THE SITE: Founded in 1995, QuestLink.com is an Internet marketplace that offers system design engineers product info and purchasing services for a $3 billion inventory of electronic components.
TARGET MARKET: 1 million system design engineers worldwide, according to VP of Marketing Karen Zelina. Half of them are concentrated in North America, she tells us. To date, QuestLink has almost 230,000 engineers registered as users on its site, and 57% of them are based in North America.
MARKETING MIX: “We know that 99.9 percent of our audience are heavy Internet users, so we’ve been aggressively marketing online for years.” Zelina says. The company’s online activities include advertising and email/viral campaigns. “We also extend our marketing to print media and public relations, as an adjunct to what we do online,” she adds.
ONLINE ADVERTISING: One of QuestLink’s most successful (and long running) campaign tactics is placing banner ads on electronics-related keywords at general-interest search engines, Zelina says. “Engineers use a very specific language, so we know that somebody searching on Lycos for ‘semiconductor’ or ‘analog device’ is probably an engineer.”
BANNER AD: The most successful banner the company has used pops up on search-results pages when users input QuestLink’s target words. The banner displays an additional “interactive search bar” next to QuestLink’s logo with more industry terminology scrolling across the top “like a ticker tape,” Zelina says. The search bar allows users to search QuestLink’s database, and drives them to QuestLink.com for search results. The company believes that technical users will gladly igrate from a consumer-oriented search engine to one that is more focused on their industry interests. “We still run this campaign today, and it works.” Zelina tells us. “And we usually buy the entire space, so there are no competing ads on the page,” she notes.
DRIVING PURCHASES: Beyond traffic marketing, QuestLink’s current focus is “turning registered users into buyers,” Zelina says. “And there’s no direct marketing hook to really do that,” she adds. “You have to do that with actual tools on the site, although we use marketing to build awareness of our functionality.”
“Engineers can’t buy anything without extensive information, so we provide worksheets where they can save their research results and compare products,” Zelina says. “Engineers are more time-sensitive than price-sensitive,” she says, so the convenience of buying at one time the entire list of components they’ve assembled on their QuestLink worksheet is in itself a driver of sales, Zelina explains. To date, the company has registered buyers “in the tens of thousands,” she tells us.
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