Welcome Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo!

 

Our team couldn’t be more thrilled to announce our partnership with the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco.  It was clear from our very first meeting that HOT Fair was ready for something new and really caught the vision for what Saffire could do for their event.

Even though we hadn’t made the official announcement, we were glad Wes, Jarrod, J.D., Melinda, Devin, Michelle and Charles were able to join us for dinner in Las Vegas during IAFE.  It was a great chance for us to all get to know one another before we get started on this new project.

We’ll be working with HOT Fair to create an entire new online presence for their event located at the Extraco Events Center in McLennan County.  The 2012 Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo will be October 4-13.

Don’t you think Emily Dressen and Jarrod Metzgar look great in their Saffire t-shirts?

Welcome to Saffire, HOT Fair!

 

IAFE 2011: Top 6 Questions from the Trade Show

One of the best parts about the IAFE Convention was getting to talk to individuals in the fair industry.  It was a great chance for us to find out exactly what you want to know about Saffire!  We compiled a list of the most popular questions, so if these were your questions…here are your answers!

 

1)      Does Saffire help with people using Google to search for us?
Yes, in fact you have the ability to control not only the content within each page you create, you can also individually manage all SEO related page information (page title, keywords, meta description) from the same tool. This ensures you can target searches most likely to bring people to your site.

 

 

2)      Can I sell tickets with your software?
You bet! In January, Saffire will be implementing a new bar code system to let you create and validate tickets with barcodes right on the receipt to the customers. Already have a ticketing system you love? No problem! Saffire also lets you link directly into your existing ticketing system from each page to drive your customers to EXACTLY the tickets and purchases they are looking for.

 

 

 

3)      My current site doesn’t let me change the layout of my pages, does Saffire?
Absolutely! Our content management lets you decide what to include on your pages and how you want it to layout. We currently have over 10 page modules you can include and we’ll be adding more. Have something you’d like us to include? Send us an email with your suggestions! Saffire features are customer driven and we are always looking for new features and ideas!

 

4)      Can I get include Google analytics in my site?
Of course you can! Saffire is built to include Google analytics with every site. You’ll also receive training on how to view and interpret your site stats so you can continually improve your content and offerings to your customers.

 

5)      My biggest issue is I have to wait forever for my guy (or gal) to make the updates we asked for. We’re still showing stuff from last year!
Well…that’s not really a question, but we understand!  The whole point of Saffire is to let YOU control and update you site whenever YOU want to. No waiting for us or anyone else. Just update your site and see results instantly!

6)      Can I get an extra koozie?
Of course you can!

– Aaron

IAFE 2011: Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So here’s the scoop: We needed a BIG TV for our booth at the convention trade show and we had two options: We could pay to rent one and give it back, or buy one when we got there and send it in the mail to a lucky winner. Since Vegas is all about playing the odds, we thought everyone would love a good giveaway. Turns out we were right!

The rules were simple. All contestants had to do was collect two cards from us by visiting us at the booth, coming to our presentation in the Product Showcase Room or stopping to talk to us while we walked around the trade show. Once people saw our TV, everyone wanted to enter the contest!

So as the trade show was ending on Wednesday afternoon, Kendra drew the lucky winner, and we’re happy to announce: Terry Burroughs from the Okeechobee County Fair as the proud owner of a new 47” LCD Vizio Television! He was so excited he came right over to take a picture with us.

We loved hosting this contest and -shhhh! We’ll let you in on a little secret! Our giveaway was so popular, we’re doing it again at the TAFE Convention in Austin, TX right after the new year. Texas fairs, come find us at the trade show January 13-14 for your chance to win!

If you’re not from Texas and you want to come to our booth at the TAFE convention anyway, don’t worry.  We know how to keep a secret.

– Cassie

IAFE 2011: The Turquoise Explosion

As we’ve mentioned, this was our first year to attend the IAFE Convention and Trade Show, so we wanted to make sure and let the fair industry know we had arrived.

We would like to take a brief moment to thank the folks at IAFE and our other friends around the fair industry for answering our countless questions as we planned our trip.   Because trust me, we had a lot of questions!

So 1000 business cards, 600 koozies, 80 square feet, 24 UPS deliveries, 7 hoodies, 5 suitcases and 1 cotton candy machine later….we were ready!

It didn’t take much time walking down aisle 11 at the trade show to spot booth #1122.  We were hard to miss with our turquoise hoodies, shoes, koozies, sign and tablecloth.  At least we hope you saw us!

If you stopped by our booth, you probably caught a glimpse of the “Are you a Saffire client?” video.  This video gives you a quick, easy overview of all that Saffire can do to help give your event the online presence it deserves.  If you didn’t get a change to see it,  you can watch the video again on our website.

Our team wasn’t really sure what to expect this year, but we were thrilled with the traffic at our booth.  We were able to make some wonderful new connections and look forward to working with these folks in the future.

Telling people about Saffire is one thing, but when they get to see it in action is when the light bulb really comes on.  Software can seem a little intangible, so we wanted to show our visitors how user-friendly and intuitive Saffire is for even people that hate computers.

We’re excited about the splash we made at the trade show this year, and are already talking about next year, and we want some feedback from you!  Did you like the turquoise?  Or would you like us to surprise you with an all new color ext year?

– Rebekah

IAFE 2011: Cotton Candy Cocktails

From a beautiful suite in the Paris Hotel & Casino overlooking the Eiffel Tower and water fountain show in front of the Bellagio, we raised glasses with almost 50 new friends from across the country to celebrate Saffire’s first year at the IAFE Convention and Tradeshow, and to how much we look forward to helping members of the industry!

 Folks were greeted with a fair-inspired Cotton Candy Cocktail (featuring real freshly-spun cotton candy on top of a delicious drink) ice cold beer, snacks and some great conversation.

From California to Virginia, Wisconsin to Texas, the whole country was represented. We learned a lot about the bushel weight of farmed soy beans in Nebraska, the geographic politics of the state of Virginia and how to keep a fair alive in Chowchilla, California!

 With such a great turnout, we’re sure we’ll be hosting another cocktail party next year, to meet even more new friends. So be sure to keep your eyes open starting next fall for your invitation!

– Jeremy

IAFE 2011: And the winner is…

Anyone who knows me knows I love an awards ceremony (the Grammies being my favorite, followed by the Oscars when they don’t drag on too much). So I was really looking forward to the awards ceremony at IAFE.

I was particularly excited, because I had gone to Springfield in October to judge the marketing awards (but luckily had subsequently forgotten most of the winners, so it was like new again!). The branding for fairs is so fun, and I love the challenge of conveying the magic of the fair across all the different mediums.

One category, however, that I didn’t judge was websites. And so I was 100% surprised and honored when our websites won two awards!

Rodeo Austin took first place in their division for their website, and this was a particular honor since it was their second year in a row to win. I think this is a first, and we’re so grateful to be their partner!

Also, in a total surprise, Brazos Valley Fair & Expo took third place in their division. Not bad for an event that hasn’t even happened yet!

We appreciate the hard work that goes into creating and maintaining an event site, so we would like to congratulate all of the first place winners in the five divisions.

Division 5:  Erie County Fair, NY
Division 4:  Indiana State Fair
Division 3:  Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo (Rodeo Austin)
Division 2:  Clay County Agricultural Fair, FL
Division 1:  Canyon County Fair, ID

Of course, it feels good to win, and we look forward to working with our clients to create even more award-winning websites next year!

-Kendra

IAFE 2011: Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Since thousands of miles separate the Austin and Portland Saffire Offices, any chance our team has to spend time together is sure to be filled with excitement and fun.

With such a busy convention schedule, most of our free time was spent having yummy meals and playing various casinos.

While we didn’t hit the BIG jackpot we were all hoping for, we settled for a few mediocre slot machine wins on Top Dollar and Lucky Larry’s Lobster Mania.

If you know much about this team, you know we might be are  foodies.  We had the opportunity to eat at some new finds and old favorites while we were in Las Vegas.

We made two stops at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was right across from the Paris Hotel where we were staying.  This trendy, new hotel was home to Holsteins and D.O.C.G.  At Holsteins, we enjoyed the Gold Standard, which was voted the best burger in Las Vegas, and various “Bam-Boozled Shakes.”  As for D.O.C.G., well we’re just glad we didn’t set more than the menu on fire.  Oops! 

After about 24 hours away from Texas, the Austin office was in serious need of some Mexican food.  So we headed over to Planet Hollywood to have some burritos and fajitas at Yolo’s.

Since Wednesday night was our last evening together in Vegas, we had a team dinner at a Saffire favorite: Tao.  A few specialty cocktails and lots of toasts later, we had a delicious meal and enough laughs to last until we’re together again.

Our team really is a family, and it was great to spend time together in Sin City.  Viva Las Vegas!

– Rebekah

IAFE 2011: I Love This Bar… and Our Clients!

With so many of our clients attending the IAFE Conference in Las Vegas, the Saffire team decided to seize the opportunity and bring them all together for a group dinner on Monday evening at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.

Of course we had a little thank you gift for our clients!

We had such a fun time visiting and catching up with the teams from Brazos Valley Fair & Expo, Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo, Western Fairs Association, and our newest client who signed on earlier that very day, but that’s a surprise.

Rebekah and Cassie with Liz and Carrie from WFA.

For many of us, it was our first time to meet each other in person and really put a face with a name.  It was also a great opportunity for our clients to get to know each other and share their own stories and experiences.

Some of the highlights of the meal included the fried mac and cheese balls, fried jalapeno poppers, chicken fried steak and fried Twinkies for dessert.  Are you noticing the trend?  

Fried Twinkies = Yummy

We also enjoyed some live music and some very entertaining people watching.  Thank you to all who joined us for such a memorable evening! It was a joy to see and visit with you all!

– Jessica

IAFE 2011: Next Steps in Online Marketing

Our first IAFE is over, and I have to say I’m so glad that this is the only time it will ever be our first. We met so many great people, and it will be nice to see more familiar faces in years to come.

The thing that caused me the most worry was our Product Showcase on increasing revenue through online marketing. I wasn’t worried about our message – I think anyone who has met me can see that I’m passionate about our offering… and telling people about it!

 But it was like having a party and hoping anyone would show up. So when they did and when the room was filled to capacity, I was filled with gratitude and validation that we really do have a product people are interested in.

 The other source of anxiety was how people would react to my message. I knew there were only two reactions I might get – nodding or nodding off (although in Vegas, I guess nodding off could be forgiven). Thankfully there were so many smiles and nods in the room. It was wonderful to connect with this audience of which we want so much to be a part.

If you missed the talk and want to see the slides, they are at http://www.saffireevents.com/2011IAFEPresentation. We also taped it in its entirety, and we’re happy to share that if anyone is interested. Just email info@saffireevents.com.

–Kendra