12/11/2013 (press release: [email protected]) // Kalamazoo, Mi , USA // Tom Dockham, Co-owner
I recently empowered myself to find an eZine (online magazine) of Family diversity and I found one that stuck out among the rest. The Sentimental eZine which I was able to avoid subscription headaches of receiving mass emailing by not having to sign up for their mailing lists, I was able to view their eZine in a booklet format with a click of a button from their website free of charge.
Upon my arrival on the website I was intrigued with the well placement of design on the main (home) page. I quickly found – if I so chosen I could submit an article for their weekly publication I could, or just read any recent or past weekly issue. It was there in front of me as soon as the web page loaded (well under the 8 second guidelines the web guru’s say a page should load in.) Yes, there was a “sign me up” mailing list – if I wanted to sign up for the promotional items, and gifts. But I chose to just place this website in my book marks to return as I wished; without the hype of getting more emails every week. Which by the way, I get enough now so this was a blessing!
Inside the online booklet, it flips just like a hand held magazine by the way; I found to be really nice. There was their “terms” and “what’s inside” pages right off the well-designed cover page. Then I was able to “click” through to any article and see National Advertisers along with some local businesses having placed a business card size ad. This was enough for me to call them and see if I could schedule a phone interview… I was captivated to see how this magazine faired compared with the rest and why..
This is my phone interview with the co-owner, Tom Dockham…
MM: Your e-magazine looks really nice, how did you get your start?
Tom Dockham: We needed an outlet to promote our greeting cards and photos so we started the magazine so people could have something nice and free to read, while promoting our photos and cards. Mixing them together just sounded like a good choice to do.
MM: So you started out with greeting cards and photos?
Tom Dockham: “Yes, a few years ago we started selling photography online, going to art fairs and art hops, which led to us making photo greeting cards and all that produced into the weekly magazine.
MM: Are you home based or where is your location?
Tom Dockham: We are not a home based business, we are located downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. We have a space in the co-op section of “Join the Bureau” for small start-up businesses in the downtown area..
MM: How many people read your magazine?
Tom Dockham: According to Google Analytics we are getting right around 350 to 435 hits to our web site a day from around the World, according to google the USA leads; then Spain and so on. With North Carolina state having more views than our home state of Michigan. Along with the direct link to the bookcase in our emails, and promotional flyers we are getting about 84,000 downloads a month.
MM: Your website says you charge a small fee to advertise?
Tom Dockham: That’s correct; we started out with one major goal, to keep it free to our readers. As we want people to keep coming back to read family valued articles, see our photos and pick up a few retail outlets to sell our greeting cards in. With the prices we charge we are able to pay the bills and promote our magazine in a professional manner.
MM: You have two websites?
Tom Dockham: Yes, we divided the two – the magazine, and the photos/greeting cards. The Sentimental site is for the eZine, and the sentimentalgreetings.co is for the greeting cards and photos. As I handle the magazine and my partner, Peggy handles the greeting cards and photos.
Tom Dockham: Yes, partners.. Peggy Ayers whose photography work hangs in public and private collections, also focuses on the complexities of nature. It’s was a natural progression for us in 2012, to transition into greeting cards, allowing our clients to capture a heartfelt moment on paper. Creating a memory, rather than a fleeting message, We provide a beautifully outlined canvas for clients to write their own heartfelt messages allowing them to become part of the artwork.
MM: You have awards??
Tom Dockham: In the Spring of 2013, Sentimental Greetings & Gifts was awarded as a “Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business” certificate by the Veterans Administration, and is recognized by the Federal Government in the SAM’s program. We are also working with the VA-SCORE services, and the SBA, SBAM, and Kalamazoo Small Business Services. Plus numerous photography and art show awards.
MM: What kind of goals are you trying to reach?
Tom Dockham: We have a business plan in place and one of our goals in our plan is to have over a million downloads a month by the end of 2014. This would establish a good reader base for us to our advertisers and promote our greeting card and photos to a good diverse readership.
MM: thank you for sharing your story with me today..
Tom Dockham: Thank you for calling me.
Upon completion of talking with Mr. Dockham, I went back and read some past editions of their magazine. You can tell the progression not only in design but the quality of articles and changes they made to better serve their readership. I think, if I have anything to say about this online magazine, it’s a winner in my blog.