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January 21, 2013

Carroll County chamber starts app marketing

Smartphone-based marketing to launch soon

DELPHI — Carroll County’s chamber of commerce expects to launch its smartphone app soon.

The chamber recently bought a membership with MyChamberApp, a national marketing app designed for chambers of commerce to give their members a smartphone presence. Julia Leahy, Carroll chamber executive director, anticipates launching the Carroll County section of the app by Jan. 31, but could have it as early as the end of this week.

The smartphone app includes a searchable database of chamber members. Currently, chambers in 46 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces participate in the smartphone app, but the way it’s set up, a search will pull up results from among the businesses that are members of the closest chamber to a user’s GPS location.

“It’s an app that you can utilize anywhere in the U.S.,” noted Leahy. “Apps are the way that our communication (is going) and the way that people do business — I think it’s crucial.”

Pew Research surveys from 2012 indicated that 45 percent of U.S. adults owned a smartphone, and nearly half of those owners said they’d used it in the past month to decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant. Chamber officers decided to launch a smartphone app after some indicated in an annual survey that marketing was their main reason for joining the chamber.

Leahy said apps like the one the chamber selected are even more valuable for rural chamber businesses, who are usually spread out rather than concentrated in a central business district.

The chamber will swallow the signup fee for its members to get a basic entry into the app database.

The chamber’s overall setup fees for both the app and a companion chamber contact management database the chamber recently bought, ChamberMaster, were waived in a promotional agreement between the two companies.

“The intent all along was to offer this application,” explained Leahy, “because I had heard about it among other peers in the chamber world that this app was available. It was purely coincidental that the two companies are collaborating — one was just great and getting both is even better.”

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

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