Not too long ago we relocated to a new town, towing our outboard boat behind the moving van. Needless to say, at some point the engine needed servicing, and within 5 miles of our new digs there are no fewer than seven "Factory Certified Sales and Service" shops. We had no idea who was good (or who was not!) and there was no easy way to find out what the locals thought of each one without trying each of them for ourselves - at no small expense! We could find good help to remodel the bathroom easily enough, or even find a good slice of pizza, but we could not find objective customer reviews of boating services. So we came up with the idea for a review site that we could offer nationwide dedicated to serving the boating community.
BoaterRated.com is that online review site, dedicated to boaters and the marine services and products they use, much like some of the famous review sites you may see advertised on TV, but focused only on the boating community and FREE to all users. BoaterRated's goal is to provide the users of marine services and products (the boater) an easy way to determine how good a provider is, based on the objective experiences of their existing customers (fellow boaters!).
Also, we want to assist those businesses to establish an effective referral network of those existing customers and maintain a positive online reputation. As word gets out about who's doing a good job, the overall quality of service is raised for the entire boating community.
Our goal in this campaign is to enable us to continue offering the platform FREE to all boaters and the businesses they review.BoaterRated.com has been online for a short time and now has over 20,000 (and growing) business listings and over 600 (and growing!) registered users. All listings, Partner Business(TM) designations, and user visits to the site are at no financial cost to the boater or business. More and more reviews come in every week. We have formed alliances with social media managers and other business service providers, contributed articles and seminars to industry publications, and participated at trade shows to help us determine the value of our services, and we continue to form alliances and partnerships with industry participants and other groups in order to help establish BoaterRated.com as the premier review site dedicated to boaters and the marine industry.
The responses have been positive, but the true value of a resource such as this comes from the broad participation of the overall boating community. The goal of this campaign is to raise the awareness of the site to the growing number of boaters by funding BoaterRated's marketing and advertising across the country. Greater awareness of the benefits offered by BoaterRated will provide value to more boaters as they share their experiences on the central source of objective information about local marine businesses.
What Is BoaterRated Doing Here?
BoaterRated.com has set $30,000 as a funding goal for this campaign. The vast majority of the funds raised will be used to increase our advertising on television, online, and in print. Ads on the syndicated program "ShipShape TV" have been our major effort to date, and even just the small amount we've done there has proven valuable to BoaterRated's visibility. We look to also participate on other shows in other boating markets such as fishing shows and the like. Boat Show participation in a booth is an effective outreach program to the boating community. We also look to retain a full-time PR and marketing firm to help us with the outreach to both marine industry participants and their boating customers.
What you get for your contribution, in addition to more widespread awareness of and thus value from the BoaterRated.com platform, is a variety of unique and stylish items featuring the BoaterRated logo. Not only do these items reiterate your good taste, they're (mostly) functional too!
Should we fall short on our fundraising goal, we will still use whatever we raise to broaden the awareness of the BoaterRated concept and website as best we can. On the other hand, if you see that BoaterRated provides value over and above our goal, we anticipate expanding our marketing and advertising efforts. We would also like to kick off efforts to enhance the site itself and to create a mobile version too. You will let us know!
What Does BoaterRated Do for You?We know that over 70% of people who buy anything do research online before they buy, and that percentage is likely much higher for the big ticket items like those that have to do with boats. We know that 88 million people went boating at least once last year. We know that there are 16 million boats in the country, and there was upwards of $120 billion spent on boating. Yet there was no central "place" for all those people who spend all that time and money on all those boats to find out how satisfied the rest of the community is (or isn't) with the products and services they use - until BoaterRated.com. The easy-to-use platform is up and running, all it needs is for people to know about it and use it, and the entire boating community will reap the benefit of everybody's experiences!
Other Ways You Can HelpOf course, not everybody who sees that BoaterRated.com offers value to the boating community is in a position to donate to this campaign, but if you do see that it makes sense and want to help in some way, please don't be shy to share this campaign with your friends and family. Boating is an intensely social pastime - that's why we like it so much! There are always folks getting together to talk about the latest in the boating world, make BoaterRated.com part of that conversation!
Indiegogo has a number of ways to share this campaign, feel free to use any of them (especially the Facebook and Google+ links) to help get the word out.
Perhaps best of all, sign on to BoaterRated.com and look around. See if a shop you've used is listed, and if not, feel free to add them! Use the site to rate and write a review of that business, let your boating friends know how they did for you. We do validate reviews, so it might be a day or so before it shows up. Or use the site to find a service in your area - and tell them you found them on BoaterRated! Please let us know how you like the site. We want to offer the best service to the boating community, all input in how we do that is valuable!
Thank you for taking the time to visit our campaign. We look forward to seeing you out there!