I was at the press / first day of the Ski & Snowboard Show London yesterday and it was great to network and meet with the UK ski industry leading tour operators, instructor companies and equipment manufacturers.
I was there for two reasons. Firstly to sell my search engine optimisation & conversion rate optimisation services (helping businesses to acquire and convert more customers) as well as to start making connections for my new snow publishing startup Snowbistro.com.
SEO & CRO for Snow
Until recently I had taken on SEO clients who had come to me through word of mouth or by approaching local companies (to Norwich, UK) who I saw I could help (I wrote in my book how I approached my biggest client to date through ‘warm’ emails and closing at the first meeting, including the template and what was said).
This was obviously not at all strategic and was not the best way to find my ‘ideal’ client. I found myself with a contract furniture manufacturer, a job recruitment site, a charity that works to prevent sexual exploitation, a wedding venue company and a housing association. It’s hard to create synergy whilst working across so many different industries and fields and it’s hard to find the right content writers to create compelling content to be placed on relevant, authoritative sites.
Whilst traveling around Holland earlier this month I saw an advert on a train station in Breda (great little City) for the Tirol and it made be realise just how much I love skiing & snowboarding and living in the mountains – something I have not done since a ski season in Whistler back in 05/06 with my old buddy and now contributor of Snowbistro.com Gavin Robbie.
I’ve not been on a proper ski trip since road-tripping around Tahoe with Gav back in 08; it’s as if I’ve been consumed over the last five years by entrepreneurship at all costs, forgetting what truly made me happy.
So I decided, now that I’ve followed my efforts, to follow and combine with my passions. To pick up a handful of SEO clients in the snow industry and to create an online publishing business in order to promote their products and services as well as to become a player in the industry and get out to the Alps!
And by being my customer (as a skier and snowboarder for 20 years) I fully understand the needs and mindset of people looking for products and services in order to do a semantic analysis of their search criteria which after the recent Google Hummingbird update will give me a big competitive edge over other agencies.
I did a huge amount of keyword research before arriving at the show as well as researching into all the exhibitors to see which could be decent potential leads. For me the areas that SEO can be most effective (highest traffic and CPC) are travel, chalets, jobs, goggles and instructor courses and I spoke with several companies in each category.
It was great to speak with Dan Fox, MD of skiweekends.com who rank first for the keyword ‘ski weekends’ which gets over 4k searches a month in the UK and have built an impressive big and efficient operation, and to meet with Linley from Basecamp Group who run ski instructor courses.
And it was awesome to meet with Simon and Francesca and try on the Frameless Ski Goggles at the Summit stand. It’s inspiring to see a UK outfit pushing the envelope on both framless ski goggle design and construction to give a superior field of vision, make it easier to change lenses and decrease overall weight.
Snowbistro.com – online publishing biznass
The other reason I was at the show was to start connecting with the snow industry media for my new online publishing biznass and I was getting my tweet on before and during the show.
It actually took me several hours to come up with the name Snowbistro.com as pretty much every two word domain starting with snow has been taken! I ended up having to go onto Angel List (the startup fund-raising platform) to check out the last part of the names they were using and found the startup appbistro.com (which has been acquired), put snow+bistro into 123-reg (no affiliate link) and hit buy. And talking of startups and Angel List, it was great to chat with Steph from Liftopia the San Fran startup funded by Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital who has the coolest backstory / interview ever (watch the interview with Jason Calacanis on This Week On Startups here).
And going with the bistro theme, the description on the facebook page is ‘Serving up the freshest UK snow industry news & deals‘ – I’m growing a community on facebook first, taking the advice of the baller location independent entrepreneur Sean Ogle with his golf startup Breaking Eighty, before launching the actual snowbistro.com site on 1st December.
What that will look like or what direction I’ll take it I frankly have no idea. I’ll just be happy to have a place to create great content for, working with fellow editor Gav (who’s active in the Snowboard Club UK who I chatted to at the show) and other contributors, in order to build the domain authority to promote my SEO clients and to rank for decent terms when it pivots or niches down one way or another.
What I do know is that I want to be working with other snow entrepreneurs such as Mark Slater from SnowVole.com, an online social networking site for skiers and boarders, who not only create their own mascot (Vince) but got 1000s of these cute critters made up to promote and for people to buy!