Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Diane Martinez, welcome to the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast. I am so stoked to have you here.
Diane Martinez: Hi, Kristin. Thanks. I’m really excited to be here as well.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Well, Diane is joining us. She is the cofounder of the RoughRiders 200 bicycle event as someone called it a race. I mean, you do have jerseys and trophies and things. But we’re here today to talk with Diane about how to grow her following and how to make her following more engaged. Frankly, how to get more people to sign up to come to this beautiful race. And I can say this firsthand because I’ve actually experienced the event myself. It is a phenomenal road biking event that starts and finishes in Angel Fire in New Mexico which is east of Taos–one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. Basically, it’s a 100 mi. loop south which I believe is the Enchanted Circle, or is that the north loop, Diane?
Diane Martinez: That would be the Northern route. The Southern route is kind of like a little local secret. It’s where a lot of the locals ride, but hasn’t been as popular as the Enchanted Circle.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. So the first day is the locals, right, and the second day is the Enchanted Circle.
Diane Martinez: Correct.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Back to back, everybody. It’s 200 mi. for the weekend, and it’s pretty interesting because I had never done an event like that, and it actually was a really incredible event that I–I actually didn’t feel like, “Wow, I could never do that,” after I finished it. And I’m almost sure it’s because the scenery and the communities that you roll through and the camaraderie on the actual event itself are fantastic. I mean, this is one of the gems, I believe, to go do on your bicycle anywhere. People need to experience this on a bucket list. And that’s why we’re here together.
Diane Martinez: Well, thank you, Kristin.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: It’s very true. So Diane and her husband Michael are the founders of the RoughRiders 200 event. Can you tell us a little bit about the founding story?
Diane Martinez: Well, this is interesting. Before we had children, my husband and I, we rode all the time. We rode 20 mi. commute to work, every weekend. We were on the East Coast at the time. This was back in the ’90s, I guess. It was very easy for us to take our bikes anywhere. The airlines didn’t charge, we’d fly overseas with–say, “Hey, let’s go to France this weekend and ride the Alpe d’Huez. So we really enjoyed that. And then when we do have children, everything sort of changed. Our priorities, our resources, our time–it doesn’t have to be kids, it could be a job or physical limitations or anything. But there comes a point in a lot of people’s lives where you can’t get enough time or what I call sort of the exhaustion to exaltation.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s a perfect way of putting it.
Diane Martinez: Where you’re just pushing yourself so hard and seeing what you’re made out of. It’s hard to take enough vacation time or be away from your family that long. So we said, “Okay, how can we cram this into a weekend where people could get away with maybe taken one day off the travel or something?” And when we moved to Angel Fire in 2008, that’s when our wheels really started spinning saying, “We could do this because we’re in a place now where–like you said, it’s beautiful and it’s great. You could bring your family with you so they can see you in between the rides, they can see you out on the road, but they can be having a great time, too. There’s so much other things to do here that we just said, “This is it.”
So in 2013, we put on our first RoughRiders, and I think for the people that have come, they’ve really experienced what our vision was. That they’re exhausted, but you see them smiling as they come in. Maybe they’ve been out in the [inaudible]–there’s all kinds of unexpected things when you’re in the mountains. But when they cross that finish line after 200 mi., they’re just smiling ear to ear, and they are just so proud. It just creates this feeling in us of just–I don’t even know how to explain it. But I’m so happy to be a part of that for somebody else. Like the feeling it gives us. We just get to get that all vicariously through them. It’s been a great experience, except we’d like our numbers to grow so that we could kind of financially be able to keep doing this.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. That’s why we’re on the phone–that’s why we’re on this podcast today. Diane and I got together–well, first of all, I met Diane and Michael when I did the event myself. We’ve stayed in touch, and a lot of what we’ve stayed in touch about is I obviously have Verde, and I offered to give them pointers or whatever on growing their community. We’re taking it a step further today for the benefit of the Intrepid community because I get a lot of the same questions around building community, creating conversion. and really capturing what you just described as the emotional transformation that the people who come to do this event get. It’s a very visual event. There’s incredible things you discover and see, not only about the environment, but about yourself.
And so I feel your perfect case study, if you will, to do the Q&A on around growing community, hacking social media, hacking content marketing around in event like this because, ultimately, you are selling online–you’re a digital company in a lot of ways, but you have an experiential product with a lot of storytelling. And I feel like so many people can learn with what we’re going to discuss today here.
Diane Martinez: I’m excited to learn, Kristin.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay, great. So basically, if I can look at the trajectory of us hacking, if you will, like, working through solutions around getting more people to come to the event. That’s the #1 problem that you have right now. The numbers are the same [year after year?].
Diane Martinez: Yes. Yes. We need to figure out how–if it’s we’re not reaching far enough or we’re not doing it the best way…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: What have you been doing to date? Let’s put it that way. So we launched in 2013, that’s the first year you did the event. I imagine you–having signed up for the event–obviously, you’re using an event procurement or fulfillment company or you have some sort of sign up mechanism where you’re capturing an email.
Diane Martinez: Yes. We have sign up on our site that captures the email. I’m not sure I understand.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: My point is, you have a–I would say, you have an email list of people who opted in, and if they’ve done it–if they actually went through with it and did the event, I would guess they would be happy to hear from you, which I think is a great–you have a fantastic foundation with just that right there.
Diane Martinez: Okay.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: And you’re like, “I guess I believe you, but really–”
Diane Martinez: No, I know, I believe you. I’m just kind of thinking at the same time is that we do send out an email when the ride’s going to start and all, but maybe we’re not really using our email list effectively. Is that what you’re trying to–
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yes. And what I hear, a lot entrepreneurial companies and businesses, organizations doing is they grow a list and they’re like, “You know, if I was on the other side of this list, I wouldn’t want to hear from me that often.” And you can’t make that assumption because ultimately, the RoughRiders 200 is a bucket list event, and it’s something people tie part of their identity to, whether they’re training for it, whether they’re returning to do it again or whether they’re still just basking in the amazing memories they have of doing the event. Even if it’s just one day of the event or whatever it is. This becomes part of their bragging rights and their identity as a person. So I think everybody listening on this call, you probably could be emailing your list more if you’re not already on a regular program. I wouldn’t say just send them stuff for the sake of sending it, though.
What I would like to talk with you today is what does it look like to have all of the points of entry for RoughRiders working in tandem where you’re basically positioning your brand, storytelling to your reach, your audience, right–and it’s through either social or through email or through an in person event or perhaps even through people communicating with each other who have done the ride before, etc. So that’s what we’re here to talk about today is really nail down who is your ideal avatar, your ideal person who would come into this event, and then what are the stories they’d want to see from you throughout the year? Not just around before, during, and after the event. And we’re going to talk about where they’re going to find that, how they’re going to share, etc. So that’s where we’re going to go today.
I believe that you will see a spike in sign-ups because we’re also going to discuss like, “Okay, maybe people see this or they hear about this or we put together testimonials. Maybe we have a fantastic video, like we’re successful marketing with the state of New Mexico or Hammer Nutrition. But there’s still an obstacle. Like, how do I get there? Can I really do this? So we’re addressing those in the content. I’ve said this before on the podcast tonight, I think it’s hilarious, it always makes people laugh. But our customers’ data’s through our content. Before they commit, and this is a committing event. It’s a committing event, it’s a summer weekend, you have to train for it. But there’s also a rabid fanbase of people who would love to discover this event and make it part of what they do every year on their bike. That’s what happened to me, just so you know.
Diane Martinez: Great. Those other people we want to reach–we want them to be here. We want to meet them.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yep. So we’ve talked about a couple of the obstacles, but before we go into how to address that in your content, let’s first talk about just some 30,000 ft. components of your avatar. Like who is this person that you want to invite to Angel Fire to experience this event?
Diane Martinez: Well, it’s obviously experienced cyclists. But that can range–they could be racers–because if we do a Gran Fondo style, and their folks in the front that that’s part of why they’re there, I guess. But the majority of our riders are riding against themselves, really. And so…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I think you’re right. It’s basically somebody who has their bike as part of their identity, and they’re planning seasons around their bike, right? I mean, it’s like you and Michael were before kids, and I think you still are. now you’re just discovering a new way to do this, which I’m in exactly the same boat. But essentially, it’s for people who identify as cyclists, and want to push themselves with a challenge.
Diane Martinez: Yes. In fact, we kind of felt like they’re even the type of person that if they’re going to set a challenge, the bar is almost a little too high for what their friends or family might think. But they know inside, I can do this. So you’re not just staying in your comfort zone. You’re rarely challenging a little bit outside of your comfort zone, and seeing that you can do it. That’s where that exaltation comes from in my mind that you found out you’re stronger than you even knew. And that type of person, I think, would be attracted or is attracted to our event because it’s not one day, and then you get to go home and brag about it. You got to get up and do it again.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yes. And in a really incredible environment. So what you just said–I want the audience to hear this, too-you just said something that I think could be used again and again in your copy, and that is you’re stronger than you know. Okay. So the stretch goal cyclist might be a cool way to coin who you’re going after, but ultimately, having been at the ride–there were people from all walks of life there, tied to the aspiration that their bicycle’s going to enable them to have an incredible experience that weekend.
Diane Martinez: That’s what we discovered, too. It wasn’t what we necessarily expected our first year, but that–they came in all ages and body types and all that because it’s more about what’s inside. Than just–”Oh yes, I’m a very strong cyclist. I can ride these mountains. It was people of all types, really digging deep and saying, “I can do this.” And they did. And it was fantastic.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s great. So tell me this: how did you guys get the word out the first year?
Diane Martinez: We did have some print ads that were in, say, the Rocky Mountain [inaudible] race guide which has since no wonder exist, and then some other ones like Racing Post in Texas. So we tried some print ads, the online calendars…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Sorry. Driving distant states primarily is what you focused on?
Diane Martinez: Yes. First year, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, and then branched out a little more to Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas as the second and third years. Now the big part of what we did was actually go to other events or bike expos, and have a presence there, and try to talk to the writers, and let them see the maps, let them ask questions, hand the flyers, get it in their hands. That took a lot of time and travel so we had to focus on certain states at a time.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. But that’s great. So you guys took the show on the road, didn’t you?
Diane Martinez: Yes. Partly, that’s just Michael’s favorite thing to do, actually. He loves just getting out and talking with the people and talking to the rides, wondering how their ride went that day, if they were doing another event. He really likes to just connect individually with the people in a very comfortable way at that. So he would always be doing that, I believe.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s great. Honestly, he was–I remember just kind of being there in the crowd as you were kicking off the event. He definitely has a lot of the brand inside of him in terms of people looking up to him as, “Okay, there’s our mayor for the weekend,” you know?
Diane Martinez: Yeah. [inaudible] called the governor, actually. By [inaudible] of the riders. “You’re at each station. You’re here, you’re there, you’re on the road, you’re holding the dogs back.” He’s out there doing everything all day, and it just energizes him. And I’m a little more behind the scenes [inaudible] like running the timing and–
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s a good combination.
Diane Martinez: Yeah, we balance.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So, okay, that really helps me out a lot. That actually helped put you on the map. So the first event was the actual 2013 year, that’s not the year you were actually launching and kind of [inaudible] the event.
Diane Martinez: Actually, we started, I guess, in 2012, and the first event was 2013.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay.
Diane Martinez: Because this year is our 5th year. I call it the 5-year 1,000 mi. mark.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Awesome. For 2017, right?
Diane Martinez: Yes.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. I’m writing a little note here. Okay, that’s great. We’re coming up to an important milestone year. And that, to me, means we can look back and create some amazing proof of concept to try and bring more people in. The first place my mind goes is I know you have like a special number system where like if you sign up year over year, you get the same number. And they’re very low numbers, like 1 through 25 or whatever. When people see that on the course, they’re like, “Wow,” they’ve done this 4 times. And next year, it will be 5th, right?
Diane Martinez: We’re trying to figure out how to do that for continuing riders that weren’t here our first year. But currently, that’s for our inaugural riders, our inaugural year. On a whim the second morning, Michael just announced like, “You guys are awesome.” And where we’re [inaudible] your numbers. So the first year group got their numbers for life. We’re trying to figure out a way that if we have some other folks that may have discovered us later but our loyal participants here that we can figure out how to get them their own as well without eventually getting up to 5,220 [inaudible].
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. Are you there?
Diane Martinez: Yes. I’m sorry.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay, good. I just–no, it’s okay, there was a little [inaudible] so I made sure.
Diane Martinez: I stopped short.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. So let’s talk about this. So 2017 is the 5-year 1,000 mi. mark, right?
Diane Martinez: Yeah, correct.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I think that that deserves a campaign theme in and of itself. So we now have an idea of who you’re going after. It’s definitely could be pinpointed more which I know you’re going to be doing, right, when this episode comes out. The new RoughRiders website will be up. And I invite everybody to go look at it and share the content. We help each other out in this community. It’s roughriders200.com. I will also have that in the podcast notes. But tell us this, Diane, you guys have done some social media. I know you’ve utilized the blog on your old site, mostly to provide news updates. Tell us what the capability of the new website can be in terms of establishing more of a point of entry or an ecosystem, if you will, for this target customer.
Diane Martinez: As we work through, actually, some of your materials from Intrepid Entrepreneur, we’ve actually been able to flesh out a little bit more about campaigns or things we might be able to do. So I think that we’ll be able to have more information on the site about instead of just listing say, “This is our lodging sponsor or supplier.” But really, trying to get people to understand what it’s like here, what lounging opportunities there are. Because it’s a very small town, but yet it’s a ski resort. So we have lots and lots of condos. Maybe since we’re so remote, think about great routes to get here and cool things to do on the way. New Mexico’s a kind of untapped vacation spot. There’s a lot here that people don’t know about. And just sort of making each blog more about the experience than just the facts, if that makes sense.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Totally. It’s the wife. I think that’s absolutely what you want to do. What I would do is I would look at–right now, we’re talking in October, but let’s say we look at November, December, January, and February. Capture those four months. And I would put a theme to what I was going to write about, and be distributing on my social media and my blog over those 4 months through getting back in touch and warming up my list of emails that I have from past people who have done the race. And I also would segment that list, and maybe have a group of VIPs, if you will. I wouldn’t necessarily call them that, but maybe there’s something on brand you could kind of play with around the RoughRiders 2000. Come up with a moniker that would make people feel like, “Okay, I’m in the club.” They get special content, and we also survey them. Like, “What did you think of this?” “Would you like to see more content on this?” etc. And maybe they get special preferential treatment in terms of premium content or anything like that.
So the reason you want to segment it into your uber fans, if you will, versus people who have gone and done the event is you want to treat the list differently. Obviously, your uber fans, I think you could email them or you could have an insider tone with that. And you could get a lot of great data out of it. You could even say, “We’re thinking of running 4 different short blog posts on some of the people who have done the event 5 years in a row to honor them for the 2017 5-year 1,000 mi. anniversary that we have coming up next year. And you guys have helped bring us to that point, and we want to get your input.” So you’re bringing them in, and you’re almost having them shoulder some of the responsibility for having just an incredible 2017 event.
Then there’s the other majority of your list, like your big list that you–you segmented out the VIPs, and now you’re looking at your main list, your house list, and you want to provide them with themed content, but you want to send them an email saying, “By the way, we’re having a really important anniversary coming up next year. We would love to personally invite you back to the event and tell us about some of the content you would want to see. Would you be interested in getting training tips? Would you be interested in us covering different places for you to make this a family vacation on this blog?” So you’re basically asking them what kind of resource-based content might you like. And they will hopefully respond, or you could use a tool like Typeform or Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, I can help you with that, by the way, if you want. I think you’re already using SurveyMonkey, if I’m not mistaken.
Diane Martinez: Yes, just for the [inaudible].
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. So you can actually survey that main list, and when you start to see what some of the responses are, you can assess, okay, you go back out and say, “After listening to you, we’re going to send two resource-based like, very highlight-oriented emails a month.” I’m making this up, but maybe that’s what you get a sense they want. The frequency is this. As we get closer to the event, we’re going to go weekly. Know that you can always just hit respond to this, and I’m right here. Because I think one of the most important things about overcoming the obstacle– “Is this too hard for me?” “Is this too remote for me?” The fact that you and Michael are a family running this, and you have such an incredible intention around enabling people to discover this and experience it for themselves, they need to start seeing that.
And I think it will help them overcome their obstacles just by the tone that you take and the resources you provide them in your content. So that’s something I think we should do is like, we’ll set up a 4-month themed editorial content calendar, if you will. We’ll come up with themes for November, December, January will be a big month because everybody loves to have a goal, okay? And your goal could be like right in the middle of the year, you can interview some people on your blog and put a hyperlink in the newsletter. Like, read about how this person has done the event for 5 years, and every year, they get a better time. So you’re appealing to different people.
And then, you also take what you do in that newsletter, and you basically are pulling in things that you’re doing on other points of entry for Rough Riders such as Facebook. And as we talked in our pre-call, Instagram, I think, is a really important place for you guys to be. You can even do repurpose some of the content that you have of other people who have posted photos to Facebook. And maybe work together in your “off season” or lead-up season, and put an Instagram feed together that really captures what your avatar would want to experience coming to this event. So some of those things would be showcasing [inaudible]. Like, who knew that–I rode by that for the first time. I was like, “Sure, I’ve heard that this was here. I had no idea it was this beautiful and awesome.” I just rode by it, and it’s still in my mind and in my heart, you know? I’d love to see like, “Okay, could I bring my family down and do a long weekend before and after this event?”
So I think showcasing certain [inaudible] along these two routes that you have so people can see and experience and get excited about seeing things, plus they’d never get to see this any way and–okay, let me back up. The best way to see this region, everybody is on a bicycle. Hands down. And I think that that should be a big part of what you’re maybe going to cross promote with the state, ideally, on and you don’t need to get their permission or win a grant from them, although that’s always helpful. You can just tag them in your Instagram feed, and they’ll hopefully pick up and share your content. Or if they’re covered in a blog post, you send it to the marketing director at [inaudible] and say, “Hey, we covered you in our blog this week, just letting you know. Here’s how I’d love to have you share it.”
You can create a very simple here’s-what-you-can-post-on-Facebook-from-it–here’s the link, and [inaudible] it would make my year if you did this because we’re going into year five, and this is a big year for us. We want to try to drive people to see you, too. They will repost that because they’re all looking for content. So I think coming up with that content calendar we’ll do every four months, because again–February, March, April, May, June would lead you right into it. So two 4-month themed calendars. And then tying everything you do to that, I think, would be really important in order to use the reach of entities that are on the route, and also your sponsor partners, which is an area, I think, we could go into next year.
Diane Martinez: Okay. A quick question before we go on. What you’re just describing, that is something we’re experienced–we’re sharing with the entire–what you call the main or house list, and just trying to get that out there to everyone. When you were talking about segmenting it all and having some sort of special content for uber fans, is that something they would sign up for on the website or the newsletter that separate [inaudible] are uber fans? I wasn’t sure what you were–how you were saying that we should sort of create that special inner circle, I guess.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s a great question. It is, and that’s exactly–let’s say for example, you guys are Mini Cooper owners. If you’re a Mini Cooper owner, you have the opportunity to join a club or like–everybody loves to look at Rapha, the apparel brand, and they have a club, right? So essentially, what you’re doing is you’re starting a club around this 5-year mark. People get the same way their numbers were [inaudible], and Michael just–he hit the nail on the head when he did that. He delighted the people who were there when he did that. And that’s what we want to do with this. We want to invite them in. “Hey, we’ve noticed that you’ve been to 3 out of our 4 events–or 2 out of our 4 events–and to us, you’re really special. You’ve gotten us to this point. We want to make you part of this 5-year celebration we’re having.” Then you just tell them, “You’re on a special communication list with us because you are insiders, and we’d love to bounce some ideas off of you, and we’d love to also make sure that you plan and have an incredible experience out here. Let us know how we can help.”
That might be–maybe they have an opportunity to get a Pactimo kit a little bit discounted, or maybe you put something else together special for them that has nothing to do with the discount. But point being is you have them in a different list, and you’re not including them in the house outreach. The house outreach will be really positive and awesome, too. But this group is really special because ultimately, they’ve brought you to the point where you are. And we want to keep them with us and make them part of a tribe. And they will, feeling like, “Wow, I’m in this special tribe.” They will help you find other ideal customers to come and do this event. They’ll bring friends. They’re exactly the kind of people we want 10 or 20 more of. Or 100 more of.
Diane Martinez: Okay. So it’s basically the [inaudible]. That is that special group. Okay, I get what you’re saying.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. And you’re treating them like they get their own communication from you. I’m happy to help you work on this, but I would essentially communicate with them like they’re the VIPs. Like they’re part of the founding of this event.
Diane Martinez: Yes. It’s what we do when we see them in person. So you’re saying like, you know, do that through the emails as well instead of having that sort of general statement out there. It’s a we know you statement and you know us kind of–and let’s talk. Okay.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Here’s a really interesting way to utilize these people if you have, your just raving fans, which I know you do. You could actually feature them in a blog post and enable them to do what’s called an Instagram takeover where maybe the week that their blog post hits and they talk about their events and their favorite high points in it and why they come back every year. But then the same week, they take over your Instagram feed, and we work with them to come up with one post a day from all of the events that they’ve done. So they can actually share some of their own photos on your Instagram feed.
Diane Martinez: Okay, that sounds great.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So that ties back into the blog. Ideally, it gets you wider reach. And let’s say they talk about, “Gosh, one of the high points for me was riding up the road to Taos Ski Valley.” I’m just making this up. Then we basically tag Taos Ski Valley in there, and make sure they’re reposting this. So that’s how we do it. Or, “Red River was one of the highlights for me, I have never seen that town, I love the pass.” Was it Bobcat or Badger Pass? What was it called?
Diane Martinez: It’s Bobcat Pass. I remember talking to [inaudible] at the top of Bobcat Pass.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yes, I remember that too.
Diane Martinez: Go, go, you’re ahead.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That was my very favorite climb of the whole thing. It comes on Day 2, and it’s a spanker. But honestly, if you go through this super adorable town, the whole ride up to it is gorgeous. And then you get to do this amazing pass that I literally count as one of my favorite climbs I’ve ever done. Honestly, if you were featuring me, like I would talk about that, and I don’t have a picture of me from the top of that pass, but we could find one–
Diane Martinez: I think I do.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Well, that would be great. But point being is, you hear how excited I get. When people see me and they’re like, “Oh she has two kids, she drove there. I’m going to try and get my husband to come out with his dirt bike next year.” Like, I’m exactly who you want me to be bringing like 5 friends from Durango. And so that’s a way, for me, to be able to wave the flag of my experience. Honestly, the thing that’s so powerful about these people who have been to your event and been there multiple times is they actually feel a sense of ownership of it. You probably have heard people talking at the beer garden like, “Boy I hope this day is like core and [inaudible] family, etc.” And you guys are rolling your eyes like, “We actually need to get more people.”
Diane Martinez: Yeah. We’ve heard so many times–”Don’t grow it too much. You’re not going to make this too big, are you?” We don’t want it, we just want to find that sweet spot.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Exactly. And you will. Think about if you found the 20 people or maybe it’s 50 people–I’m not sure–that fall into this VIP category, and you are prompting them through showcasing their experience to share it with their friends, I mean, I would totally share that with everybody I could. Like, “Look, I got featured on this blog and they’re running some of my photos. Like, how cool is this that I’d share it with a bunch of people? We should go down and do it next year. They have a great bed base, it’s a beautiful drive, we can go to Taos on the way out or whatever.” It’s just perfect for that. So that’s why I think that you should spend some time really working on creating a community out of your power users, if you will, the people who just love your event and would scream from the rooftops. Because ultimately, you’re giving us the power to procure more people like us. And if we’re able to invite our friends and you grow, that’s a win-win.
Diane Martinez: Yeah. I’m all about win-win.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. So looking at that, obviously, we’ve just talked about utilizing a blog and Instagram together tied into an email activation, if you will. I also would try and maybe have something special on site for the VIPs. Like maybe there’s something special for them at the beginning and the end of the event. But it’s something that other people won’t be, feel like, “Oh, I’m slided. We don’t ever want that.” But we want people to be like, “Wow, if I come back next year, I might be part of that club.” So maybe brainstorm on some ideas there. My sense of it is just sharing experiences and allowing them to share their photos or videos or whatever, is going to be enough for your VIPs.
Diane Martinez: Okay.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Another thing I wanted to talk about too–so that’s how we would “turn alumni into marketing people.” But having done a number of other driving distance epic endurance events, you can actually go out at the beginning of 2017 year and say, “Hey, we’re looking to create a team of ambassadors.” And you target like driving distance cities that you know are really popular for what you do, and in terms of like people wanting to come out and maybe work with the local cycling club or a local bike shop there to identify who would be somebody–or maybe you have someone who’s done the event there which would be completely ideal. But tapping into other organizations or even independently, on companies in those towns to try and do some cross-promotion, I think, would be really cool.
You could also even do a social media contest with say, it’s the Durango wheel club. We do something with you guys where two people can win a trip down there. I don’t know how it would look, and I’m not saying we have to have you invest in that because there are ways to do interesting things with chambers and different sponsors etc. But point being is, getting the word out to some new people, like in the beginning, you said that you did this through print ads and hitting the calendars. You want to do that but you also want to try and extend an invitation and make it more of a way that you want to convey experience. So yes, you want to be on the calendars and race and cycling events, but we also–let’s say we have the blog that we’re putting together that we’ve discussed on the alumni writers–maybe we can also send that to the local paper in their region and say, “Hey, could you share this? This is one of your cyclists in your community. We’ve just profiled them.” Maybe that’s an additional way to get some reach, you know?
Diane Martinez: That’s great idea.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: When you feature other organizations such as–I keep going back to [inaudible], or different areas on the actual route itself, or Red River, New Mexico, you could actually contact them after the blog is in and say, “Hey, you were mentioned in here. We’re putting a picture of you downtown. Would you mind repurposing this and we’ll send it to your paper, too.” But you want to send it to the chamber or any bike shops and they’ll definitely repurpose it. Because it’s free content that mentions them. And that brings people back to your site.
Diane Martinez: Okay. Yeah, that’s great.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I have another question, too. Are you using–and forgive me for not remembering this–but are you using Eventbrite, or what is the sign up mechanism or registration mechanism you have?
Diane Martinez: It’s one that–well, Michael is a software engineer, so he just wrote one.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Oh, that’s cool. Okay.
Diane Martinez: So we saved those fees, but I guess it doesn’t have the advertising.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Well, there is a sense. It’s almost like having a podcast on iTunes. It’s there, but people have to still go find it. You know what I mean? So I feel like if you’d take some of these grassroots marketing and community building techniques that you’re working on, you’re going to get reach for this with the right people. My only question was yes, if you were using an Eventbrite, I was going to say we could try ride the coattails of that. But I think, have Michael look at what he’s built, and see if there’s any way to make it possible for when somebody signs up for the event to have it populate their social feed.
And if there isn’t a way to build that in, then I would send them an email thanking them for their signing up, which I’m sure you do, like, here’s all your details. “By the way, please post this on your Facebook page because this is an incredible event, and wouldn’t it be great if you had friends join you.” Or whatever. And you just ask them in your thank you email like, “Please post this on your social media, you’d be proud. This is an incredible accomplishment that you’re about to do.” So that’s another way to get them to do something. Oftentimes, you just have to ask people to do it and they’ll do it. And that’s the call to action. Everybody’s like, “What’s the call to action?” It’s as simple as just saying–
Diane Martinez: Asking them.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yes. Go tell them to do something. [inaudible] okay, great. You’ve completed your registration, now do this. I know I’ve just talked a ton. I mean, we haven’t gotten into some of the other ideas around sponsorship, and we’re already coming up on 40 minutes here, which I need to be mindful of the audience’s time. But do you have any more questions that you want to ask me before I maybe kind of round up here with our sponsorship overview?
Diane Martinez: Let’s see. I’m going through my questions. A lot of–it has already been–there’s one thing though that–this consistent branding–we have–the fact that we are this very–we advertize [inaudible] are very tough for a rough event, and it is, but also, riders can do a single day or we added a 50-miler for folks that were more starting out, or some people do 150? We have people that are 70 that even complete this until they might ride 150 the second day. Or family, like spouses or children of riders might do the 50. I feel like we’ve kind of bounced around, like afraid that we’re going to miss somebody or scare somebody away and that we kind of shift our branding, and I’m wondering what is the best way to do that? Do we just [inaudible] one consistent brand or do we have like different campaigns or something for different people without turning off the other crowd? Does that make sense?
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s a really good question. What I love is that you’re looking to protect your communication to your absolute target center of the halo, if you will, which is your avatar. And you want to try and be remarkable to them and not try and be remarkable to everyone. So what you’re asking me in my mind is we want to be consistently offering this identity and experience and transformation, if you will, to our avatar. But their avatar may have to have a couple of things happen in order to have this experience. And that is–I need to bring my family. It’s in the middle of summer, and they need to have stuff to do. So I would try and frame the different race events and the different–here’s the experience that your whole family could have here. You want to make sure that the core person who you’re marketing to knows that this is going to be a challenge, and it is. It’s an epic event that they can’t complete.
Everybody hear me like it’s not too epic, like you could totally do this. You do have to get a little training, but you could totally do it. But I believe that if you try to position the lower mileage options and the family vacation options around this avatar in your blog post, then it would work. Because essentially, you’re putting more underpinnings around how to make this dream happen for them. And then other people who might say, “I’m only going to do the 50 miler,” will discover the content that way. So the way you could position it is in a blog post, you could say, “One of the things that we’re asked most about is I want to come out and do this. I’m the cyclist in my family, but it’s summer. I have to bring my family, too. My wife might want to do or my husband might want to do the 50 miler. My kids may want to go to Angel Fire, ride chairs and do downhill. Is that something that my family could do from Oklahoma?” You write, “Absolutely.”
So there might be like a Q&A that you’d do from your avatar, but your answer captures what other people with different ability levels and interests can do. But it’s all about enabling them to get their [inaudible] event.
Diane Martinez: Okay, that makes sense.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s such a great question, and the fact that you asked it shows me that your head is right in the right place. Like you have to be romancing this stretch goal cyclist. That’s who you’re going after here. Somebody who loves the outdoors, and obviously probably is in a family or a friend situation where people would love to do this too, that’s when like, “Okay, here’s the top–” I could see somebody literally saying, “Okay, honey, here’s something that we could look at. Here’s a question and answer thing on how to make this a family event for me. I mean, you guys are all so great and supportive of my training. Let’s go out and make this a family weekend. Here are the things that you guys can do.”
And I would get that out fairly early in the year so that people can plan like even January or February–put it out there, have them plan it as part of their bucket list, but then say, “But check out how beautiful this area is. Your family is going to have a great time, and we’re here to help you connect the dots on that.” Then we keep that post as up there. It’s evergreen. And we keep linking back to it. So anytime in future blog posts that say, “Hey, you’re thinking of bringing your family? Here’s a great post we wrote.” And it takes them back with a single click on to your website there to a different post that has all of the–basically, the vacation planner or the lower mileage plan, etc.
Diane Martinez: That actually answers another question I had as well. Like [inaudible]–what did you call it, evergreen? We put something up, and you’re worried that someone that’s just reaching you later won’t see it. So you just sort of work it into with just a link and a sentence into later emails or posts or something.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Or you know, the other way you can handle that is you can repost that on Facebook and Instagram however often you want. You just mix it in with other brand new content. You could say, “Hey, this is one of our most visited blogs. It talks about the different mileage opportunities. If you want to bring somebody out who may not be ready to ride 200, look at all the things they can do. Go read the post here.” Right, so you can keep bringing that up. It’s almost like that piece of content is a product you’re selling, and it becomes part of your editorial calendar. But it’s a post that I think–there are two posts in my mind. There’s a family–wrapping a family trip around this event and then there’s a different mileage opportunities. You can use them again and again in your social, and also just link back to them in an outreach that you’re doing.
Diane Martinez: Okay. Yes. Like you said, there’s going to be a time limit here. But again, what do people see, and how often can you keep putting the same information in front of them. And you’re saying it’s fine to keep doing that same. This is one of our most visited blogs or–important–okay.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Social media is incredibly targeted when you pay for visibility. Say you decide to boost a post on Facebook. As we get closer to the event or say we look at–since Michael’s a software engineer, we’re able to look at when are the best sign up times for us. I might do a light advertising campaign. Not a lot of money, I’m talking about like $100. Create an avatar profile in the power editor of Facebook, and take it one step up from a boost, and maybe do an ad set around different pieces of content where you’re actually driving Facebook traffic back to those blog posts. There’s something for them to do there. Sign up here to get on the list, to get more information about signing up for this. Or maybe it’s around like a lot of events like 12 hours [inaudible] Verde–the iron horse.
A lot of these events sell out in like 3 hours. I’m not saying like that is something you want to promote and advertise because I don’t know if it matches your brand feel, but it is something that you could say, “Hey, registration’s open.” And maybe that’s when you invest in a little bit of a Facebook ad spin, driving people back to an evergreen blog post that talks about, “Hey, this is the year that you want to do this. It’s the 5th year anniversary, it’s 1000 mi. We’ve got all kinds of cool stuff going on leading into the promotion of this. Join us.”
Right, and that drives people back to a long form blog post that has all the information. And maybe there’s a place for them to sign up or register right there.
I think that could be a really, really opportune time to do a little bit of paid positioning with your Facebook. Then let’s say we also are successful getting something in the Santa Fe, New Mexican, or the Albuquerque Journal or the Durango Herald or some of these driving distance you want to put a news [inaudible] about the fact that it’s your 5th year anniversary. If you get those placements, you take that digital media hit, and you turn that into a Facebook ad, and I can help you with this. But ultimately–
Diane Martinez: So that’s [inaudible] a whole bunch of new questions.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: No, I know. We don’t have time to get into the [inaudible]. We can do another call because I know other people want this. But running a brand communications agency, we are getting a lot more mileage off of media hits when we’re actually socializing them. Sometimes, even creating a paid ad around them. So that’s something else that I think you would want to add in is just hit the calendars and the cycling events and everything you’ve always done, but also don’t be afraid to send a press release to some of the papers of these driving distance cities.
Diane Martinez: All right.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: We do need to do another call in this because I think we did this–I didn’t even talk about PR yet, and that’s like one of my areas of expertise. But Diane, I feel like we’ve covered a ton here, and I’m so–#1, thank you for doing this event because it has enhanced my life, and I can’t wait to get back down there and do it again. I’m happy to scream from the rooftops like what you’re doing is important, and I think more people need to know about it which is why I have you on the call here today. But let me know how I can help, of course. But thank you for sharing your story. I mean, so many entrepreneurs, no matter what we d,o are in the same boat, if you will. You guys are on a great trajectory of something really great here, and it is going to come together.
Diane Martinez: Well, thank you, Kristin. I’m just excited about all that you’ve given me today to run off and start making it happen. Where to be honest, I would just hear the words Facebook, and there’d be this little cringe inside of me going, “Oh no, I need to be doing that, but I don’t know what to do.” Now suddenly I just feel like it’s turned around and I’m ready to get going. So thank you so much.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome. Well, I love hearing that. Honestly, I don’t have a single client–and I also feel that way about Facebook sometimes, too. But if you just look at it like a process and not an event, and you take bite-sized pieces of it and utilize it at the right time for what you’re doing, it’s completely doable. It really is. And it’s super effective. So I’m excited to see how that could help create some lift.
Diane Martinez: I am, too. Thank you.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Cool. All right, well, thank you, Diane. Everybody, please check out roughriders200.com. New website. If you know anybody who happens to be a stretch goal cyclist and endurance cycling enthusiast, tell them about this event. It is remarkable, it is right smack in the middle of summer. One of the most beautiful places in the world to be.