Posts tagged ‘teetimes.net’

Clarifying your value proposition… and your elevator pitch

Forty-seven minutes. That is how long it took me to drive home from Downtown Vancouver to back here in Maple Ridge. Through the fog every mile of the journey… that is until I got to my front door.

You see, I live out here on the edge of a Mountain, slightly elevated above a very scenic commuter community. For those who are not local and would not know, there is a low pressure inversion blanketing the Lower Mainland. Our home is above it. When people ask me why I live out here, I often have standard answers: more affordable housing, a small-town feel, wider parking spaces [which is great for small children]. However, I now have another answer to give.

“Living in the suburb provides you with more opportunity to clarify your value proposition, practice your elevator pitch, and come out of the fog.”

You see… I had one of those days of meetings and networking. I met a former colleague for lunch to catch up and talk about the latest business projects, what’s new, what’s different and how we are going to change the world. A quick hop into Starbucks [London Fog Latte… it seemed appropriate] to work on a business plan that I was preparing for the late afternoon’s First Round Capital’s Office Hours. Then a meeting with a business partner to discuss development plans on one of my ventures (TeeTimes.net). Followed by the aforementioned Office Hours [I pitched an angle of Texts.com, not the business plan I was preparing earlier]. Followed by a quick dinner (responding to a day’s worth of emails while eating). Followed by networking at the Vancouver Entrepreneur’s Meetup. Followed by a late night coffee with a few other entrepreneurs and genuinely nice people that I met tonight (here, here, and here). And then the drive home.

All day long, I practiced my elevator pitch (or on a day like today I should say, “pitches”). And all day long I listened to others explain their business models and communicate their value propositions. Some were well done, and others like the presenter from the Investor’s Group who must have misread the 30 second pitch guidelines as 3 minutes… not so much.

But the drive home provided me with 47 minutes to rehearse my pitch and think about what resonated with my day’s companions, and what left people in a fog. Well actually it was only 45 minutes. The first 2 minutes were spent listening to the radio to hear that the Canucks blew another game.

So here is what I learned from tonight:

  1. Texts.com –  One of the things that I like about good quality generic domain names, especially when it is your company’s name, is that it leads your audience into your pitch before you open your mouth. At the Entrepreneur’s Meetup on my name tag, I scribbled “John” and beneath it I wrote “Texts.com“.  From here, depending on the audience, I could adjust my pitch to one of the following:
  • Texts.com provides international text messaging and SMS Marketing services. With our international text messaging service, we save money for those who wish to send an SMS message internationally. Rather than paying your standard carrier a message rate that reaches as high as  $0.50 per message, we can deliver a text message to your overseas friend or family for as low as $0.10 per message. In other words, we simplify international text messaging.” … or…
  • Texts.com provides international text messaging and SMS Marketing services. Our SMS marketing services focus on the smaller local merchant. A typical short code that is required for mobile marketing campaigns costs anywhere from $15k to $30k per year and takes 12 weeks to set up. This is not practical for a small business. Likewise, a merchant could lease a shared short code, and while this is more affordable, if a person unsubscribes from a campaign that happened to be on the same network, you lose that customer. Instead, we are implementing technology to let a person “Call-to-Subscribe” to a mobile marketing campaign at rates that are much more affordable than the cheapest shared short codes. Small businesses now have an affordable option to participate in mobile marketing.”

So in hindsight (and one 45 minute drive later), how did I do? I think it would have been better to simply lead with a single message around local SMS Marketing. Next time I would start off with the key value proposition of our SMS marketing and how we differ from existing systems. Full stop.

  1. TeeTimes.net – A few times tonight I had the opportunity to talk about another one of my ventures, TeeTimes.net. Once again, the domain name says a lot about the business. A person who has any sort of understanding about golf, would know that this business has to do something about TeeTimes and they would probably even conclude that it is a place for online golf reservations. So how did I do?
  • “We operate a web-based golf reservations business that allows golfers to book their tee times online for more than 1,000 golf courses across North America.”

People got this. They understood what we did. It was simple. In some instances, I delved deeper into the business model and our execution strategy that made us unique, but for the most part, I stopped it after the first sentence. In other words, to paraphrase Jerry Maguire, “You had me at Hello”.

What other messages did I hear tonight that I liked?

  • Elizabeth Southall of PowerhouseCopy (a direct response copywriter) — “I specialize in direct response copywriting for the web that helps you convert more of your visitors into paying customers.” Cool. Sounds good. I could use that.
  • Tom Gibson of OutsideIncredible (a product marketing consultant) — “I’m a product value specialist. I help companies make their products and services resonate instantly with buyers.” He even had that exact pitch written on his business card. Nice touch.
  • Derek Bell of Tynt“We enable people to Graffitti  up the web, sharing their thoughts via the social web”… At least I think that was it. In any case, I got it right away… but perhaps this is just because I have always been a fan of the website PostIt note model since I came across Third Voice many, many years ago.

For everyone else that I met tonight… I look forward to seeing you again real soon.

John

January 16, 2009 at 2:35 am 1 comment

Golf Tee Times at TeeTimes.net

I have been hard at work creating more than 1,000 pages of unique content for my golf reservations project over at TeeTimes.net. Most of this has involved creating unique descriptions for each of the golf courses within the system (a detailed list of golf courses and golf course regions can be found here).

Why have we done this? The present descriptions that we were using as part of our booking engine would be what the search engines call “duplicated content”. The content was not original and it was being fed onto sites all  across the web. By creating our own descriptions of the golf courses, our content should be treated as unique.

I will keep you posted if this makes a difference.

December 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Using Meetup Profiles to Boost Your Search Ranking

Now here is a pondering… can your Meetup profile boost your search ranking?

I set myself up to generate a Google News Alert any time my name is mentioned [not from a vanity standpoint, but more from a reputation management standpoint]. I received an alert this morning that directed me to my profile on the Vancouver Entrepreneur’s Meetup group website. Incidentally, it was another good event last night. Cheers to everyone who attended…

Anyhow, in viewing the page I noticed that it had a PageRank of 5. And that was for just my profile on the site itself. Of course, I quickly modified my profile to insert links to a few of my recent ventures (e.g., my golf tee times site). After all, any site with a PR of 5 is good enough for me.

But then I got curious, The Vancouver Search Engine Optimization Meetup Group has a PR rank of 2. How about other groups… hmmm … International Internet Marketing Association Meetup they have a PR of 6. I think I will join this group, build out a few links on my profile. Now how about Vancouver Net Tuesday… a PR of 4… well my profile now has a link to my tee time golf reservation business as well.

Well it appears that not every group is equal. Some have a ranking, some do not. With a bit of time, I bet I could find a few groups that could provide me with good deep links to a number of my sites. I wonder if there are any SEOs out there who want to do a more in-depth experiment on this.

And yes… it is not only about having sites with a good page rank link to you, but it can’t hurt.

October 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm 2 comments

Golf Course Calendar Feeds at TeeTimes.net

It really is amazing how quickly the summer goes. Between trips to the waterslides, barbeques, and launching new web ventures, time just flies.

In July, an opportunity came up for me to acquire the TeeTimes.net domain name and build a new web business around it. It took me less than a month to pull some deals together, negotiate the purchase of the domain, and build out a fully-functioning web business. The end result can be seen over at www.teetimes.net.

TeeTimes.net is a prototype on two fronts:

  1. First, it is the first known example of using Calgoo Software’s In-Calendar Marketing in a live environment. In-Calendar Marketing is a new marketing medium that allows for the delivery of marketing messages right into the electronic calendars of your most passionate adopters. For TeeTimes.net, an avid golfer can select their favorite golf course and have that course’s available tee times deposited right into their calendar. In this way, they are only one click away from booking a tee time, providing us with transactional revenues with every booking. Our goal is to facilitate one booking per golf course per week (we can presently integrate with more than 1000 golf courses).
  2. Secondly, it is a prototype of my philosophy that you can quickly deploy functioning businesses that are fully self-sustaining enterprises. Will TeeTimes.net ever grow into that $10M company that people are always trying to create? Probably not. But by using marketing automation, outsourcing, and 100% profit-assured marketing tactics (without employees), it can grow enough. After all, if I can book one round of golf for 1000 courses every week, and the typical golf course pays out upwards of 10 to 15% commission for referred bookings, the returns can be substantial.

If you are interested in booking a round of golf, I invite you to use the TeeTimes.net website. If you want to chat more about my philosophy for launching web businesses like this (or if you have a quality generic domain name that you want to partner with me on developing), drop me a line.

BTW… To see how TeeTimes.net uses in-calendar marketing, watch this screencast here:

http://www.screencast.com/t/tDGpL17x

August 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment


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