COMPANY: NursingHands.com offers the fragmented nursing profession --95% of whom are women -- content, commerce, online education and strong community features. We asked CEO Isobel Coleman what works in terms of driving traffic … and what doesn’t.
DIRECT MAIL: The majority of NursingHands.com's new visitors arrive as a result of a tri-fold glossy direct mail piece sent to nurses. The direct marketing campaign used a rented mailing list compiled from several different sources, some through partnerships. "People are always predicting the demise of direct mail, but I think it's the best way to reach people. If you have a targeted mailing, you'll have success," advises Coleman.
PRINT ADS: The site’s print media placements include a combination of monthly and semimonthly half-page four- color ads in professional journals like RN Magazine, American Nurse, NYSNA (New York State Nursing Association), and Nursing Management.
"Print advertising takes a long time before it registers with people," says Coleman. More a branding exercise than anything, "We don't expect the ads to result in a lot of traffic on our Web site." And indeed few newbies say they found the site as a result of a space ad.
BANNER ADS: NursingHands.com has placed ads on sites nurses frequent, such as Medscape, About.com’s nursing section, and some smaller sites with nursing traffic. However, Coleman doesn't believe the Web has enough concentrated nursing traffic yet to be an effective brand developer.
VIRAL MARKETING: To facilitate viral marketing, NursingHands.com provides visitors with an opportunity to refer friends and colleagues to the site, regardless of the section of the site being viewed. For example, if the visitor is reading about pediatric nursing, "from that group I can send an email invitation to anyone and it goes out as an email link to the recipient. If you are a fellow pediatric nurse, you can just click on the link and you come back into that group," says Coleman.
FUTURE CAMPAIGN NursingHands.com will rev up viral marketing by launching an Ambassador Program in partnership with Flooz.com later this month. Members, who succeed in getting 25 or more people to accept their invitations, will get points toward a charitable donation on their behalf to the institution of their choice. (No, dot-com start-ups don’t count as “charitable institutions”!)
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