Magazine article International Trade Forum

Reaching out with the Web: Simply Building a Web Site Won't Bring Visitors. It Takes Careful Strategy and Targeted Marketing to Lure Visitors to the Site Once, and Even More Work to Bring Them Back

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Reaching out with the Web: Simply Building a Web Site Won't Bring Visitors. It Takes Careful Strategy and Targeted Marketing to Lure Visitors to the Site Once, and Even More Work to Bring Them Back

Article excerpt

The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools in communications. More and more people are getting access to the Internet. However, we are also living in a very competitive world of information providers. Almost all organizations, companies, communities and even individuals have a web site. Reaching an audience and encouraging repeat visitors requires a careful and targeted approach, and Trade Forum online is no exception.

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Trade Forum online passed 200,000 visits a month in October 2005. It was a big jump from a year ago, when there were 50,000 visits a month. What made this happen? From content development to networking, we would like to share with our readers the lessons we are learning from our online marketing that you may wish to adopt.

What pops into your mind when you think of Internet marketing? Since the audience we can reach through the Internet is so diverse--anyone between the ages of 5 and 85, in any country, in any profession, who has Internet access--"mass marketing" is often the first thing that people think of. The idea behind mass marketing is that the more people we contact, the more e-mails we send out, the more advertisements we put out, the more people will visit our site--and technology will do most of the work. The first thing we learned was that this idea is a dangerous trap. Just narrowing down the vast potential audience to your interest groups (for example, trade associations, business schools, media, etc.) requires time and effort to research and can bring few results. Instead, we found that more customized marketing, as part of a long-term strategy, was the way to go. Below are the key points of our strategy:

* Links bring new readers. The most popular way to find a web site is by using a search engine. If potential visitors don't know a web address, they will resort to search engines. Unfortunately, many people don't go beyond the first page of the search results. A good ranking from the search results is therefore essential to gain traffic. Although each search engine uses a different algorithm to order results, incoming links from relevant and reputable web sites are one of the main elements to placing your site in a higher ranking.

Trade Forum looks for links with online partners where the content is of interest to readers of both sites. Reciprocal links with sites of the World Trade Organization, the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Bank Development Gateway, OECD Observer magazine and national trade promotion organizations bring significant cross traffic. …

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