Wow, now how is that for a domainer interview title, state code .COM owner interviews .ME state name founder, we thought it was neat.
I thought, heck, how fun would it be to have Missouri.me interviewed on MO.com , which for those who may not know, is the two letter state code for Missouri.
Thanks to Brian for taking the time, he actually did a great job asking me questions that I had not answered before around investment and social media.
Brian was a pleasure to talk to and I look forward to meeting him in person soon.
You can read the interview at Bruce Marler – Show Me The Entrepreneur
Well, yesterday I made it back from following the Tour of Missouri for the week, as mentioned in previous posts it was a large marketing event and press event for us. The results far exceeded our expectations and I could probably come up with blog topics for a month from the one week of travel and the experience we gained from it. Do not worry though, I will keep it to just a few.
One thing that was very nice to see was that in two different stops I had domain investors come visit our booth, we were working hard to cover the event but I made it a point to get some domain discussion time in, its not often we get out in public and meet in such an ad hoc manner as domainers so it was absolutely great to meet some the people that read my blog and talk with them about their perspective on domains and how they build their business from them. What I found most interesting about this was that new domain investors are still coming in. Even though the economy has shrunk many peoples budgets people are still looking at ways to get in. One thing that was great to hear from both individuals I ran into was the focus on quality rather than quantity. I think the recent comments by fellow domain bloggers and myself are starting to resonate with new people coming in. This is great news for all (although not necessarily for registrars…).
Next thing of note, I gained both major respect for some media organizations but also lost it for others. Excluding some of the top TV media organizations we had the same access as anyone else in the “media pits” as I liked to call them, also had access to the free food and gifts each city gave each day to the press (note to self, that does not mean its calorie free). But it was funny seeing legacy media teams feel entitled and not hustle for their position, it was the web centric folks that were smart about their access and made sure they got in position first. Seeing old-school newspaper photographers have to fight for position when it was obvious they normally had the upper hand was actually quite entertaining and became a nice discussion point between ourselves and some others.
We actually had the first videos and pictures up on some days at Tour.Missouri.Me, in a couple cases we had pictures and videos up within 10 minutes of the video being taken. We made it a point to be raw and uncut, that had been our plan initially (to put out pictures and videos as fast as possible) but after discussing with a few other cyclists and one of the media representatives from one of the teams it became even more apparent that would be the smartest move. Well, it worked, one of the team press officers actually pulled the team owner over and said “Did you see what these guys are doing, its like an AP news feed except faster and its pictures and video.” We are new at this obviously, but to get compliments and kudos from these people who deal with the press everyday it was pretty cool stuff. It was also nice to be in one of the team cars (Thanks Team Type 1) and be sending out tweets with pictures from the car real time.
Another nice thing was seeing the amount of links and comments we got from other websites, at the beginning of the week we had actually put together a Google Adwords budget to drive initial traffic, by mid week it was only 20 percent of our traffic/pageviews just based on links from other cycling sites and traffic from type-ins and search engines (another note, galleries of podium girls on sites do well in cycling events).
And for the biggie for us, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder of Missouri took a liking to us early and our story. During the Ste. Genevieve stage 2 start we had the opportunity to meet him and talk a bit, we discussed the fact we are cyclists and thanked him for supporting the continuation of the event (a whole other story). We informed him of the link we were adding to our site to directly contact the governor to petition for the event to be held next year. Well, the rest from there on was great, he pulled me aside on stage during a stage a couple days later and asked how traffic was, and indicated he had been telling everyone about Missouri.me and asked me to connect with his staff to discuss further what we were doing. Obviously something we are very excited about.
Back to media organizations, I read VeloNews.com daily, it was actually quite fun to sit in a Paneras in Rolla, MO and chat with them while they posted their pics and stories on their site (which is the de facto cycling news site on the web) while we were sitting right there with them posting on ours. The Internet has changed media, although we all realized it before, once you realize that the newspapers are still working on getting printed for the next day, and the TV organizations are trying to figure out what 30 seconds to show, we were posting 10 stories a day and getting traffic because of it. Velonews is the best of both, they have the top cycling news site but also have their print magazine. It was nice to see them working hard to get their stories up fast (although we did beat them a couple days on pics).
As a fan I gotta say that it was nice to get to actually spend some hang-out time with some of the guys I watch in the Tour De France yearly, that alone helped us get exclusive access on team buses during the event and get some video and pictures others did not. Not something we really expected but it turned out great.
After all the effort was put in to put out behind the scenes pictures and videos it was nice to see the reaction across the web, we could see links popping up on various high traffic cycling sites, some nice comments on a few actually stating that Missouri.me was the place to go for fast coverage which was interesting since we had never really covered an event before, looks like guerilla reporting may actually work….. What is even better is the more than 80 posts (and dozens of videos on YouTube.com) we made stay as content and the links created from other sites stick around as well, content is king.
As far as the marketing side of the event, we handed out THOUSANDS of brochures to people coming to our booth, had great reaction from people across Missouri and a ton of people asking about when we will be launching in their states. The water bottles we passed out went quick, probably could of had a thousand more or so but we exceeded expectations so no need to dwell on that.
Well enough rambling, just a lot of stuff in the head rolling around after the past week, and as luck would have it we just signed a new intern on today that graduated with a journalism degree from a top University, more reports to come…..
UPDATE: Funny little thing I just noticed, I was watching the Versus coverage of the first day of the race which I had recorded on DISH, the first couple minutes of the coverage has me in it next to the Team Type 1 team car with my Missouri.me shirt on, free logo branding:) Got lucky:)
The Missouri.me team are just about ready to go for our offline marketing promotions at the Tour Of Missouri international cycling event. Although this post may not be specifically domaining related it should help those of you that are launching geo domain related sites think creatively when looking at ways to target offline marketing efforts.
If you are not a cycling fan or really your experience with road biking is Lance Armstrong its pretty likely you are not familiar with the Tour of Missouri, the race is the second largest stage race in the USA only behind the Tour of California. Last year it drew somewhere around 400,000 fans and onlookers and many went on to attend the Health and Wellness Expo held at the end of each stage which allows sponsors to promote their business with a booth and free giveaways, etc just like any other tradeshow.
Well, with Missouri.me being a statewide community focused site we had been trying to determining what the best event would be to do a statewide “feet on the street” effort for offline marketing. With my operations manager and myself both being cyclists it did not take us long to figure out how to take advantage of the Tour of Missouri event. This event draws teams from around the world, these are not your average everyday cyclists you are griping at as you drive down the road, these are the same riders that ride the Tour De France. This event draws viewers from all over the world.
First off for the marketing and awareness side, we have purchased a booth at the expo at the end of the stages in:
If you are going to be in state you should come visit!!!
We purchased these specifically to give us statewide coverage so all of our efforts did not just hit one piece of the state. Now for the fun part, we ordered hundreds of water bottles with our logo on them to handout to fans and attendees. This is a brand awareness campaign for us and knowing how athletes like runners and cyclists use water bottles we know these will be in their bottle cages for a year to come, we like our free reusable water bottles. We also have some other handouts planned as well and will also be in the booth to discuss various cycling rides throughout the state in the communities we are in.
What is even better is that our logo will be on the Tour of Missouri website which had 330,000,000 pageviews last year based on the exposure the event gets. Thats right, you read it right. Plus our logo will be in the Tour guide which is distributed for the week prior to the event and also it will show up in a few other media kits that will be handed out. All in all, considering what we put together to do this its quite a value.
Now for the next fun part, based on the fact we are an online media company we also have obtained press/media passes to cover the event like any other media or news company would. We are in the process, it’s not quite ready yet, of launching Tour.Missouri.Me where we will be posting videos from the stage route, providing interviews, and posting general stats, etc as we report on the event. For us this also allows us to promote our community sites with links from the cycling posts to our community sites. Once again, tying it all together is key. Having people actually in the press tents and press conferences will allow us to network with other media companies and grow awareness as well.
There is plenty more going on but as you can imagine there is still much work to do to pull it all together, exciting times and the work is well worth it to be able to go state wide with one event.
If you happen to be in Missouri during the race feel free to contact me and we could meet up during one of the stages at our booth or somewhere along the way. Now I am heading out for a ride, albeit at a much slower pace than these pros will be doing.
First Market Launched Serving Over 1,000 Communities in Missouri
August 03, 2009, Desloge, MO – LocalTek, LLC, an innovator in targeted advertising solutions, announces the launch of a new, internet-based advertising medium focused on small and mid-sized businesses throughout rural America.
LocalTek was created to provide targeted marketing solutions to businesses throughout the United States and also provide a local online resource for rural communities. LocalTek provides cost effective web development, advertising, and targeted online marketing packages that virtually any business can afford. Targeted marketing solutions that normally come from three different companies can now be provided by one single source vendor, LocalTek. LocalTek brings services to rural America to let businesses compete with large corporations who have strong search marketing resources that would preempt small local businesses from competing effectively online.
LocalTek’s online resource web portals will utilize the state name and the newly released “.Me” domain name extension for various markets in America. The first portal recently launched by LocalTek, Missouri.me, is currently serving over 1,000 communities in Missouri. For more information about the new .Me phenomenon, please visit www.domain.me.
“LocalTek’s new approach to on-line advertising will transform the way businesses are able to cost effectively market themselves and attract new customers,” said Bruce Marler, president and founder of LocalTek. “After working in corporate America for the past 15 years but still living in rural America, it became obvious that local businesses were not being offered the chance to compete fairly online. We created LocalTek and the Missouri.me concept to level the playing field. Missouri.me allows each and every community in the state to have their own online presence while LocalTek’s web development and targeted marketing services provide value that cannot be matched by traditional advertising only firms, newspaper, and even radio”.
Additionally, LocalTek has plans to launch service in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
LocalTek provides cost effective, locally targeted, online advertising and website solutions for a variety of business types throughout the United States. LocalTek solutions are targeted at specific geographic areas, which allow businesses to focus on the customers they find most valuable. Headquartered in Desloge, Missouri, LocalTek is rapidly expanding its service offering in over 20 markets nationwide. For additional information, please visit us at www.localtek.com.
Missouri.me provides a local, online resource web portal that contains news, weather, free e-mail, classifieds and business information for most communities in Missouri. Headquartered in Desloge, Missouri, Missouri.me is a LocalTek company currently serving over 1,000 communities in Missouri with sales and marketing operations in over 114 counties. For additional information, please visit us at www.missouri.me.
What a week, this past week was basically planned to be a week I focused on marketing more than anything else and things really worked out well. We made a major push to get our sales and marketing materials ready for our first company sales meeting next Tuesday and at the same time began prep work for the nationwide press release that will be going out next week. Although I tend not to give the nuts and bolts of what we are up to out to much we did start to talk more about the true focus of our efforts more than before.
The bido.com chat was great, that was the most I have typed in the shortest amount of time ever I believe, great questions from folks and I gotta say I was a bit nervous going in just simply because as much as I will never bash .com and know that .com “rules” at the end of the day I just as much believe there are times you can build something on a non-com that is just as valuable and successful. We are proving that everyday. I was expecting a bit of a bashing on Bido but it did not happen. I appreciate the open minds people had as it pertains to someone proving that with the proper extension and marketing you can do something unexpected by many.
Then, I also must thank Natasa from the marketing department at the .ME registry, she posted twice this week on their Facebook page about Missouri.me happenings and also posted a story on Exploretheworldof.me . Great stuff, 1800 .ME fans were able to see what we were up too on Facebook alone not even counting the blog post. On the Facebook page topic, we just recently launched the Missouri.me Facebook page and broke 100 fans rather easily and look to be going up daily. I expect to do some marketing just for the Facebook page soon as well. What I really like is that there are quite a few people joining from around Missouri that were not even connected to myself. That likely means they are joining from the Missouri.me site itself. Great!
We also completed our press release and worked with the team at Business Wire to get it ready. I had a very solid source put our release together (he has previous done marketing for companies worth hundreds of millions) and I must say it turned out nice. As much as I like to write in my blog it is still weird to see quotes in a press release from me, and even weirder to think I actually said them:) Its going nationwide Monday, look for it. I have done press releases in the past for some of my sites just for SEO reasons, this is the first time I have done it for any other reason than that. Based on that I spent the money on a top notch release service and distribution. It was more than I was used to doing at PRWeb but all indications from friends of mine that focus in that area are that this is the service to use, get what you pay for type of thing.
Another great note from last week was a partnership I hope to give more info on soon, the dates have been set for a launch of a partnership between ourselves and a technology partner that focuses on delivering Internet and phone service to a large swatch of Missouri and several other states that we are in. This will give us a market penetration that we did not expect to have for several months.
There are quite a few other things that got closer to final stages this week as far as marketing goes, we had great talks with the Tour of Missouri folks and I really am looking forward to combining business and pleasure with that event. We also are close to finalizing some TV commercial production agreements (through a surprising barter that is a blog post and story unto itself someday) to get our brand in front of people.
And then the biggie as far as the domain world is concerned, the DNJournal.com story. Special thanks to Ron Jackson at DNJournal.com for doing a great job of telling our story. I am still a bit in shock and humbled to say the least from the amount of emails and calls from domainer friends and more importantly people that did not know me before the story. It was quite awesome to say the least. I have been in or around the domain community for sometime but never really was to involved socially and actively until this year just due to time/focus on the “day job” but to see the support he community gives to new blood was a great thing. Its appreciated, wow is all I can say. Good people:)