Rocky Mount Chamber Launches New Interactive Website

In an age when cruising, tweeting and connecting are vital daily occurrences, the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce maintains a prime location on the information highway.

"Our new website has much more information and is designed differently from those of other chambers," says Sherry Johnson, chamber chief operating officer. "This site is very interactive and enhances the value of chamber membership."

Spearheaded by 2009 chamber chairman John Kincheloe and under development for almost a year, the site has been designed to address a myriad of needs for members, visitors and the community.

"When we sat down with the chamber staff to discuss the redesign of their website, we were looking for a unique approach that offered a central hub for resources and good news," says Allison Sikes, who designed the site through her company, Strategy Performance LLC, building upon coding provided by WebLink. "Our goal was to provide a professional, graphically pleasing website with tools and modules that would be available to members."

The gold gem, Sikes says, is The Chamber & Business News Page. Members can post press releases that are promoted through a twice-monthly member e-mail publication and advertise any available job openings they may have.

Couponing leads to big business, and the chamber has created a way for members to offer coupons to the public and on a member-to-member basis.

"We now have a dedicated Member Resource Center," Sikes says. "Using their password, members can update their listing in the business directory and post coupons. Anyone can go on the website and get great coupons covering a wide variety of services and entertainment options."

Through the site's Business Connect center, visitors can request information from any business listed in the directory, including quotes for services.

"For instance, I want to get my house painted, I can select a category such as home improvement, I submit a request to the businesses that come up, and they will respond," Sikes explains. "The goal is to drive traffic to the business directory which, in turn, drives traffic to the business."

The site is drawing thousands of visitors each month, Sikes says. Which will increase as the site becomes more popular.

Members have more involvement in managing their information, they can create ways to drive traffic to their business, and they are linked to the vast social network.

Like anything that is rapidly changing, it remains a work in progress. New things, like spotlights on education and community videos, are added regularly. "While the chamber is working to finalize and expand various sections of the site, it has still been a great win for our members and our community," Sikes says.