Well, we’ve talked about the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s new name. Our mission is “connecting and serving the businesses and communities around Lake Gaston,” which means that we are ready to serve all of the businesses, non-profit organizations, clubs, churches, schools, communities and individuals in the five-county, two-state Lake Gaston region. We are stronger together!
As part of our new name and expanded mission, we have also redesigned our website to be more inviting and engaging, to be user-friendly for the consumer, and, primarily, to prominently feature our wonderful Chamber members. The website was created with “responsive design,” meaning that no matter the device (computer, tablet or mobile phone) on which the website is shown, the format will adjust accordingly, so that the site displays correctly. There is a search feature where a consumer can search by name of business or by type of business. We are still in the process of adding the primary key words to each member listing to increase search capability.
When the Chamber member listing comes up, the first thing you will notice is a Google map of the member’s location to easily let consumers, visitors or residents, know where the business is located. Beneath the Google map is a gallery where each Chamber member can provide four photos of their choice. When the photo is clicked, it comes up in a larger size in a slideshow format. Under the photos is the contact information for the business. Beneath the contact information is a good-sized description of the business. Each Chamber member gets to provide a description of up to 250 words for their listing. Finally under the description is a QR (Quick Response) code for the member’s website. If a member does not have a website, we can create a QR code for the member’s Facebook page if we are given the URL.
With the new website, the Chamber is giving each member a link to their website instead of charging separately for it – an exciting and valuable new benefit of being a Lake Gaston Regional Chamber member. The wonderful thing about having the Chamber website link to a member’s website is that in bound links are difficult to get and very valuable. By having your link on the Chamber’s website, it automatically increases your business’ website ranking in search engines. There will also be both banner and button paid advertising spots for increased visibility on the Chamber website. These opportunities will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact me if you are interested to discuss terms and pricing.
The former Chamber website averaged more than 25,000 unique visitors (not hits – that number is much larger) annually. That is quite an impressive reach! Visitors come from the US (top states are North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee), Canada, China, India, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others. We anticipate that traffic to the new website will continue to grow.
While we are talking online marketing, the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce is actively and organically growing our Facebook fan base. We are very close to reaching our next goal of 500 fans. Please help us reach our goal by liking us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/lakegastonchamber. Facebook is a wonderful way for us to share news from our Chamber members including sales, announcements and events. We also love to share interesting information, photos and more! Everything we post on Facebook is presented in a positive, proactive fashion about the entire Lake Gaston region.
Finally, don’t forget about our Shop Lake Gaston First for the Holidays contest in partnership with the Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer. For every $100 you spend (in any combination - $5 here, $20 there, $75 elsewhere) with LAKE GASTON CHAMBER MEMBERS, you receive one entry into the Shop Lake Gaston First for the Holidays contest. Remember, both goods and services (like your power bill or phone bill) qualify!
There are many wonderful prizes like gift cards and gift certificates from LAKE GASTON CHAMBER MEMBERS that we will draw for on December 19 at the Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer office. You must show verifiable receipts of purchase for goods and services with LAKE GASTON CHAMBER MEMBERS during the period of November 1-December 18, 2013. Be sure to check www.lakegastonchamber.com for the most current list of active Chamber members – Food Lion is one of our newest members! Receipts will be stamped and returned to you. The maximum number of contest entries for any one big ticket item is 10.
There are several locations to enter the contest: Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce (Tues-Fri 10 a.m.-4 p.m.), Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer (Wed-Fri 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), Lake Gaston Flower Shop-Gasburg (Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sat 9 a.m.-Noon), A Bird’s Eye View-Littleton (Mon, Wed & Thur 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Fri & Sat 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.), and Martin Exterminating-Roanoke Rapids (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). We just added a new contest entry location – Sanders Super Stop in Gasburg, VA (Mon-Thurs 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Fri & Sat 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun 9 a.m.-7 p.m.). Questions? Call the Chamber office at 252-586-5711.