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Published December 10, 2018
When Dallin Cooper walks down the aisle to receive his dual degrees in marketing and management from the University of Wyoming Dec. 15, he also will be departing the Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC), a home where he cultivated his company, Atmosphere Marketing, for the past two years.
Cooper will be the first graduate of the WTBC incubator in Laramie to relocate his business outside of Laramie. He and his wife, Caitee, will relocate the business to his hometown of Riverton, where it will be more centralized to be better able to reach companies located in the rest of the state.
Atmosphere Marketing helps small businesses manage their search engine optimization (SEO) on the internet. SEO is the process of boosting the online visibility of a website in a web search engine’s unpaid or organic results. SEO encompasses both technical and creative elements required to improve website rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness.
“There are many companies in Wyoming that understand the value of having a great website. But, nobody sees the website because the company needs to also understand SEO,” Dallin Cooper says. “We spend a lot of time educating and addressing what opportunities there are, whether that’s to focus on social media, paid advertising or SEO.”
“A lot of companies in Wyoming do well through word-of-mouth,” says Caitee Cooper, who will receive her degree in psychology Dec. 15. “But, some company websites are hard to navigate and out of date, which can drive potential customers away.”
By moving the company to Riverton, Dallin Cooper is hopeful Atmosphere Marketing can spread its wings even farther and reach companies in his hometown, as well as Casper, Sheridan and Rock Springs.
“We’ve seen a lot of rapid growth over the past few years. Six months ago, we were trying to figure out if our company would be successful enough when school ended that we could eat. Now, it’s bringing in enough money that we can support ourselves and continue to grow our business even further,” Dallin Cooper says. “By this time next year, we could be where we are right now or looking at something with four offices across the state with 10 employees.”
Both come from families of entrepreneurs. Dallin Cooper says his parents started around a dozen different companies while he was growing up. Caitee Cooper says her parents started an office supply store, and later branched out into businesses in office furniture and technology.
During his time at UW, Dallin Cooper served as a WTBC intern and won third place in the 2016 version of the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition, which is now known as the John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. Cooper’s prize was $5,000, and that was used to jump-start Atmosphere Marketing.
“There was not a whole lot of capital costs associated with starting an SEO company. We needed software and some basic equipment but, mostly, it gave us a little bit of a name and some validation and confidence,” he says. “We probably took risks we might not have felt comfortable doing without that money. There are many things that worked out well that came out of placing in that competition.”
“It gave us the flexibility to try different tracking software, lead generators and link-building strategies that we probably wouldn’t have invested in without that money,” Caitee Cooper adds.
Some of their local clients include Big Hollow Food Co-Op, Mountain Valley Properties and Cirrus Sky Technology Park. Dallin Cooper says the company currently has 18 active clients, but they have probably helped 25-30 Wyoming companies with their websites and SEO.
“Dallin typifies the best of UW’s entrepreneurial students because he is using skills he learned here at the university and is using them to solve the problems of others,” says Fred Schmechel, assistant director of the WTBC. “Selling on the internet often relies just on being the top search result. Atmosphere Marketing helps Wyoming businesses that want a web presence best position themselves to sell everywhere and not just at home.”
Steve Russell, assistant dean in the UW College of Business, was equally complimentary.
“Dallin utilized every entrepreneurial resource our university has to offer, from the entrepreneurship classes he took all the way to placing in the Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition and being incubated at the WTBC,” Russell says. “He was willing to ask for help, and he worked hard. Entrepreneurship is much more about perspiration than inspiration, and Dallin has that figured out. From all of us at the UW College of Business, we wish him lots of success with Atmosphere Marketing.”
“Our goal is we want to feel like we are making an economic difference in the development of Wyoming,” Dallin Cooper says, adding he is a big proponent of working with companies that pride themselves on ethical behavior.
“We want to see Wyoming become more diverse in terms of business, and we want to see local businesses succeed,” Caitee Cooper adds.
For more information about Atmosphere Marketing, go to www.atmospheremarketingwy.com/.