The Business Directory by Chamber Dashboard is a free plugin for WordPress websites. Adding a directory of member businesses to your chamber or association website will bring value to both your organization and your members.
Benefits of an Online Membership Directory
Builds Awareness & Promotes Your Association – Membership groups and associations must continually attract and retain quality members in order to grow. An online directory is an excellent way to build visibility for your members and your organization.
Connect & Stay in Touch – A well-organized directory makes it simple for members to connect and do business with on another. Listings should be categorized in more than one way, such as alphabetically, geographically or by industry. so members can search based on their individual interests and needs.
Revenue Generation – Including ads for products and services which may be of interest, can not only generate revenue, but provide value to your membership. Having an online directory with online payment options also makes it easier to encourage member renewal.
Enhances Value of Membership – Seize every opportunity to remind your members of the value your organization provides. Use your directory site to welcome new members, highlight member accomplishments, facilitate connections between members, share industry news and events, cross-promote upcoming events and more.
First time creating a membership directory?
Here are a Few Hints…
Getting Board Approval:
An online membership directory is less expensive than print. Considering how fast people changes jobs now-a-days, a printed directory can become out-of-date almost before the ink dries.
A printed directory has only the reach of the number of copies you can afford to print. An online directory has infinite reach. Plus, it increases your opportunity to be found in search, thus drawing in potential new members.
There are many free online directory options to choose from. Try a few of them out to see which one will best meet your needs.
Designing your Directory:
Online directories should be well-organized and searchable. But more importantly, they should be frequently updated. Encouraging your members to login and update their own listings will give you more robust and accurate listings.
For a professional look, choose a directory that works with your site’s current theme or layout. Adding images to each directory listing will make it more engaging as well.
Important: Gather your data first
Once you have an idea of the data you will need to create your online business directory, reach out to a handful of your members to see what challenges you may run into during the process. This will give you an idea of how to plan, how to motivate, what your timeline will look like and more.
Review multiple options:
There are usually a variety of online directory options available based on your website platform. Review and compare several before making a decision. Be sure to consider how the directory will stay updated in the future and how old data will be purged.