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How To Develop An Internet Audience

By Kalena Jordan   7th February 2000

Internet Audience Development. I know, I know it sounds like just another Internet catch phrase dreamt up by those marketing firms out there to get you to spend yet MORE money on your web site.  However, unlike some of those other potentially “critical” concepts, the concept of Internet audience development makes perfect sense and is exactly what it seems to be: a process for the creation of a profitable customer base on the Internet. It is the way you attract potential customers to your site and keep them coming back.

With the Internet providing almost universal access to information and removing the “tyranny of distance” from the equation, businesses of all sizes, in all industries, in all countries now have the opportunity to operate in markets previously out of their reach - to sell to potential customers they have never before considered and may never need to meet. In this atmosphere of equal opportunity, traditional business models are thrown out the window in favour of activities that will help capture new audiences for their products and services and bring repeat customers to their web sites. Audience development is challenging, but remains a key to success in the new cyber-marketplace. So what does it involve?





  • ·    Search Engine Optimisation - The majority of Internet users rely on search engines and directories to find the information they need. Therefore, ranking highly in search engines and directories should be critical to your Internet marketing strategy. Because users generally only explore the first 10 or 20 sites in the search results, an understanding of how search engine ranking works and how to get your site in the top 20 results can make an enormous difference in the amount of visitor traffic your site receives. Effective optimisation requires a combination of carefully designed META tags using logical search terms, an understanding of the various search engines and their ranking algorithms, as well as a pro-active approach to search engine submission and ranking monitoring. If your web developer claims to have already optimised your site, ask to see the key search terms used and for proof of your search engine ranking. If you haven’t already hired a firm that specialises in optimisation, consider it as the most critical aspect of your audience development strategy.

  • ·    Banner Advertising – The Internet is full of very popular web sites. Some attract audiences of millions every day. Here are potential audiences just begging to be shown your products and services. Why not purchase banner ad space on these popular sites to draw them to your own? Today’s banner ad technology can even target ads to visitors based on demographic data and behaviour. Such capability can attract highly qualified visitors to your own site.

  • ·    Loyalty Programs – Unlike their offline versions, online loyalty programs can be relatively inexpensive to integrate into your business. They can be as simple as a discount voucher printable from your site, or as complex as a protected sub site for your loyal customers, accessible only by password. Some companies even create a “virtual community” for visitors - providing chat rooms, personal web pages and email addresses for their customers. Giving users of a product/service access to each other is a powerful way to build brand awareness and develop an audience.

  • ·    Strategic Linking – The web as a medium is differentiated by the use of hyperlinks, which enable users to arrive and leave a site very quickly. Sites that have a lot of other sites linking to it will naturally receive more traffic. Links with related sites can stay in place for long periods, ensure targeted traffic and can often be arranged free of charge or by reciprocal link agreement. Webmasters of affinity sites should be approached for this service.

  • ·    Sponsorships and Partnering – Sponsoring strategic content on popular web sites is another way to secure a site audience. If users see your brand associated with information they find useful, they will naturally develop a good association with your products and services. Exclusivity is the key here – if you provide a unique service or information on a major portal, it lends credibility to your brand and increases customer interest in your own site.

  • ·    Competitions and Gimmicks – The Internet has created a lot of “firsts”: the first car sold online, the first online property auction, the first person to completely rely on the Internet for survival ( and so on. The publicity value of such gimmicks cannot be underestimated – just think of the sponsorship $$ Dot Com Guy is getting, not to mention the number of daily site visitors. You can also use the power of the media to attract attention to your site. Create something unique on it, develop a “first” for your industry, run an unusual competition then issue a press release!

Audience development doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive. It just takes some planning, brainstorming and the implementation of all your good ideas until you find the formula that works best for your site.  

The above article may be re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL link.

Article by Kalena Jordan, CEO of Web Rank.
Kalena was one of the first search engine optimization experts
in Australasia and is well known and respected in her field.
For more of her articles on search engine ranking and online
marketing, please visit High Search Engine Ranking.


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