TURLOCK — Businesses and nonprofit groups in southern Stanislaus County looking for an easy way to promote their events now have a new resource thanks to two local women and the technology they’ve developed.
HeyTurlock.com is a web-based platform for the community and its businesses to showcase, search and share citywide events.
“Our community needs Hey Turlock because we have so much activity happening,” said co-founder Ali Cox. “Out of towners are always asking, ‘Where should we go to eat?’ Locals ask, ‘What should we do?’ or ‘Have you heard about this event coming up?”
The website, which is also mobile-friendly, is the only resource of its type in Turlock. It is both a calendar and a directory for local events, businesses, venues and nonprofits.
Basketball games, concerts, car shows, dance classes and grand openings are just a few of regional events listed.
Users can search the site for free. Event organizers can promote events happening within the city limits of Turlock, Hughson, Denair, Hilmar and Stevenson on the site for free until Jan. 1. After that, events will be free to upload only if they’re posted six months in advance. The price increases incrementally for each month closer to the event date.
Cox launched the site with her cousin, Hilary Smith Callis in late October.
“Hilary and I both relocated back home to Turlock from San Francisco and New York City, respectively, and have found there to be so much activity in Turlock,” Cox explained. “Since moving home, we’ve been looking for a one-stop to learn about events in Turlock. There wasn’t one, so we decided to build it.”
It was the need for one streamlined calendar to help promote events, nonprofits and local businesses that motivated Cox and Callis to create the site.
Their inspiration came when they were volunteering with the Carnegie Arts Center. While trying to plan a celebration for the organization’s 100th anniversary, Cox and Callis found it was difficult to find out if their event’s date interfered with other citywide events.
“Organized by nature, we wanted to create a better way to learn what’s happening in town,” Cox said.
The site, she said, serves everyone in one coherent, visual way.
In addition to the calendar and business directory, Hey Turlock offers three marketing plans – titled Hey Fave, The White Label Plan and Corporate Partner. Different levels of marketing services are incorporated in to each package. They can include online business directory access, social media inclusion, event promotion and an account representative, depending on the plan purchased. There are options for small to larger businesses, and discounted rates for nonprofits.
“Marketing can be a challenge for small businesses,” said Cox, who has 20 years of marketing experience in the industry as owner of Ali Cox & Company. “We consider Hey Turlock to be a partner for them, especially with our social media services. We are able to help cross-promote events to new audiences across the community.”
Erin Nelson, executive director with Jessica’s House, a nonprofit focused on providing grief support for children, teens, adults and families, said that Hey Turlock is a valuable avenue for the organization. Partnering with the Hey Turlock team allows Nelson to concentrate on providing the best support possible.
“I wear many hats as a leader, a champion for the cause, a public speaker and of course I oversee daily operations,” she said. “It’s a relief to rely on experts in the field.”
By managing promotional needs, Hey Turlock builds a stronger digital presence and wider audiences.
“(It) also helps develop a tool to avoid event and donor fatigue,” Nelson added. “A community calendar can help our team strategically plan for events.”
For example, Nelson can more easily avoid scheduling an event at the same time as others that conflict, or better plan events near others that attract similar audiences.
“(The site’s) followers have access to a broad range of events that they may have not known about,” she said.
The website’s audience grew quickly after its launch.
“We’ve already received 5,000 hits on the website, and we’ve broken our launch social media footprint benchmark goal,” she said. “We have been able to deliver what the community wanted.”
To learn more about Hey Turlock, visit Hey Turlock.