The internet has added an entirely new landscape for businesses to engage potential customers, but how to effectively reach out to those untapped consumers – and change the virtual world into tangible cash – is still in its infancy.
So what if there was a way to create promotions for your business, that would reach thousands of new customers, without having to pay a dime on advertising?
That's the idea behind Knowtorius P.I.G., a promotional/deal website started by Tarrytown resident Sandro Ore.
"Our business model differs from traditional mediums in the sense that our business assumes all the risk," said Ore, who is the founder and CEO of the business.
Knowtorious P.I.G. works by getting businesses across Westchester to offer discounted deals exclusively through their site. They then aggressively promote those deals though social networks and e-mail lists that thrifty consumers can register to receive. The end result is that customers get discounts, businesses get new customers, and everyone benefits. Knowtorious makes money by taking a small percentage from the sale of the deals.
Ore said he became intrigued by the concept after noticing similar attempts to put businesses in touch with consumers.
"I started to do work on this, or something similar to this, in late August of last year," he said. "But I have never seen a daily deal site, so I started to monitor the trends."
He said that other sites attempting something similar concentrate their business in metropolitan hubs like New York City and Chicago. Ore decided Westchester was the perfect fit for his company due to its demographics.
"It's an appealing market to us," he said. "The consumer profile here is very active online and once they find something they like, they are good consumers."
Knowtorious allows a user to directly transact on a featured deal, rather than simply advertising a business or discount. Right now, you can buy a golf lesson from a PGA Pro (with a bucket of balls), for $35 (a 48 percent discount) at Elmsford's Fairview Golf Center. Keeping with the Father-friendly theme, later this week there will be discounts at La-Z-Boy and Grand Prix go-kart racing in Mt. Kisco. Ore has teamed up with local businesses such as the Tarrytown Music Hall and the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Sleepy Hollow in the past.
To help promote the deals, he's created an avatar, Pigford Banks, who is represented on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, FourSquare and many other social outreach tools. It allows a multitude of users from different backgrounds and persuasions to stay informed about deals on a regular basis.
Right now the site is running three deals a week. Ore, hopes that within a month there will be five deals a week, with one that is held over the weekend.
"We're still sort of in ramp-up mode," he said. "But we've been really lucky, this early stage has been really good."
So good that Ore is already looking to expand the concept into Fairfield County, Connecticut. He said that expanding East would open the business to roughly two million potential users, which would be on par with some larger metropolitan areas around the country. You might think it a little ambitious for a site that launched only a month ago today, but there has been a buzz building around Knowtorious.
Earlier this month, the Business Council of Westchester named Ore one of the region's top 40 entrepreneurs under the age of 40.
"That was an extremely cool and satisfying thing," he said. "Once the judges heard about Knowtorious, and they learned about it, that's what did it. I looked at it (the award) as extremely validating."
Ore is a Sleepy Hollow High School graduate from the class of 1989. He has been living in Tarrytown since 1986, aside from his college years at SUNY Albany and a job he took for a year in California. Knowtorious P.I.G. is currently based out of Ore's home, but he said that expansion has him actively looking for a new space to set up shop.
Ore has a professional advertising and marketing background, however, the recession all but dried up much of the business he was doing in the city. Undaunted, he took the steps of starting Knowtorious with the help of some financial backers and two seasoned marketing professionals.
"The bottom fell out of the market, at that time I started to develop some of these ideas," he said. "I found something interesting here. I am lucky that a few other folks felt that way too and we're haven't looked back. Were 100 percent full steam ahead."