The ASU Alumni Association launched a website earlier this month that showcases everything from restaurants to law firms, located everywhere from Tempe to Seattle. But these businesses all have one thing in common: They are run by former Sun Devils.
The Sun Devil Business Directory is open to all ASU alumni who hold leadership positions in their respective businesses and is designed to help these businesses network in a variety of ways.
Tracy Scott, director of marketing for the ASU Alumni Association, said the directory's development is exciting because it will offer a great opportunity for alumni all over the country.
“It’s a great way and an easy and convenient way to plug into the Sun Devil network and let others know about their business,” she said. “We know that our Sun Devils are amazing and a lot of them do have companies.”
Besides being a searchable directory, the Sun Devil Business Directory provides opportunities for all listed businesses to promote themselves with a hierarchy of memberships. The most expensive membership includes a feature on the home page. Businesses can also offer coupons and promotions through their listings, as well as network with potential employees.
With all these measures in place, both the users and the businesses see benefits, Scott said.
“We launched the business directory to give Sun Devils a platform where they could showcase their businesses and let the Sun Devil community know that they could do businesses with other ASU grads and this is a one-stop place to do that,” she said. “For the user, they can take advantage of these promotions and just support their fellow Sun Devils.”
The website, so far, has listings for 11 businesses in a variety of fields.
One of these businesses is Peace of Mind Snowbird Homecare & Maintenance, which is run by Sonya Okamoto, who graduated from ASU in 1988, and her husband, who is also an ASU alumnus. Their business manages the houses of people who are away, specifically targeting “snowbirds,” or those who live in Arizona only for the cooler seasons.
Okamoto said she was enticed by an email sent out by the ASU Alumni Association, which offered a free 30-day trial on the Sun Devil Business Directory before she had to pay for a listing. She said she hopes the website will grow so her business will benefit simultaneously.
“I’m hoping it’ll help us find snowbirds,” Oakamoto said. “I’m hoping this website grows and it becomes something everybody uses.”
She also said she saw the directory’s trial as a unique alternative to traditional advertising.
“I do have advertisement in newspapers in the area, but those are costly too, and with the free 30 days, it’s free advertising,” she said. “I’m testing it out.”
While some are only trying the website on a trial basis, other businesspeople, such as Josh Valdez-Elizetxe, president of Foresold, are already convinced of the directory’s future success.
His company, a digital marketing agency that consults clients about digital advertising and designs websites, has already purchased the highest level of membership, which is $240 per year. Foresold’s listing appears first in the directory because of this elite membership.
Valdez-Elizetxe said he had no reservations about listing his business on the website.
“Someone on the team heard about and it and as soon as I heard about it, I thought it was a great idea to get the business in front of alumni but also to potentially network with alumni as well,” he said. “Plus, it’s helping out ASU, so altogether, it’s a win-win-win on top of the exposure for the business.”
Valdez-Elizetxe also said the website caters to the needs of both the businesses and the consumers.
“It’s a good value,” he said. “We pay thousands of dollars to be parts of other organizations. So when we have the opportunity to be on something else, even though it’s on a smaller scale, it’s very targeted. And we hire a lot of people out of ASU."
The website has brought more traffic to Foresold’s website, so Valdez-Elizetxe’s company is seeing real results, he said.
Valdez-Elizetxe said he is hopeful that as the directory continues to grow, so will this traffic.
“I think being in early, that it’s still pretty new, the word is going to be getting out about it,” he said. “I think that particularly makes us excited that we’re here early on and hopefully it's successful and stays there. … It’s something that comes out of a real need, and it has a lot of potential to bring in new people. Even if it’s just for the sake of supporting ASU, that’s good enough for me, but on top of that we get business exposure.”
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