Promotion by Our Friends
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The most effective and spectacular promotion is that done by you, our readers, design clients, customers, and yacht design students. Our resources to advertise and promote are limited. You are an essential part of helping us help more people have happier lives through boats. Only you can bring new people to our site. Even if you don't ever find something on our careers page that you just have to do and work with us here or collaboratively over the Internet, you are one of the most important members of our team and the key to bringing our services and products to the people who need them. We deliberately do essentially no advertising. This web site is here to provide information for those who are referred to us but we do not go out and advertise the site or push others to link to us.
Instead of promotion we rely on you. The key to our expansion has always been in your hands. When you refer others to our site it is worth far more than anything we could say about ourselves in some ad somewhere and it brings in more people than any conceivable ad campaign. Because this works so well we need no advertising budget. This means that everything from our custom and stock designs to our student tuition can be substantially lower in cost. This benefits everyone. Today we are well known as moderate in our custom design costs, and have been able to keep tuition in our school much lower in comparison with a "competitor" who advertises in the major boating magazines a tremendous amount. This is all because of you.
In the "old days" of the mid-1990s and before, we knew "word of mouth" worked well and relied on promotion by our friends to supplement the article writing that we did for the boating magazines and a few very modest ads. People talked to their friends at their boat yard or yacht club and referred people to us because they felt we really cared about customer happiness and really tried hard to do a good job. Occasionally they even did this over the telephone or in letters. Despite the fleeting nature of these contacts and the rather random nature of the communications, these word of mouth moments have traditionally been far more important to our design firm and school than any other promotion method short of writing articles and books.
Today the Internet has made a stunning difference. The impact you can have is now so much greater that I would venture to say that instead of your personal promotion efforts being a valuable supplement to traditional advertising they are the major driving force in whether people will come to us for advice and for the products and services that we offer. So what are the methods you can use to drive us to greater success in serving the people in the world with a serious interest in boats?
1. Personal Contact: You can continue to talk to your friends at get togethers, at the yacht club, etc. When you are rafted up in a quiet cove with other boats you can mention anything that we have done for you or helped you out with. You can mention us, as appropriate, in your letters, etc.
2. Professional Referral: If you are a professional in the industry you can do all of the above and will have even more weight with those you communicate with.
3. Email Contacts: In addition these days you will often have friends you email back and forth with who might well be happy to know about us.
4. Forum Participation: Perhaps you participate in discussion groups or "forums" on line. There are several ways you can help us out in this regard. First, you may find discussions already talking about us. Sometimes you may feel that these discussions could benefit from our input. Sometimes you may have comments to offer yourselves. Sometimes you may just want to recommend us as a source of advice. You may simply want to find as many of these forums as possible and simply put a mention of how you feel we can help, giving a link to our site. But above all occasionally people will have a complaint about us that they have not shared with us or which they feel was not properly resolved. Since we will go a very long way to see the customer's point of view and will try to do just about anything as long as it isn't unfair to other customers to accommodate them and make them happy, we really want to know about these things. You can be sure that any response we make in a forum will be kind and supportive, with continued expressions of good will toward the customer, no matter how extreme the complainant is in their statements, so you need not worry about bringing us into the discussion. If no one refers this complaint to us we will never have the opportunity to show that we will work hard and compassionately to help even the most vindictive person. We have found that people's general reaction to a complaint that is resolved nicely by us, no matter how unkind or even unfair the customer's comments were, is to be more confident and more supportive of us than if they hear nothing but praise. Your help is extremely vital with forums. There are just too many forums or discussion groups for us to follow even a reasonable number of them, given our large volume of work and the always limited number of people we have in relation to the work load, yet there are people on these forums whom we could help have happier lives in one way or another if you can guide them to us.
5. Link sites: Today many people have huge sites with lists of designers, schools, marine publishing houses, and sources for hardware and materials, plus other marine services along with links to the various sites. If we aren't on these you may want to suggest us. In some cases anyone can add a description and a link. You may wish to do this or you may refer us to the site. We have essentially no spare time to find these sites and submit our information to them. Remember the top search engines will tend to rank us higher based upon the number of links to our site. Therefore the more links there are at link sites the easier it will be for people to find us even if they never know these links sites exist!
6. Your own web site: In many cases you may have a web site of your own with interesting material that draws others to your site. It can be truly amazing how much business will come to us from a review of our site on even the most modest site. If our site is valuable to you, chances are it will be valuable to those drawn to your site by common interests. Of course as mentioned above this also makes us easier to find on the search engines too!
7. Asking for Articles from Us: These days we are far too busy to do up articles and send them out to the boating magazines on speculation. However if you would like to see an article from us on a particular topic in your favorite boating magazine, contacting the editor with your request and referring them to our web site and giving them our contact information may result in the editor approaching us for an article. Often we are able to put together articles that will help many people very quickly out of our large library of material that we have already researched and written for the use of our staff, our students, boatbuilders, other designers, and live aboards.
The net result of all of this is that through persistent promotion by you in the above manner, we can achieve a degree of service to serious cruising boat people very difficult to achieve in the past. You can bring us to the attention of more of the approximately 180,000,000 qualified customers we estimate exist all over the world. This helps us by providing more volume of business to spread our costs over, thus helping us keep our prices down while providing more and better service. It also helps us provide good work in the industry to people who work both here in Eastport and in supporting and collaborative relationships with us from all over the world.
Finally we want to mention that we always want to hear your suggestions for how we can better serve our industry. You are a very important part of our group.
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