I love to see examples of grassroots innovation in local online marketing. One of my favorites is an e-newsletter from Sprocket Entertainment, the producers of a local comedy night in my hometown of Carlsbad, CA.
Sprocket is a startup by two comedians which also produces shows in Spokane, WA. It gets everyone to sign up for the newsletter when they use PayPal to buy tickets to their once-a-month event at a renovated theater, which they consider an alternative night out for “people who aren’t into loud music and pickup bar scenes. “
The e-newsletter has a circulation of about 1,000, and was started to get people to sign up to their bronze, silver and gold packages. The business sponsor idea was probably an after-thought. “Reach a targeted audience in Southern California that loves to laugh and may need what a local vendor has to offer,” goes the pitch.
So far, The Carlsbad Inn, Overstock Spas, Spoons Grill & Bar, and The Tamarack Beach Resort have all signed up. From the looks of things, Sprocket is doing about as well with local advertisers as more concerted efforts by Carlsbad.com, a chain of beach town city guides.
I noticed also that Sprocket links into GoldStar Events, an event lister and discount ticket broker for 2,000 SoCal venues that has 315,000 people on its mailing list. Like Sprocket, GoldStar deliberately targets less raucous members of the community. It says that 80 percent of its users are women, and that the average age is 37. GoldStar typically lists 600-800 events apiece, and has set up an event ad strip as a local media site alternative to Google AdSense.