CHALLANGE BizLand, which provides resources, tools, information and advice for small businesses, sought to build membership and strengthen its brand. Scott Dunphy, VP of Marketing, clued us in on BizLand’s amazing success.
BizLand solely used online efforts to promote the site until August 2000 when it started its first offline marketing campaign.
The online campaign consists of three parts:
1. An active affiliates program, numbering 100,000, uses strong word of mouth. The top 200 affiliates represent 80% of the referrals. The affiliate referrals have generated 40-45% of BizLand’s overall membership
2. Viral or targeted marketing including search engines, using sponsorship of newsletters and newsletter articles, and opt-in emails. The viral techniques have generated about 40% of overall BizLand members.
3. Online banner campaign. BizLand proves a lot of free services such as web hosting and ecommerce tools. Banners that ran on FreeWebspace.net “performed well.” Banners generated about 15% of overall BizLand members.
The offline campaign will run through December and is a branding campaign using print ads (the same ad everywhere) in seven markets (LA, SF, Chicago, NYC, Boston, DC, Philadelphia) in targeted media that small business owners read (Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, Fortune, Business Week).
BizLand launched its site in July 1999 with 30,000 members. As of September 2000, BizLand had 1-million members. The company was economical in its spending, figuring that the average acquisition cost is $2/member on a variable basis. For BizLand, the best marketing channel turned out to be sponsored newsletters followed by search engines, banner ads, and opt-in lists. The most successful campaigns have been Mamma.com (search engine), FindAHost.com (banners) and MailBits.com (newsletter sponsorship).
NOTES: “What we ultimately want to do is understand the customer.” BizLand’s membership is responding to the company’s efforts. It doesn’t hurt that Dunphy has a background in running loyalty programs for Continental and American Airlines. What’s ahead? Watch for more product-oriented campaigns in the future.
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