I've worked hard over the past several years to make DCSki a valuable resource for Mid-Atlantic skiers - with lots of new features and content added regularly. But each season, I hear from a lot of people who have just discovered DCSki and wish they had discovered it a long time ago. This always produces mixed feelings for me: I'm glad they found the site, but I wish they had found it earlier! I also realize there are a great many people who would love DCSki but haven't discovered it yet.
This raises a continuing question: what is the best way to publicize and promote DCSki?
The two ways DCSki seems to attract the bulk of its visitors is through word of mouth and search engines - someone will stumble across DCSki through a search on one of the major search engines.
Last year, I tried placing a small ad in the Washington Post, but it wasn't clear that generated a lot of new readers. (A bigger ad might be better, but is outside my budget.)
DCSki has been mentioned in several newspaper articles, which is always great, but I've also gotten the sense that some other publications don't want to promote DCSki because they have their own ski-related on-line content that they'd rather direct readers to.
So, I'm interested in hearing your ideas on how to promote DCSki. How did *you* discover the site? Do you have any ideas on how I can spread the word?
(And no, I'm not going to make DCSki.com bumper stickers and post them on lift towers!)
Also, bear in mind one challenge: some typical marketing tricks (t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.) probably won't be effective because people have short-term memory and need to be sitting in front of their computer to visit DCSki. On the web, the most effective way to draw people in is to catch their attention while they're already surfing the web. This is why newspaper ads might not be effective: people don't usually sit in front of the computer with one hand on the mouse while they're reading the paper.
i still think you should stick stickers on the lift polls, i personally enjoy the scenery while on the lift.
How is the quality of the baseball caps and the quality of the logo on them? So far I've been pretty impressed with cafepress. I ordered a t-shirt, mousepad, and coffee mug from them, and here are some of my comments: the logo on the mug and mousepad ended up being more purple than blue - it doesn't look bad, but demonstrates that colors aren't always preserved in the printing process. The logo on the t-shirt is bonded (vs. screen-printed), and at first seems a bit rubbery, but after a few washes it seems OK. They say to turn the shirt inside out while washing and to wash it in cold water - doing so will make sure the logo doesn't fade as quickly.
We need 6 racers to get a team ranking on NASTAR. You can still race anytime and anyplace you wish but your scores will be counted towards the DCSki team ranking as well as your individual ranking.
Anyone who wants more info on the DCSki team can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Being local, DCski will present no competition to Epic, so there should be no problem with this. In fact, there was discussion over on Epic about starting up regional forums (PWN, NE, Rockies, etc.), but I don't think the webmaster really liked the idea, so the only thing that came of it was that a "meet-you-on-the-hill / carpooling" forum was started.
Another place you may want to mention DCski is on the usenet group, RSA, rec.skiing.alpine. Its a pretty active group in winter and attracts a lot of newbies by virtue of its obvious name.
Unfortunately, the problem with RSA is the 3+ year bitter flame war. If you advertise DCski over there, you will almost certainly get abused by its long-time resident loon whose stated intent is to destroy RSA. However, FWIW, Skieast.com recently posted notices of their start up on RSA and didn't get flamed too badly.
Obviously, local ski clubs should be reminded regularly of DCski, particularly, since most don't have their own on-line forums to set up trips, etc.
Tom / PM
[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 12-12-2001).]