The Local Leaders Roundtable met on January 14 for a session entitled What’s New at AMIBA: A Tour of Our New Website. The redesigned and upgraded is designed to engage users, showcase members and highlight AMIBA.

One of several new features allows members to create virtual billboards (under the Members tab on the home page). A quick rollover shows the city an IBA is based in, its social media links and a link to the member’s website. Photo galleries throughout the site feature photos from AMIBA members, and page header photos reflect members’ communities, giving a fun snapshot of AMIBA’s members and their diversity.

Coming resources include a new and improved Member Resources section, including updates of the 100+ documents currently in AMIBA’s archive.

AMIBA is also seeking welcome photos and testimonials from all AMIBA members to include on the website. We are currently reviewing and updating the 100+ documents from Member Resources and will be adding them weekly. Check the AMIBA newsletter for updates. A website is never done!

After the site walk-through, AMIBA member Julie Niehoff of Distance Learning Media (DLM) joined the call to answer participants’ questions. Two of the most valuable tips she offered were:

If you need high quality photos for your website (or other uses) of your community, look to your visitors center or tourism division. The organizations exist for virtually every city or region, and they compile professional photos for marketing. Since this photography is usually paid for by tax revenues, you can usually access these photos with a simple online request. Most of the new header photos on reflect communities with an IBA and were obtained through visitors bureaus.

Offering local gift cards is a great way to generate new business for members and to promote locally owned businesses. There are many services that offer this kind of help, and you don’t necessarily need tech skills – or even a website, really – to run this kind of promotion. You can offer general gift cards that can be used at any participating member’s business for goods or services. or you can offer gift cards for specific businesses. Dane Buy Local, for example Instagift. Click here to see Dane Buy Local’s Instagift in action

Another tool that makes it easy to sell gift cards is Gift Up. Gift Up is free to set up and use, or you can remove their logo for a $200 fee. Similar to a credit servicer, Gift Up take a small percentage of each purchase to fund operations. Gift Up also provides the option to load multiple gift card images, so that people can choose a birthday, holiday, or other special event.

Both of these tools will work from a Facebook page or in email as well, so an organization without an independent web site can easily run gift card promotions.

If you have questions, please feel free to email AMIBA member Julie Niehoff,

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