The Children’s Museum of South Dakota Brookings, South Dakota
The Children’s Museum of South Dakota
Brookings, South Dakota
“We attract visitors to a small community. The way most people find out about us is through searching online.”Randy Grimsley, Director of MarketingThe Children’s Museum of South Dakota has more than 100,000 visitors annually.link www.prairieplay.orgManufacturer and philanthropist Dale Larson and his family founded The Children’s Museum of South Dakota in 2010. Based in a former elementary school, the museum caters mostly to kids 12 and younger. Visitors can roam 44,000 square-feet of indoor space and four acres of prairie. Over 5,000 objects, which workers call “loose parts,” give children something to touch and explore. Outside, an animatronic dinosaur called “Mama T. Rex”—25 feet high and 60 feet long—is a guest favorite. “We’re very interactive, very hands-on,” says Randy Grimsley, Director of Marketing. “We provide a different journey, a different experience for our guests every time. It is what they make of it.”
The Children’s Museum draws many vacationers headed for Mount Rushmore and other nearby tourist destinations. They use AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to inspire these families to stop and visit the museum. “Through AdWords, we're able to open the doors to people who are looking for children's activities,” Randy says. “Many people are looking for what we provide, not our name. So the link that connects us is AdWords.” YouTube videos bring to life what visitors can do at the museum. Google Analytics helps track the performance and efficiency of their website. “Analytics allows me to see what is working, and what isn't, and to adjust accordingly,” Randy adds. Google Apps for Work helps the staff communicate and share documents.
Located in a community of 25,000 people in rural east-central South Dakota, the museum has already attracted more than 600,000 visitors, drawing visitors from all 50 states and about 30 countries. “They may not even be thinking about a children's museum, but we can appear in front of them online,” Randy says. At least two-thirds of their website visitors are finding them through Google. “In the old days, marketing was a shot in the dark, just trying to grab people’s attention when they were on the road. Now they’re planning trips online and we can be part of their plan.” Those marketing efforts are paying off. “We're known in the museum industry, for sure,” Randy says. “And we're becoming more and more known in the tourism and travel industries. If we continue on this trajectory, we'll all be happy.”The Children’s Museum of South Dakota has more than 100,000 visitors annually.link www.prairieplay.org
Chelsea’s Boutique Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
“We’ve been able to reach a much larger audience than we would have ever been able to reach in South Dakota, and in Sioux Falls in particular.”Chelsea Tracy, Owner & CEO5 employeeslink www.chelseasboutiqueonline.comWhen she opened her women’s clothing boutique, Chelsea Tracy brought her passion for fashion, but not for the web. Then her future husband and business partner, Colin Tracy, said she couldn’t have a business without it. “He actually taught himself how to code and created a website,” Chelsea recalls. “And it just snowballed from there.” She embraced Colin’s advice and now “we use everything that you possibly can use through Google.”
Their team today uses the full suite of Google Apps for Work, including Gmail and Hangouts to stay connected. Google My Business helps local customers to find their store hours and directions to the store. They even put their commercials on YouTube. Colin, now the CTO, uses Google Analytics combined with Google AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to reach their customers on the web. Chelsea and Colin estimate that Google Apps has saved them perhaps $20,000 in software. It also lets them compete with larger boutiques “on a level that otherwise wouldn’t have been there for us,” Colin says.
For Chelsea, a small-town South Dakotan and entrepreneur at heart, helping women “find that perfect outfit that makes them feel incredibly confident from within” is her favorite part of the job. Today she’s shipping items to women all across the country, including Hawaii, and offering personal styling in greater Sioux Falls. Sales have been rising steadily, an increase that Colin credits in huge part to their use of the web. In late 2014, they launched an e-commerce site and their long-term goal is to make the site their core business. “And we know that Google can help us make the leap from a small-town boutique to a national one,” Colin says.
5 employeeslink www.chelseasboutiqueonline.com