Find a Need, Fill a Need
By Alyssa Schoeneman, AEL Intern
For some moms, using new technologies is a thing of confusion, frustration and never-ending stress. 1993 Illinois Broadcast Journalism alumna Kim Leistner could not be farther from this reality.
As the founder of Springfield Moms, a website that markets to families with kids of all ages, Leistner has submerged herself in the ever-growing world of digital media.
“In 2004 I was working from home and concurrently trying to take care of my 2-year old and my 9-month-old,” Leistner said. “I grew tired of not being able to access local area events and resources for my family in one convenient and current website, so I took matters into my own hands.”
Leistner started an e-mail newsletter with tips and upcoming events and e-mailed it to 30 of her friends; she received an overwhelmingly positive response and sensed an opportunity to reach more area parents with local information. Hence, the birth of Springfieldmoms.org.
“Along the way I recruited several key volunteers to help maintain the website, coordinate content and help market the site,” Leistner said. “Several of these original volunteers are now employees of Springfield Moms…A lot happens in several years!”
The site has seen major growth and success since its launch in 2004; Springfield Moms now plays host to over 14,000 visitors per month and has a mailing list of over 3,700 local families. In addition, the site was voted Best Local Website in 2009 and 2008 by the Illinois Times and was the twice runner-up for Best Local Website in the SJR Reader's Choice Awards.
“I am incredibly proud of the organic growth we have experienced over the past several years,” Leistner said. “Our readers are loyal and enthusiastic about the information we provide them on a daily basis.”
Springfield Moms caters to the local community, Leistner explained; their product was devised solely around the people, events, resources and businesses in the greater Springfield area.
“Find a need, fill a need,” she said. “Where there was no online resource to guide area families on where to go and what to do in the journey of parenthood in our area, we created it and have become the trusted and FREE resource for area families who want to save time, energy and money.”
The site is also beneficial to local businesses, acting as a targeted way to reach busy area families who are constantly online; businesses can showcase their products, services and events on the Mom’s Choice Directory and banner ads.
“We focus on a niche and excel… We don’t try to be all things to all people,” Leistner said. “We stay focused on our readers and our advertising sponsors.”
Leistner advises up-and-coming entrepreneurs to use their own experience to enhance that of their customer base.
“YOU are your most consistent marketing piece,” she said. “At Springfield Moms, we have so much fun with our customer base because they represent our catch phrase: ‘Grown-Ups and Their Kids.’ We too, as staff, are grown-ups with kids! When you stay focused on your clients’ wants and needs, the business plan comes together.”
Check out Springfieldmoms.org to learn more.