Lots of members request that the Chamber sends information on their behalf to all other Chamber members. It makes sense - we want to promote our businesses and starting with our Chamber colleagues is only natural. However, as recipients, we all get too much email and are wary of opening our inboxes to an endless stream of promotion.
To manage the push and pull between wanting to promote and not wanting to receive too many promotions, the Chamber decided to use Constant Contact to create an "eBlast benefit" for members. We offer all Chamber Members at our Standard Membership tier and above one free eBlast per year (more for premium tiers), which we create and send through Constant Contact, instead of our regular email system. Constant Contact is similar to Mail Chimp or Vertical Endeavors and allows us to create a graphics-heavy, visually appealing email campaigns complete with hyperlinks to the sender's email, website or ticket sales site. It also offers recipients the option to forward to a friend or even unsubscribe if s/he does not want to receive promotional emails. This is important - since as a recipient can unsubscribe to the promotional emails without unsubscribing to our general Chamber communications. Hence the two software systems.
With that as background, members interested in using their eBlast benefit should plan ahead. The eBlast is meant to be part of your larger marketing campaign, which could include posting to the Chamber calendar, posting to our social media sites, providing handouts, making announcements at Chamber events - in addition to your own marketing channels. Decide well in advance how the eBlast will complement your other efforts. Most importantly, remember: the eBlasts are terrific and help you reach over 1,000 emails. But, these are largely business people, not general consumers. A successful eBlast won't make or break your event attendance goals. It will help, for sure. As part of a more fulsome strategy, it makes sense. But it is not the only thing you should be doing to promote your brand.
As you develop your marketing plan and decide to use your eBlast benefit, give us at least a week to put it together, remember, we have a really small team in the office. Our part-time graphics design intern creates the eBlasts and s/he works just a few afternoons a week. Each Friday, we take all the eBlast requests we receive and schedule the work and the posts for the intern to create the following week. Rarely, if ever, can we accept your request and turn it around in a day or two. It's just a time thing.
Finally - please use our online request form (found under the "Resources" tab) to send us your information and schedule the eBlast. This ensures that your information not only is complete, but also arrives in the correct in-box for the handling of the eBlasts. If you have trouble with the form or uploading images, you can always send them to email@example.com. Our team works together very closely, however keeping track of eBlast requests sent to various team members' emails (whether that is Cathy, Mark, Liz or whomever) is a risky business.
We have more information about eBlasts on our eBlasts Overview page. With apologies for sounding bureaucratic and process heavy, let me close by encouraging you to use this helpful tool for promoting your business, event, special or cause. With autumn upon us, Chamber eBlasts are a popular way of augmenting a small business marketing campaign. Help us help you make it successful!