ChamberMaster is a membership management system used by approximately 20% of Chamber’s of Commerce in the USA. I’m familiar with it because my local chamber, The Fuquay-Varina uses the software to manage multiple features on its website and to manage membership data. As the chair of the marketing committee, I learned that many of our member’s aren’t aware that there are important steps they need to take to increase the SEO (search engine optimization) benefit of their business listing. I’ve provided training numerous times and ultimately decided to post this tutorial on how to optimize your ChamberMaster business listing to improve your search results in ChamberMaster and in search engines. If you are ready, let’s begin.
Since this article was published in 2012 ChamberMaster has updated their systems. While the advice here is still sound, the appearance of your dashboard will be different.
What is ChamberMaster?
ChamberMaster recently announced its 1200th chamber customer and because of that their software is now in use by 20% of all United States Chamber’s of Commerce. The company describes themselves thusly:
ChamberMaster is a product of MicroNet, Inc., a provider of software and networking services since 1986. ChamberMaster was launched in 1998 with the release of member management software designed exclusively for Chambers of Commerce. ChamberMaster helps chambers succeed with non-dues revenue generation, new member recruitment and membership management tools plus member marketing services.
Chamber’s that purchase this software as a service solution can integrate a number of modules to help run their operations and some vital information on their website. ChamberMaster Modules include solutions to manage:
- Member Management System
- Custom Reporting
- Integrated Billing Solution
- Communication Module
- Events Management
- Marketing Tools
- Social Networking
- Search Engine Optimized Website Modules
For the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on the member directory ChamberMaster publishes on each chamber’s website and how businesses can optimize their listing.
How You Optimize Your Business Listing in a ChamberMaster Member Directory
When you join a chamber that uses ChamberMaster the system automatically generates a strong username and password for each member. If you don’t know your’s – contact your chamber representative to get that information, you are going to need it.
Step 1: Log into ChamberMaster
With your username and password in hand head over to ChamberMaster.com rather than your chamber’s website. Look at the top right of the page for the member login link.
The images on the home page rotate, so if you don’t see those smiley people, don’t be alarmed. After you click the link you’ll land on a page that looks like this:
Enter your username and password to access your dashboard.
Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with the ChamberMaster Dashboard
There’s a lot happening on your dashboard. Here’s a quick overview of what it contains. Of course, it should have your business information rather than mine.
From top to bottom you should see the following:
- Your Chamber’s Name and Your business name
- Left navigation area with the following sections:
- Member Info
- Webpage Info
- User Manuals – helpful if you are not comfortable with these types of systems
- Logout button
- Near the bottom of the page is an overview of any advertisments you are currently running
- On the bottom right is a link and a map encouraging you to make sure your map pin is correctly placed.
While there are many options here, again we are going to focus on what areas you need to edit to make sure your online directory listing is optimized.
Step 3: Visit and Edit the Business Info Section
The first link in the membership info section is business info, click on the link to open this section. You’ll want to ensure your business contact information is complete and accurate. Enter any details left out and check for typos.
If your chamber is like mine, this data was entered by a human staff member. They are generally dear and wonderful people, but they are human after all and under a lot of pressure to handle multiple tasks. If you find a typo don’t be upset, just go ahead and fix it up.
Once you have made sure your contact information is all correct go ahead and check the box that says “Use this information on your Chamber Webpage.” Then hit the big SAVE button at the bottom of the page. Though it’s not shown in the picture above it is there.
In the Additional Information section make sure your business’s chamber representative is listed. This will be the person who receives membership related email contacts and other important information such as billing statements. Click the “Edit Employees/Reps page” button for more options.
Step 4: Review Business Category
In the left hand navigation, under Member Info section, find and click the Bus. Categories link. Business categories are controlled by your chamber. You cannot edit this page, but you need to review it an make sure you are satisfied that your business is listed correctly. Your category name becomes part of the title for your webpage in ChamberMaster. If this information is inaccurate, talk with your chamber representative about what other categories are available to you. They have the ability to put you in an existing category or create a new one that is accurate.
The elements that make up the Page Title (a very important SEO element) of your ChamberMaster webpage are these:
- Business Name
- Business Category
- Business Address
- Business Phone number
Step 5: Edit Employee/Rep Information
While your business rep’s contact information may be listed correctly on the Business Info page, it is important to visit this page and check a few boxes. In particular, the ones at the bottom of the page. Review and make sure the personal information for your representative is accurate and up-to-date. You can simply click the “copy business information” link to import the business data. Check the options in the boxes on the right column as appropriate for each contact.
For me it makes total sense to fill in the social media links for each representative. Business marketing on social media is growing by leaps and bounds and this can help drive new followers and connections.
Pay close attention to the “Web Display Options” for your business’s representative. I have checked all options except the “Display this rep’s fax number” because I don’t have a fax machine. Haven’t had one in nearly 5 years. Do people still use them? Of course, make your own decisions about what you display on your business listing. Make sure you hit the save button if you make any edits.
Step 6: Visit and Edit the Webpage Info Section
Okay, this is where you really need to pay attention – there are a lot of important things going on in this section that impact how your business is shown on the internet and how you will (or won’t) be found by potential customers in your community using ChamberMasters’ directory search functions.
We’ll look at four main sections on this page.
1. Business Information
If you followed the earlier steps in this tutorial all you have to do is check the box that reads “Use Business Information” (see below) if, however, your business is headquartered somewhere else and you have a store or operation in this chamber’s area – fill in the local address.
***BIG NOTE HERE****
Don’t overlook the last field of the right column “URL Text!” Put business related keywords in this box. This text becomes the ‘anchor text’ for the link to your business’s website!
This is important for your search engine optimization. Here the definition of Anchor Text from Wikipedia:
The anchor text, link label, link text, or link title is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The words contained in the anchor text can determine the ranking that the page will receive by search engines.
So, choose wisely and keep it brief. For mine, the URL text reads “Internet Marketing and Website Design Fuquay-Varina” which are search terms I’d like my website to be found for (see image below).
2. Add Social Links
More than ever businesses are leveraging social media to service existing customers and reach new prospects. Complete these sections so you can drive those interested to your social profiles.
3: Add Description, Hours of Operation, Driving Directions
You get 200 characters in your description section. Again, add descriptive keywords of your products and services that people would use to find your business in a search engine.
There are 100 character spaces available in the “Hours of Operation” section. Use as many as you need, but not more. Also, if your location is difficult to find, consider adding up to 200 characters of information on how people can find your business.
4: Add Keywords
***ANOTHER BIG NOTE HERE****
The KEYWORDS section is POWERFUL ! Make sure you complete this section
This section is not completed by chamber staff when you sign up so you must do this step. The ChamberMaster business directory can only search information that is provided. If you don’t fill in this section you will potentially lose a lot of business leads. Here’s why:
When these fields are left empty the only information ChamberMaster has on your company is your name and contact information. If your products and services are not in your business name your business won’t be listed when people using the directory search for your products or services.
So, you get eight fields where you can enter keywords or phrases (up to 30 characters in each box) that relate to your products or services. Since my services are not in my company name I added: internet marketing, marketing, online advertising, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, small business marketing, web site design, and website design.
***LAST BIG NOTE ****
The keywords you use will also become the meta keywords on your chamber webpage. These pages are visible to search engines, so again, choose wisely!
You may notice that I added two variations each for SEO and website design – that’s because I anticipate some people will type in different search terms and I want to cover as many bases as possible. ChamberMasters’s directory search functions doesn’t know that SEO and search engine optimization are the same thing – so you have to help them a little bit.
You may also notice there is a separate link in the Webpage Info navigation section where you can edit just the keywords. See, it’s so important there two way you can do it.
When you are done with these edits hit the big save button and then hit the preview page button. Look over your work and if you see any typos or other ways to improve your business listing, go back to the edit page, make the updates and hit the save button again. Rinse and repeat until you are fully satisfied.
Step 7: Put Your Pin on the Map
This is the final step to ensure your ChamberMaster Business Listing is well optimized. Under the Webpage Info navigation area find and click on the ‘Map Pin Info” link.
You can click on the box here to show the map on the business directory and there is a simple drop down box to add your address from your business info page. Again, if your location is different than the address listed in your business information, you have the option to enter different information.
ChamberMaster will show a map and pin of the location you’ve added – just make sure it is correct.
You can optionally add point of interest category and sub category. I say do it. Your paying for these options take full advantage of them.
That’s it! 7 Steps to Optimize You Business Listing in ChamberMaster
Now I hear you when you say, “Stephen, you worked in a few sub steps and I’m thinking you should rename this blog post to something like “11 Steps to Optimize Your Business Listing in ChamberMaster.” That’s okay! I’m cool with that. But maybe you didn’t notice that I left a few things out.
First of all – I didn’t touch on the Login/Password section where you can change the unmemorable auto generated username and password that ChamberMaster automatically assigned you. Yup, I didn’t mention you could do that. FYI – you can.
I also didn’t cover the section under Webpage Info entitled “Photos & Logos” because, well, it’s a premium option my chamber doesn’t subscribe to. Other chambers might and if yours does and you know how it works – write a blog post about it and let us know in the comment section below.
Overall, I hope this has been helpful. I certainly has been long. If you run into any troubles or if you can think of a way to improve what I’ve shared, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.