Growing and Understanding Your Web Audience in a Recession
The process is cheap, easy, profitable and offers a wealth of business intelligence. But when it comes to building their Web audience, many companies are still grasping at straws. Brad Mitchell, director of circulation & IT at Babcox Publications, offered some insights on this topic and others based on Babcox's experience developing Internet audiences for its own niche print publications, including how to arm your sales staff with metrics that shoot down competitors in this Wild West era of Web stats.
[Editor's Note: Brad Mitchell will be speaking at the 2009 Publishing Business Conference & Expo, March 23-25, at the New York Marriott Marquis. For more information on his conference sessions and more than 50 others, visit www.PublishingBusiness.com.]
INBOX: How important has the online audience become to Babcox's publications?
BRAD MITCHELL: For over 80 years, print magazines focused on the automotive aftermarket were our main drivers. These days, growing our online presence has been an increasingly high priority as we look to diversify and embrace e-media opportunities. With the re-launch of several of our sites and newsletters over the past year, we've seen significant audience growth, which sets the stage for all sort of new initiatives.
INBOX: How have efforts to expand your Web audience been affected during this recession?
MITCHELL: Thankfully, many online audience development strategies are low- or no-cost, as they simply involve creative thinking and leveraging the publications, properties and people that are already in place. This is in sharp contrast to print magazine audience-development costs, which are more and more challenging to control. There's so much upside growth potential online that we'd be shortsighted to defer site enhancement and audience growth activities during these challenging times.
INBOX: What are some tips you'd offer publishers seeking to grow their Web audience?