Monday, February 25, 2008

Online Strategies…

I want to pick up right where I left off in my last blog entry, our online strategies behind capturing the casual fan. This has been one of the most difficult areas of the entire project. Since there is no true TV guide to the Internet, it is very tricky to target individuals that might be interested in our content.

To combat this, I’ve decided to couple together ordinary online marketing techniques with some other more obscure methods. As most online entities do, we take full advantage of e-mail marketing and online ad placement. We’ve sent numerous e-mail blasts and have had ads placed on several newspapers’ websites in our markets during the first few months since our product’s launch.

The e-mail blasts have been sent to our existing list of registrants and our current registrants, so their true intent is not to find fans. They serve more as a tool to let our user base know when specific events are happening. The online advertisements have all been placed within the sports sections of newspapers’ websites. These are truly meant to capture the casual fan as they peruse the local news.

The most exciting online tactic (well, at least in my opinion) we are using right now would have to be Facebook. Most companies utilizing Facebook are simply creating applications, which I feel do not capture the true essence of the platform. Creating an application and throwing it on the platform is limiting and does not always support social interaction between the company and its supporters. According to O’Reilly, “87% of the usage goes to only 84 applications!" Taking a different approach, I have created a Horizon League Network Facebook account as if it were a living and breathing being. More than 100 people have friended this profile, with more than half being student-athletes that have starred in HLN videos. This also provides a great service to our athletes because all of their friends can see the videos they’ve starred in.

This is an area that there is no real precedent. As our product grows, so will its online presence and the tactics we use. Upstart FindInternetTV is a new website that is helping online video sites by setting up a directory and schedule (almost an online TV guide). I see sites of this nature taking off in the near future as Internet video “comes of age.”

Finally, this is another way we are increasing our online presence. Blogging. I have to admit at first I didn’t know about the whole concept. I was apprehensive to start a blog as I didn’t think people would care about my ramblings. Obviously, some people do. This blog has brought in hundreds of users to the site in the last month. So, you are reading and using it as an entry point to our site… thank you.

HLN Fact: Wednesday night’s Butler at UIC game set a single-game high for viewers with 3,248. If you watched, thank you. If you didn’t, you should go watch the archive!!

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