How to promote DCSki?
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6 users
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Scott - DCSki Editor
September 9, 2001
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
Hi gang,

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.

Thanks!

- Scott

JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 18, 2001
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
I found you thru a search engine. Is there a strategy or trick for getting your site to more prominantly/frequently appear in search results? Would your advertisers (or any other ski related outfits- ski areas, clubs, stores, etc.) agree to mention you in their facilities and/or websites or allow you to stock handouts or bumperstickers in their public places? Would any of them fund a booth for you or let you share theirs at local ski shows - where you could handout stickers, sample articles, etc? Is there some sort of national/regional ski assoc that might support you on some of this, since you are in the general business of promoting skiing&boarding? I know your budget is small, but you can reach people with some sort of trinket like a bumpersticker, pencil, mousepad, bookmark, etc. if it hangs around their house for a few weeks and provided it goes to your target audience.
Mo
September 18, 2001
Member since 03/26/2001
33 posts
Hi Scott, I think DCSki is a great website and I applaud you for all your efforts to make it better and better. I'm trying to think how it was I stumbled across this site last winter. I think it was a lot of searching and a bit of dumb-luck, honestly. I had been trying to find a website like this to get some general info on all the local ski resorts, so it was a great find when I came across it. It would be nice if you could convince Ski Liberty to put a link to your page on their site, since they are one of your major sponsors. Other than that, I agree with all of Jim's ideas. I don't think it would be bad to have things like bumper stickers, pencils, and mousepads promoting DCSki.com. It's a simple, catchy name, so it's easy to remember -- it just needs to get out there!
(Anonymous)
October 8, 2001
You should get the resorts that advertise here to put a link to here on it. Your articles help them out so they should help you. I know i found this site by going on snowshoes website and reading their "snow news is good news column." Also if your link was a flashy icon and not just something that said www.dcski.com it would be better. I was thinking a girl in a bikini on skis would do the job well, but since your not a porn site I doubt thats the root you'll go.

i still think you should stick stickers on the lift polls, i personally enjoy the scenery while on the lift.

(Anonymous)
October 11, 2001
Scott, why not try to get the local area resorts to post links from their sites? A lot of skiers check out conditions at the local hills by visiting their sites. I think you also should be present at all the local ski swaps and stuff like that. Ads/shirts etc. may not be advisable from a cost/benefit standpoint. Just my .02. Great site!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 23, 2001
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
I got my dcski ball caps from the cafepress.com online store and now I'm a walking billboard!
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 23, 2001
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
Hi Jim! I certainly appreciate as many walking billboards as I can get.

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.

- Scott

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 25, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
For those who participate in NASTAR racing, consider joining the DCSki team when you register for a 2001-2002 number:

www.nastar.com

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 johnfmh@yahoo.com

John Sherwood

JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 25, 2001
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
Scott, I'm not sure how logo was put on, looks sort of like done by computer imprint. It's clearly dcski.com, but could have been done in a bolder manner if cost was no object. The style of cap is fine, modern lower profile look as shown in website photo.
PhysicsMan
December 12, 2001
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
I like what I see. This could be a great local site if it gets some more traffic. Personally, I'll mention it (when appropriate) on national / international ski sites like epicski.com that I frequent.

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).]

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