Community Collaboration: Unexpected Discoveries with GoAugusta! Chamber Main Street & Tourism
An Introduction to GoAugusta! Chamber Main Street
Located in the heart of Kansas, Augusta is a charming city 30 miles wast of Wichita known for its vibrant community, flourishing local businesses, and brick-laden downtown.
The downtown district of Augusta is a gem within the city and managed by the GoAugusta! Chamber Main Street which also runs Tourism for the town. This area is a hub for approximately 200 locally owned businesses, each contributing to Augusta's distinctive ambiance and community spirit.
The Main Street organization took over the Chamber of Commerce in July of 2021 and is dedicated to nurturing, developing, and promoting the city's cultural, social, and economic epicenter.
These strategies have successfully turned Augusta's downtown into a thriving center for both "experience shopping" and community engagement. Local businesses, set against the backdrop of historic and charming architecture, offer a unique and authentic experience, showcasing the distinct character of Augusta through their varied services and products.
Before Locable - Where They Were
Before adopting Locable, the team at GoAugusta! Chamber Main Street faced significant challenges due to their small size and the necessity of multitasking. Like many, they were juggling numerous software tools that, while functional, were not specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of a community-focused organization like theirs.
The lack of a unified, community-centric software solution made these tasks more cumbersome and time-consuming than necessary.
"We began using the programs that the Chamber was working from when we found they were not very useful for our organization. We used Chambermaster for about 1.5 years but it was just not user friendly." - Jayme Chapin, Executive Director.
Implementing Locable - A Unified Approach
Implementing Locable significantly transformed their operational approach, especially in areas of customer relationship management (CRM) and membership management.
Executive Director Jayme Chapin highlighted key features that drew their interest: "Once learning about Locable – we were especially interested in the CRM and Membership management. The option to be able to invoice members from one location was a benefit."
One of the most impactful changes was the optimization of their information dissemination process.
Prior to Locable, it took Jayme approximately three hours every Monday morning to compile a newsletter to update the community on local events and meetings. This involved extensive research across various social media pages.
She explained, "I would have to research every business's FB and Social Media pages to see what was happening. Then I had to take that information and put it into a newsletter format to email out to the subscriber list."
Locable's feature allowing businesses to market themselves and their events and then make their content available to GoAugusta!streamlined this process remarkably. The better than drag-and-drop functionality for newsletter creation not only saved time but also ensured more accurate and timely information sharing.
Chapin appreciated this efficiency, noting, "The option of having the businesses not only enter their own events, but then to be able to [click-to-add] those things to a newsletter was great."
This feature alone significantly reduced the workload and dependency on manual processes, exemplifying the practical benefits of Locable’s tailored solutions for community-focused organizations.
Unexpected Discoveries & Favorite Features
Jayme Chapin remarked on a few of the unexpected benefits: “The business blogging, coupons, and job boards I didn’t plan on utilizing that much. The business blogging has been amazing.”
With no local newspaper, Locable's business blogging feature became crucial for information sharing, allowing easy social media integration and the aforementioned email distribution. Additionally, the website's specials and coupons section gained popularity during holidays, enhancing local business engagement.
Chapin also highlighted the utility of the integrated commerce capabilities processed by Stripe, facilitating invoicing for both members and non-members for event sponsorships and ticket sales. This feature streamlined their event management and expanded funding opportunities.
These tools, including the events calendar and weekly updates, have significantly improved GoAugusta's operations and community involvement.
The Impact: Time Savings for Small Communities
Locable's system has significantly streamlined operations, Jayme noted, "I save a minimum of 10-15 hours per week using the Locable system. Between the events – newsletters – business blogging and CRM – it makes the day to day work so much easier and faster."
The calendar feature stands out, with its visual appeal and efficiency. Events are displayed attractively on the website, with flyers and images that catch the eye. Additionally, listing events on each business's directory page adds further value, enhancing visibility and engagement.
This time-saving aspect is particularly beneficial for small communities, "Calendar Comparison - There really is no comparison to the calendar."
Peer Advice - Suggestions to Move Your Community Forward
Integrating Locable in communities like Augusta delivers exclusive benefits that grow with adoption, as Jayme Chapin's experience shows. "Getting the community on board with the program takes time," she notes, emphasizing the need for patience and encouraging businesses to independently engage with the system.
Chapin highlights the importance of teaching businesses the advantages of Locable, including its Google integrations, which enhance online presence with minimal effort. "Training them... will help to keep them engaged," she advises. This approach fosters a self-sufficient community, where even small steps lead to progress.
Locable is especially suitable for small to medium communities, offering a cost-effective, straightforward solution. "Locable makes the day-to-day business take much less time," Chapin says, emphasizing its efficiency and affordability. Even with Locable's free plan, local businesses, nonprofits, and community partners see significant benefits.
Chapin's experience with Locable is an ongoing journey of discovery: "I have only begun to explore all of the possibilities – just one step at a time."
By adopting Locable, Jayme shifted from time-consuming busy work to spending more quality time with local businesses. This change not only empowered these businesses to take charge of their own marketing but now it also fuels her broader marketing initiatives. As a result, businesses became more self-reliant in promoting themselves while actively contributing to the community's collective marketing efforts.
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