State commerce department awards $150,000 in grants for e-marketing efforts

Montana’s Department of Commerce announced Feb. 11 that nine communities around the state are going to split $150,000 intended to help their online marketing.

The money comes from the Office of Tourism’s E-Marketing Technology Grant Program, and it will go to Big Sky, Deer Lodge, Gardiner, Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, Terry and Whitefish.

Among the larger awards is Deer Lodge’s $30,000 grant for a smartphone app that lets users take a self-guided tour of the city.

Whitefish also received $30,000 for a responsive website and trip planner, and Helena got $31,450 for an “e-tourism” project.

More locally, [Big Sky received $25,000](http://www.lonepeaklookout.com/news/article_5f35f046-76e8-11e2-ba62-0019bb2963f4.html) for the “e-launch” of the [Warren Miller Performing Arts Center](http://www.friendsofbigskyeducation.org/wmpac.htm). The money will be used to develop branding and create HD video promotions.

“Mobile usage is growing at 14 times the rate of online usage and online usage is still a growing market,” said Jeri Duran, administrator of the Office of Tourism. ” Our tourism partners recognize this reality and we are excited to see these projects come to fruition through the assistance of our e-marketing grants.”

More than 32 groups made $750,000 worth of requests for the E-Marketing grants, [the Lone Peak Lookout reported](http://www.lonepeaklookout.com/news/article_5f35f046-76e8-11e2-ba62-0019bb2963f4.html).

The full list of grant awards is available with [the commerce department press release](http://commerce.mt.gov/content/news/Communities%20to%20Receive%20Commerce%20Funds%20for%20Tourism%20E-Marketing%20Projects) online.

By Michael Becker

Michael Becker is the Web Editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He has been a blogger and professional journalist since 2005, covering subjects ranging from nonprofits and crime to engineering and technology.