The Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce is introducing a new Web site which brings businesses an affordable opportunity to subscribe to an enhanced, online membership directory.
For $250 per year — less than a dollar a day — subscribers will get their own “mini-site” within the chamber’s Web site. Mini-sites will include a business description, attractive photos of facilities or products, client testimonials, invitations to events and more.
The new Web site will also strive to provide quick access to information about city or regional issues that affect local businesses.
“This idea has been percolating about six months,” said Greater Redmond Chamber CEO and president Chris Hoffmann.
She and her staff researched around 200 other chamber of commerce Web sites to see what works and doesn’t work. One they especially liked was the site for Peoria, Ariz., Hoffmann said.
She elaborated, “This is a fairly sophisticated audience (in Redmond). We want them to be able to easily see what is going on with the state and county, with regard to taxes and other business issues. We made the decision to put it online with an interactive data base and give subscribers the ability to promote their businesses and make changes often, add new photos, special promotions and so on.”
The Greater Redmond Chamber publishes a print membership directory. But it’s becoming less popular to do that from an ecological standpoint. Furthermore, that type of directory is static, Hoffmann noted.
With the new Web site, subscribers will have rotating “cameos” on the home page and room on a second, interactive page to display more photos and information.
“Quickly and easily, the businesses can change their information, bring it up-to-date,” said Hoffmann. “The company doing this is Tika Logic. They’re Microsoft retirees who’d like to do a template for chambers that is unique but user-friendly.”
She believes this approach will benefit the individual businesses and Redmond’s economic vitality as a whole.
“We have about 500 members but represent about 56,000 employees and want to emphasize business retention — promote them and keep them current,” said Hoffmann.
An obsolete Web site can send a negative impression to viewers. So to make sure the mini-sites are fresh and engaging, Carla Johnson, director of communications at the Greater Redmond Chamber will monitor them and can offer suggestions on how to improve them. Subscribers will also get feedback on how many people visit their mini-sites.
“We’ll be able to measure the hits … and collect data on what our Web site is doing,” said Hoffmann.
She is confident that the mini-sites will be well-received by consumers and therefore, helpful to local businesses.
“People respond to music, moving pictures, attractive graphics,” Hoffmann stated.
The main goals were to “make advertising a little more personal … more like an infomercial, and to make this very affordable,” she said.
A test site will be up within the next two weeks, Hoffmann concluded.
To see samples of mini-sites that have been created for some member businesses, visit http://redmondchamber.org/index.php?page=2010_Directory
To subscribe to the Greater Redmond Chamber’s new, enhanced membership directory, e-mail Danielle Lynch at email@example.com or call (425) 885-4014 extension 303.