Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Greetings from GNI Marketing Director

New Year's Eve Greetings.

In October, Peter Karlovich gave me a great introduction to the group as the new Marketing Director. This month, I'm reintroducing myself to the group and introducing the work I've done since I started 30+ days ago, and outlining what I'm planning for the future. 

But first, let me start with my own story, and why taking on this project is important to me.
12 years ago I started Nude Yoga Pittsburgh. Through my yoga group, I met Pete Karlovich and Steve Herforth. They began encouraging me to come to the Gathering...and every year they reminded me...finally, after 4 years of their prompting, I went to the website to sign up...It said that it was sold out! Later, at a nude party, Pete told me there were lots of spots left. I wrote it off as bad info from the website. The next year I was able to register, was impressed by the how well run it was, met some great guys, and really enjoyed the experience at the Gathering.

But why did it take me 4 years to try to sign up?
Even though the thoughts of naked camping sounded hot, when I went to the website it left me cold...and when I finally went to sign up....well, you get the idea.

So with my story in mind, the website was my first target for improvement. 

Years ago a basic website that facilitated a registration was all you needed. Today, especially for a younger demographic if it doesn't look cool immediately or has an involved process....you lost a potential camper.

So I made the commitment to change the website subtly without disrupting the current activity on the site. This way updates could be seen immediately. A number of those updates were time sensitive, for example, we wanted the GNI website to have a full representation of the Pocono Eagle in advance of MAL in January. So my goal became to accomplish that by the end of November which I did.

But before I could do that a number of other changes were made to simplify navigation through the site and give the whole site a clean, fresh, more exciting look that shows who we are and what we do a lot better than before. You will now notice a more appealing presentation, easier navigation, and a smoother process. The membership application and renewal pages are easy to find. There are new Activities, Accommodations, Social Hour, Pocono Eagle, Bear, and Yoga pages, and a number of others with more to come.

Web design is a lot like writing a book, you have a vision of what you want to do - then you isolate yourself and design, and after numerous edits and numerous hours, sometimes until 2 am, while everyone is wondering "Gee, what is Gene doing for us?" gradually the changes start to appear, then everyone starts to see the overall vision too. Then positive reactions start coming in and it reinforces that you are on the right track. 

So what have the results been?
We've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the changes that have taken place so far. A number have commented on how much better it looks, that they can find things and that we now have links to prices and registration on every page. And, everyone loves Trae Crowder's video on the homepage, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out; it's good. 

So let me tell you another story:
I have a 25-year-old friend here in Pittsburgh, I tried to get him to go with me to GNI last year, he looked at our website and said: "This doesn't look that interesting, I'm going to The Woods, instead."
Last week I showed him the refreshed website he said, "Wow, I had no idea you had all this going on, this looks awesome...you must have lowered your prices or something...I can afford the full week." He's signing up next week. He's our target market. 
Much more has been done, and I could go on, but I'll stop here, for now, to keep it interesting.
We'll call this part 1.