is, is mixing it up and keeping things fresh. When I was in North Dakota, the focus was to really change on community events and to really pull that community sense into the businesses which benefits the businesses because that’s how they get their sponsorship, email, right. And so when I was in North Dakota, we had retired some tired old, annual events that just weren’t producing very well and then had created brand new ones that became Came wildly successful.

And it’s just a matter of having people overcome that fear factor. First of all, you’ve got those silos, you’ve got those people in every community who’s like, it’s never been done before. We’ve always done it this way we can’t change. And it’s getting the partnership in with the right people who will help support you in making that change. In North Dakota, we started the Festival of trees, and one of my greatest supporters was the brand new university president who had come in from out of state. And he was a huge supporter. He was also knew he wasn’t one of the old boys club and was able to really help push and support things moving forward. And some of them are going well, let me try, you know, if they fail, we fail. But let us know. Let us try.

Ed Burzminski 30:49
Make sense? Well, Cheryl, thank you so much for your insight and sharing your experience with us. Judi Hays, who’s been monitoring our QA. Judi, do we have any questions for Cheryl?

Judi Hays 31:03
Um, one question that came up and you may have covered the shuttle but I’ll ask it again is, can you share some of the things you do for retention?

Cheryl Viola 31:13
I don’t know about the other chambers. But we have been very blessed. I just I’ve been in the process of getting all of my dues renewed for this year, and I haven’t had any last come out. The biggest thing with retention and like I said, When I came to this chamber in southern Idaho, it was a matter of rebuilding it is making sure that if you have to rework your membership packages, and that’s one of the things I did is I switched from paying by employee count to a tiered membership thing where we added in additional value. So some of the value that we added in on one of the membership tiers was we went to a marketing membership tier, which is about a $600 a year investment. But we threw in X amount of chamber lunches, free tickets with it. So depending on how your chamber is marketing and your events, what can you do that’s going to add value in the different tiers where they’re going to say hey, I you know, think this is great, and we wouldn’t have a problem paying this higher tier price because we’re getting this these extra benefits in it. You know, and some of them you have to offer for free to begin with, so to get people excited about it.

Ed Burzminski 32:25
Well, Cheryl, thank you very much for being here today. And thank you to Judi Hays for assisting. I’m Ed Burzminski for Chamber Marketing Partners, www chamber marketing partners.com helping chambers of commerce generate substantial non-dues revenue from publications.

About the interviewer:

Ed Burzminski is President/CEO of Chamber Marketing Partners, Inc., a publishing project management and consulting firm helping chambers of commerce generate substantial non-dues revenue from publications without using a turnkey publisher.  CMP’s unique model gives chambers total control, full financial transparency, utilizes local vendors and lets the chamber decide how much money to make.  Learn more….


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