Jeff and I started JFM ideas (imageMEDIA’s original name) during the internet boom…Why? We thought it was something exciting to do. Beef.com just sold for 4 million so we heard. Tech stocks were at all time high, AOL split and doubled 3 times, and we were in the middle of running telecommunications for an internet phenomena. Who knew that doing a deal with AOL could drive that much business? Someone up the ladder did.
Fatty (Jeff’s nick name) and I found ourselves working 24hrs to 48hrs straight (more than once) to handle the call volume. We solved problems to questions like; How do we get workstations and phones into the halls to support all the new reps that were flying in on retro-fitted cargo plane to our call center? Will this actually make a dent in the 115 calls consistently in queue? And how quickly can we get our hands on more telecommunication equipment?
I was amazed that customers would actually stay on hold for an 1 hr and 23 minutes…
The real question that we wanted to answer for ourselves was “Can WE use the internet to drive this much business?”
I am not sure who thought of the name “Jake and the fat man” (JFM) or if we really knew what we were going to do. We knew and agreed on at least a couple of things. For one, we wanted to own an internet based business (we got a taste), and the other was we wanted to have it in and for Tarpon Springs, FL (where we both grew up).
“Lets buy and sell domain names” I said. So we started brain storming while sipping on over sweetened coffee out of our favorite vending machine. J#c3 was the best combination code. “USAolympics.com” was going to be our sure win (IE quick money) and “askSpider.com” (an idea and spoof off of askjeves) was going to be our google.
So our humble beginnings consisted of buying domain names to sell, learning how to design and build websites via html, animated gifs, and the new web technology called flash. We also started researching search engines like Altavista, dogpile, and Ask Jeves All were taking off like rockets. We discovered Google and Jeff pointed us towards internet marketing. The possibilities were endless..(We still think they are)
At some point we realized that we could design and build an ecommerce website, design and sell print work, drive traffic via major search engines, setup customer service, and build something together…a wonderful business.
What caught us by surprise; however, was the demand for direct mail postcards. As we responded to the demand by offering full color glossy postcards, design, lists, and addressing services (molding our business around postcard printing), we discovered that the internet was not the only way to drive business. In fact we realized that direct mail postcards are one of the most effective ways to grow your business…We began with testing postcards to targeted markets with decent copy, a good offering, and a call to action. It’s almost a cliché these days but I have to say it “Postcards Work”.
Jeff and I have been advertising with direct mail postcards over 10 + years and now own one of the fastest growing direct mail and print companies over the internet today… We now own and operate one of our facilities (26,000 sq ft) in Tarpon Springs to house a couple of full color printing presses, bindery, and direct mail. The best part is that we provide jobs in Tarpon while we help people from all over the country grow their businesses. From individual entrepreneurs to large corporations; we receive great feedback about how our services and products make a difference. I now define imageMEDIA as a marketing company that provides “effective direct mail and print solutions”.
Tell me about why you started your business… If you use direct mail postcards, I would love to hear about how they are working for you!