Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (PressExposure) October 06, 2009 -- One year ago, Daniel Gasteiger was messing around in relative obscurity with a home-grown web site about country living. To learn why his web site received almost no visitors, Gasteiger enrolled in an on-line course on Internet Marketing. Six months later and with a new web site, Gasteiger has amassed a worldwide audience of thousands.
âOn day one of a month-long course, the instructor described the steps Iâd taken to create my rural- themed web site,â Gasteiger explained. âThen he denounced the process, explaining that everything Iâd done, Iâd done wrong.â To complete an assignment for the course, Gasteiger researched topics that might be popular on the Internet, and quickly launched a web site about kitchen gardeningâgrowing your own vegetables and fruit.
Within days, Gasteigerâs new site had a small trickle of visitors, and now, 12 months later, the site attracts more than 5,000 visitors each month. Whatâs more, Gasteiger corresponds with a gloabal community of gardeners on dozens of topics.
Through blogging and social networking on Twitter, Gasteiger has connected with hundreds of gardening enthusiasts. Of more than 700 people who follow him on Twitter, Gasteiger estimates that about 300 are there to talk about gardening. âThese are hobbyist gardeners, professional landscapers, nursery operators, garden writers, book and magazine editors, and TV garden show personalities,â Gasteiger explains. âSome have become great friends through our shared love of gardening and the ease of communication provided by social networking. In fact, a few of my on-line gardening friends have come to visit in Lewisburgâ¦ and Iâve met others at planned get-togethers at public gardens.â
One great frustration of this on-line gardening community is that many friends are far away. Gasteiger observes that that also creates compelling opportunities. âIf I get a chance to visit Australia, Iâll have gardening friends to visit there. One has a small hydroponics setup Iâd love to see in-person.â
Gasteigerâs web site http://www.smallkitchengarden.net, teaches how to grow produce in limited spaces. It has covered such topics as creating new planting beds, making and using compost, planting vegetables and fruit trees, harvesting from a kitchen garden, using fresh produce in cooking, and canning and freezing vegetables and fruit.
âI donât spend hours and hours in the garden,â Gasteiger says. âI use simple, efficient, chemical-free methods, and I try to show visitors to my web site that kitchen gardening doesnât need to be a huge chore. I also like to challenge traditional, single-minded approaches that so many experts preachâ¦ and donât get me started on the idiotic upside-down planting fad!â
Gasteiger is a technical writer and business analyst who works with organizations to improve their use of technology. His recent focus on social marketing reflects his concern that most businesses are getting left behind. âBusinesses that havenât embraced social networking are missing enormous opportunity. Market research, marketing, new business directions, customer relations, technical supportâ¦ all these come through social networking for a fraction of the money companies usually spend. The change over the past five years in how people use technology is astonishing, but policy-makers and executive management teams arenât even aware it has happened.â
Gasteiger marvels at the power of social networking. He points out that an author wanting attention from a book editor traditionally would type query letters, outlines, and sample chapters; mail them off to a publisher; wait four to six weeks for a reply; and repeat the process. After about nine months of blogging and chatting on Twitter, Gasteiger had established enough connections in the on-line gardening community that he was able to participate in a book project when editors floated requests for input.
Connecting personally with people who are interested in your products and servicesâor who may be in need of them without knowing itâcreates an environment where first you get acquainted with people, and then they become your customers. The phenomenon has become known as inbound marketing: no cold calling, no in-your face advertising, no mass-mailingâ¦ just conversation and word-of-mouth. âWho wouldnât choose to do business with someone familiar over doing business with a relative stranger?â Gasteiger asks.