Connecting Northwest Arkansas: Jerra Nalley and Leisurlist

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Jerra Nalley has a simple mission for Leisurlist: “Everything to eat, see and do in Northwest Arkansas.”

So far, Nalley has been successful with a website that gets about 1,000 users a week and those who visit the site, tend to stay for a bit.

“They usually spend 1:41 per visit,” Nalley says. “That’s really good. It means they are on the site, and looking around and the longer they stay, the better. But that’s something we want to keep growing.”

That’s not bad for a website that started as an e-mail Nalley put together when she worked for Walmart.

“Our whole job was why you should at work at Walmart and why you should come to Northwest Arkansas,” Nalley says of her previous job working with corporate recruiters. “My job was to help those recruiters tell that story and I started sending out a weekly e-mail with some links on things to do and things that highlighted the region.”

The e-mail was a hit.

“It started getting forwarded around,” Nalley says. “And more people started to see it and more people started forwarding it and that led to more people and it started to bring together all the top things to do.”

One might think that recruiting people to work at the world’s largest company and has more than 2.3 million employees might be easy but that isn’t quite the case.

“The area had been sold to families,” Nalley says. “That Northwest Arkansas was this great place to raise a family and it is but that doesn’t help getting young professionals, who aren’t married and don’t have children. That might something that could appeal to them in the future but that’s not now and it was trying to get them interested and why they should come and visit.”

Young professionals are typically defined as those between 25 and 44 with graduate degrees and working in a white-collar job.

Nalley, 30 and with a Master’s in Business Administration, fits rights in and that made her a natural.

“We’re still relatively new but we’ve found a lot of success so far,” she says. “It is a small team, three full-time, including myself, and we have two interns, so the immediate goal is expanding the team and then looking at other areas of the country to expand into.”

Nalley said the next market would need to have a good amount of young professionals and have a metro population of 500,000 to two million but also be underserved with a lack of online resources to keep people informed.

Nalley said market research into where’s next is ongoing.

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