Google counts JH fly fishing company a success Gillette signmaker also profiled in new report

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A Jackson Hole guide service is being touted as an internet-driven success story in a new report from search engine giant Google.

Snake River Anglers in Moose is featured in Google’s Economic Impact Report, which details the multinational tech company’s economic impact state-by-state. The report includes stories about how local businesses and nonprofits have benefitted from utilizing the web, with a focus on the contribution of Google’s advertising tools.

According to the report, in 2015 Google provided $466,000 of free advertising to Wyoming non-profits, as well as helping generate $139 million of economic activity for 1,800 businesses, website publishers and nonprofits. Nationally, Google claims its search and advertising tools have helped generate $165 billion in economic activity overall in last year alone.

Snake River Anglers is featured in the report’s section on Wyoming, where the company’s evolution from a two-person business — with an old-fashioned, paper-based booking system — into a modern digital operation with online booking is related. The report says Snake River Anglers now maintains “an efficient website and a strong social-media presence.” It notes that the company relies on Google Analytics to help understand what people do on the Snake River Anglers website.

“We’re looking at all this data to figure out different marketing strategies,” Snake River manager Jake Ragsdale said. “We’re constantly growing and figuring things out, which makes it really fun and also a challenge.

“The Internet allows us to promote ourselves the way that we want to be seen, and the way that we want to run our trips.”

The company also depends on Google Maps to direct visitors to the store, while the report says Gmail and Google Calendar make it easy for staff to communicate and stay on schedule. Snake River also uses Google’s advertising program, AdWords, to connect with potential customers looking to plan their Wyoming trips.

Snake River Anglers draws customers from all over the U.S. and from around the world and the seasonal business grows from seven or eight employees in the winter to about 35 during the busy summer tourist season, when the company gives up to 20 guided tours per day.

For the last two years running, Snake River Anglers has been voted the Best Fishing Outfitter in Planet Jackson Hole magazine’s “Best of Jackson Hole” readers’ poll.

“We support the community, and it’s really nice because the community supports us as well,” Ragsdale said. “It’s a great life. Our guides fish for a living, float down the river, and share their knowledge and passion with the tourists.

“And we get to be in Jackson, which is a pretty good perk, too.”

They’re the boss

Also profiled in the report is Gillette sign company SignBoss LLC. Founded by Dana Eiland and her husband, Rick, in 2010, the company designs, builds, installs, and services interior and exterior business signage. They are a one-stop shop for logo design, building signage, trade show marketing, and fleet graphics.

“Before we even opened our doors, we had a website up and running,” Dana Eiland said. “We knew that was going to be key to getting business right away.”

SignBoss uses Google products to bring in customers. Google My Business works with Google Maps to direct clients to the showroom, while Google+ and YouTube show customers what SignBoss can do for them.

“Everything we do is unique and creative,” Eiland said. “By using social media, we’re able to share new products and services with our customers. We’re not only promoting ourselves, but also our customers.”

Google and Wyoming

On the whole, Wyoming and Google have for years maintained a fairly close and strong relationship on a number of levels. And it’s a relationship that could grow even tighter in the future.

In 2011, Wyoming became the first state to do a government-wide rollout of Google Apps, as Gov. Matt Mead’s office worked with the company to move more than 10,000 state employees to Google’s cloud-based e-mail and productivity suite. At the time, Mead said the new tools would enable improved communication and collaboration, and provide better storage capacity and cyber-security protection.

“And what it’s ultimately going to do is provide the state of Wyoming — that is, our public employees, my office, every state and public employee — the opportunity to do our job better, because we now have a better tool,” Mead said.

Several other states — including Colorado and Maryland — as well as numerous county and municipal governments across the country have since followed Wyoming’s lead.

Google has also been an active force in advertising and promoting Wyoming businesses through its “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” initiative, which looks to help local firms and nonprofits increase their online presence. The program works to get local business information on Google’ s search and maps functions and currently boasts more than 9,300 Wyoming-related listings.

Google could also eventually have a more direct economic impact on Wyoming, as the Cowboy State offers some unique properties that could make it an ideal location for potential Google data center — an idea that’s even currently being outed on the Wyoming Business Council website — much like Microsoft’s Cheyenne data center, which recently underwent a $200 million facility upgrade.

Another area where Google’s ties to Wyoming could potentially strengthen in the future is in renewable energy. As a the nation’s number-one individual consumer of renewables, Google —which has committed to being powered 100 percent by “green” energy sources — could eventually become a major player in Wyoming wind power. Google already has 16 renewable energy purchase commitments worldwide (11 of them in the U.S.) and direct investments totaling $2.5 billion in 22 wind and solar projects, both foreign and domestic. While most of its commitments and project investments in the U.S. are in the states of California, Oklahoma and Texas, if the company’s recent dramatic growth continues on track, Wyoming power contracts and project investments could definitely be part of Google’s future.

In Wyoming, Microsoft has already invested around a billion dollars in data centers. Shawn Reese, the director of the Wyoming Business Council, hopes that’s just the beginning.

“We want Microsoft to continue to grow here and, frankly, we want their competitors here in the State of Wyoming, as well,” Shawn Reese, the CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, said in an interview with Rocky Mountain PBS last week.

But while Wyoming has vast renewable energy potential (both wind and solar), only a relatively small amount of it (and of that, almost exclusively wind power) has been developed, so far. Many companies say the state’s laws and business climate are a challenge when it comes to directly investing in renewable energy — Wyoming is the only state to tax wind energy production, and sate legislators have recently broached the idea of raising that tax in the light of a budget crunch brought on by a downturn in the state’s fossil fuel production — and the state’s utilities also don’t offer renewable tariffs for companies.

“The markets are changing, the technologies are changing and the state’s got to keep up with those,” Reese said.

 

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