Global Direct Investment Solutions

Corporate Development for a Networked World

OnTheShortList.com     SurgeUSA.org

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Daily Website Visits : Comparisons of 2007, 2006, 2005. and 2004

Contact :   TEL   847-304-4655

Bruce Donnelly   bruce@gdi-solutions.com    (Biography)

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Introduction

We had 573,665 visits in 2006 - another record year.  This is up over 75% from 2005, which was already up 60% from 2004.  During May and June 2007, the 30 day moving average visit levels as shown in the chart have exceeded a 700,000 per year pace.  We had 61,622 visitors in June 2007 - another new record.  That's up 30% from the average pace in 2006.  July 2007 was just a bit lower than May and June at 57,491.

We had more visits in the first 6 months of 2007 than in all 12 months of 2005.

This now compares very favorably to niche magazines in this market which have been circulated for 20-50 years to 40,000+ free subscribers (at advertiser expense).  In the first 3.5 years after launch, we have served over 1.4 million visitors from around the world, and should exceed a 2 million total by mid-2008 at the current pace.

The spike in visits in mid-March 2007 may reflect some targeted online advertising that we are doing, as well as a related fDi magazine ad campaign in the Financial Times.  The annual value of that ongoing fDi ad campaign is estimated at $4 million.  This helps fDi to attract the attention each month of the nearly 500,000 FT subscribers worldwide.

Other marketing initiatives this year should keep growing our very targeted reach.  Our PR work in April and May to announce the North American Cities of the Future awards by fDi magazine seems to have contributed to some of the recent growth in visit levels.

Our initial goal for 2007 was to exceed a pace of 700,000 visits (roughly 58,000 / month or a 1920 / day average).   We already did that by June.  We're already on pace for 650,000 total in 2007 with 55,308 visits in January 2007, 49,616 in February 2007 (28 days), and 52,807 in March 2007.  There was a minor decline in April (30 days, Easter holiday, more weekend days) to 48,834 visits, but the trend for the year is still on target, and consistently above the 2006 levels.  Visits were 58,850 in May 2007 - back up to a new record level again - which the 61,622 visitors in June 2007 soon exceeded.

At the pace in the last six months, we are fairly confident about expecting over 650,000 visits in 2007.  We had 58,453 visits in September 2006 - yet another record month.  We had 52,626 in October, and 50315 in November.  These are a 100% increase over the same period in 2005.  Recent months have consistently reached 50,000 or more visits per month.  December was predictably a bit slower, given the holidays, at 47,893 visits.

Our charts of monthly and regional website visit statistics may also be of interest.  We routinely attract 1500 - 2000 visitors each business day, as shown above.

The 30 day moving average lines show how our visits have consistently grown and greatly exceed the same period in prior years.  This graph also shows that, as a B2B website, our weekday visits greatly exceed weekends.  It should be kept in mind, however, that our weekend statistics include visitors from different time zones around the world.

As the chart above shows, 2005 daily visits were consistently 50% or more above 2004 levels for the same period.  As projected early in 2005, we achieved 320,000+ visits in 2005, up 60% relative to 200,000 in 2004.  We attracted 324,413 visits in 2005, or roughly 27,000 visits per month.

Our initial 2006 goal was to attract visits at a pace of 400,000+ per year (1100 average visits per day), and grow that to 500,000 or roughly 42,000 per month (1370 / day).  This seemed to be ambitious as 25% - 50% growth.  By March 2006, we attracted 1540 / day, which was already a pace of 560,000 per year.  Visit levels in the second half of 2006 often exceeded the 1650 / day average level for 600,000 visits per year (50,000/mo).

The pace of visits slipped a little in April, which is not unusual (spring break and Easter holidays), but that was still up 60% versus 2005.  The dip in July - August coincided with summer vacations, the war in Lebanon, rising oil prices, and growing concern about the global economy.  Despite those events, the general trend in this market seemed to remain quite strong in late 2006, as also reinforced by anecdotal evidence of investment project enquiries among our many very busy contacts during the fall.

It remains too early to predict the impact of our strategic new (June 2006) relationship to handle US marketing and advertising sales work for fDi magazine .  That should help, since they reach a very targeted readership and 30,000+ website visitors per month.

There were brief spikes in daily visit activity during March, May, and August 2005 as we did some test marketing work to refine our plans for 2006.  Our marketing plans are now aiming for the next hurdle of sustaining more than 2000 visits per day during 2007 (730,000 per year).

Our analysis of investment project trends by state may be of interest, or our  analysis of economic development lead generation costs.  Our April 2006 newsletter (4 pages with graphs) summarizes this market research and analysis.

With more support, we could probably achieve an even larger market reach, but we focus on reaching a very targeted group rather than just attracting many website visitors.  Our goal is to achieve more valuable project referrals and develop an ongoing base of relationships among executives and professionals in this market.  A growing market reach expands our network of contacts and flow of project referrals.

This website was created at the end of 2002 to develop a more efficient distribution channel for professionals in this niche market.  It was launched in 2004 and promoted more heavily in 2005 after test marketing work, research, and continued refinements in 2003, 2004, and 2005, as the consistent rise in daily visits shows.  We ramped up a very targeted marketing campaign by May 2005, with an obvious impact.  We refined our campaign in August 2005 in preparation for our 2006 marketing and growth plan.

Further analysis below >  

Refer also to our new website for 2006 : www.OnTheShortList.com

Ask us about advertising in fDi magazine   

In February 2005 we added the new Google Site Search feature to the website.  In April 2005 we launched our new targeted online ad campaign, which reached 3,300,000 ad impressions in only nine months.  In October 2005 alone, as we refined our campaign in preparation for 2006, it reached 500,000+ impressions per month - and this was followed by 450,000+ in November.  That's roughly a 6 million per year pace.

In August 2005 we averaged 13,000+ ad impressions per day, with peak weekdays at 20,000-40,000 levels, as in May.  In September, after excluding the Labor Day holiday and a few days when we suspended our campaign during revisions, we averaged 19,000+ impressions per day.  In October, it was roughly 16,500 per day, and in November, we averaged 16,000+ per day.  If we were to sustain this pace of relevant online advertising reach, without even doing anything new, we would already reach 5+ million ad impressions to help hit our visit goals.

We exceeded 3.0 million ad impressions in 2005 as we promoted this website to a very targeted online audience, rather than just through general online advertising, print media, executive contact work, networking, and search engine optimization work.  Our initial plan was to reach 4 to 6 million online ad impressions in 2006 in support of our goal of 500,000 visits per year and growth in the flow of project referrals.  Instead, it hasn't even been necessary to do this in 2006.  We may test the response again at year-end.

We are also launching some new business services of likely interest during 2006, such as our new "On The Short List" Area Reports and research sponsorship or advertising options to complement our existing GUIDE services.  In April 2005 we added new directories of Foreign-Trade Zones and military base closure (BRAC) locations, as well as other new content such as state directories of professional service providers.   As relevant new services and research work are added, these tend to attract more visitors.

We also did marketing work related to the BIO conference in 2004, 2005, and 2006 since many areas are targeting the biotechnology, life sciences, and related sectors.

In November 2005 we launched a new website, www.OnTheShortList.com , as planned for our 2006 marketing work on behalf of many professionals and communities. Their support of this independent service complements their own marketing activities as we grow to our intended scale for project referral work through new regional offices.

The new website selectively expands our content into more detailed field research work and custom search tools for executives and advisors to quickly find relevant content.

Other new services are planned to complement our 2006 marketing work in support of communities and professional service providers.  For example, we are launching a new non-profit Global Direct Investment Forum, and a related Foundation, as a strategic step in our  2006-2010 business plan.  That should complement our for-profit work by creating a new network of business executives who are committed to innovation in local economic development in places of current or future interest, such as to create more globally competitive business clusters and selectively help communities in transition.

Another new development is that from June 2006 we are now working closely with fDi magazine - Foreign Direct Investment - published by the FT Business group of The Financial Times.  We will assist them with US advertising sales and marketing, such as promotional event plans for 2006 and 2007.

Their website has recently attracted roughly 32,000 visits per month as a publication targeted very selectively at C-level and other senior executives.  Subscribers are identified through research as directly responsible for capital investment projects, so this is a very strategic fit with our independent project referral work, with reciprocal links already in place between our websites.

Our combined reach is expected to be more than 1 million visitors, and both are growing rapidly, with further website improvements and marketing initiatives planned over the next year to boost the reach of both fDi magazine and this independent referral service among top executives who are responsible for major capital investment project decisions.

Monthly website visit statistics

Analysis of regional directory visits

Background about our 2005-2006 online ad campaign

Contact us to discuss your own interests in this niche market, and how we can help you.

Our response-oriented work shares valuable market knowledge and contacts, not just ads.

It is analogous to a convenient megastore to quickly find the products they are seeking among related ones.

We personally help executives and their advisors in response to their enquiries - like a research service.

Like a concierge, we offer well-qualified, independent referrals and advice according to their unique interests.

Our proactive marketing work also reaches out personally to such executives and advisors in many ways.

We develop working relationships by anticipating and responding professionally to their needs and interests.

While the website attracts many thousands of visitors each week, our proactive work is very targeted.

 

Advertising

We do not offer "run of site" advertising such as banner ads and buttons on this website.  We focus on useful content.

Instead, we promote advertising in fDi magazine, and on the fDi magazine website, as top channels for print and online advertising in this niche market.  We also highlight their US advertisers through this website as a bonus.  We make it easy to find relevant ads in fDi and by linking to them from relevant directories.

fDi - Foreign Direct Investment magazine, is published by FT Business, of the Financial Times group.

   

Launch news.

Example - map links

 

fDi magazine is a trusted reference tool for executives and their advisors.  It reaches "C-level" executives and professionals in North America (40%), Europe (40%), and Asia (20%) who are responsible for corporate development strategies, organizational change, and capital investment project location decisions worldwide.  85% of readers are CEO's or CFO's.  80% are at large companies (>500 employees).  As a Financial Times product with high quality editorial content, we promote it because after many years of work in this niche market, we regard it as the best channel for serious advertisers who want to reach and attract the attention and interest of top decision-makers for capital investment projects.

We also offer various directories, Surveys, Profiles, and our own unique Ad Recall or Event Recall services.

These can include logo images, banners, etc. for the listed area or service to recognize it at a glance.

That can reinforce brand campaigns, somewhat like point-of-sale merchandising or packaging tied to ads.

For example, retail stores don't spread product ads or product displays randomly around the building.

Instead, they put any promotional materials where they are most likely to be effective at promoting sales.

Our unique Ad Recall service makes it easy to find published ads by relevant text content searches.

In short, unfamiliar business locations and services can be easily found through the Google site search.

This makes it easy to find relevant ads or other content very quickly when they are actually of interest.

Our Surveys and Profiles (of areas or professional services) are economical ways to share knowledge.

We offer various low-cost options ($500 - $5000 per year) to help promote business locations and services.

This low cost basically just covers the work involved to prepare, publish, and maintain such content.

Test marketing work in 2004 and 2005 to prepare for 2006

Our 2004 visit levels rose slightly from March to May, which may have been influenced by some early test marketing initiatives at that time.

This involved the very selective use of some advertising and events to promote the website which, quite frankly, did not seem to have any significant impact (such as spikes in visit activity at the time of magazine distribution, or around the time of the events, or specific project enquiries which could be attributed to these tests).

The disappointing result of association event exhibits, sponsorships, and limited use of magazine advertising in 2004 was largely as expected, but we had wanted to test the hypothesis that they could have a cost-effective impact to grow our market reach.

Contrast that to the experience of our 2005 advertising campaign .

Ongoing marketing work

We try to maintain a relatively steady pace of direct contact work among executives and their advisors throughout the year to develop more relationships and project referrals.  This should support steady growth in the volume of highly relevant visits (for real projects), regardless of the total volume of website visit activity.

As more resources become available because more organizations choose to support our work, we will invest to grow our capabilities to reach more executives and advisors directly about their investment interests.

Refer to our 2006-2010 business plan and the intended structure of new regional offices as we grow this business to scale now.  The basic premise of our plan is to help more executives personally through a global network of highly-experienced and trusted professional advisors in many regions, rather than just through the website content.

Seasonal trends in this market

The spike in visits in May 2005 related to preparatory marketing work we had been doing in prior months to target a specific sector successfully through a carefully designed and test-marketed online advertising campaign which worked very well.

One interesting observation is that there are no clear or significant seasonal trends, even though one might assume that interest would be higher at some times of year than others (year-end and new year business planning cycles, seasonal construction patterns, etc.).  We're achieving relatively rapid and steady growth in visit activity.

It remains unclear whether the modest decline in the June-July period is seasonal (such as summer vacation season) or simply a coincidence.  There are obvious declines around major US holidays, as expected when targeting business users.

 

Possible explanations of seasonal variances

Summer months are traditionally a slower period for new project enquiries in this niche in our experience of more than 15 years in this market, although general economic conditions are a far more important factor.

Vacations by key executives are a factor, as well as the tendency of research for future investment project plans to increase in the fourth and first quarters, when there are also more events (trade shows, seminars, special meetings, etc.).

By their third quarter, executives generally have a pretty good idea whether or not their business is developing as expected for the entire year, and may start to work more seriously on their plans for future years.

 

Background about visit levels relative to magazine websites

This website was set up quietly at the end of 2002 after preliminary research and development work, and then developed through further research work in 2003 before actively launching the website through some 2004 marketing activities.  The 2004 data is therefore more meaningful for baseline comparison than the predictably lower 2003 visit levels during the initial website development and market research work.

The websites of a few leading magazines in this niche market have reported daily visit levels of 900 - 1500 or more - although not necessarily on a sustained basis rather than peak days. 

Their magazines have also been in circulation for decades and promoted heavily to their 30 - 40,000+ free subscribers as multi-million dollar publications at advertiser expense.  Most publish no detailed account of their website visits, so it is difficult to make reliable comparisons to our daily (above), monthly or regional analysis of visits.

We don't try to push users of this website to register or accept a free subscription or visits lots of pages to view as many online ads as possible.  That is not our business model.  Instead, our service directly supports the project interests and plans of business executives and advisors as a fast, open, and free research resource and referral service.

Comparison - Plants Sites & Parks magazine

Plants Sites & Parks (PS&P) is no longer being published by Reed Business Information since November 2004, but it was a high-quality magazine in this niche for 30 years, with 44,500 BPA audited subscribers reported in 2004 before it closed.

Of these, roughly 6100 were at firms with over 500 employees (our main focus), plus a further 36,000 at firms with 100-500 employees (potentially relevant to our work).

Reed is a highly respected international publisher of other business magazines, and a major industry trade show event organizer and a supplier of other business services.

PS&P maintained a very useful website since 1995, with well-researched content and roughly 1700 pages indexed by Google (although PS&P reported 5000 pages of content to be available to users).  They reported 43,113 visitors in January 2004 - but did not report such statistics for other months, so their annual visit levels were unclear.

That works out to roughly 1 website visit per free subscriber that month, or 1390 visits per day.  Website visitors and subscribers were obviously not necessarily the same, but many were probably the same because they published various e-mail newsletters to help drive more subscriber visits (and periodic subscription renewals) to their website.

Other market factors

There did seem to be a minor increase in visits following the 2004 US election and other international events around that same time, but it was not significantly outside the normal range of variances or visit activity at that time of year.

That may simply reflect the improving economy and our continuing promotional activities to make more potential users aware of our services.  We were doing increased contact work among executives and their advisors in early December 2004 and January 2005.  We think that marketing activity may have contributed more to the increased visits in those months than any general market factors.

In general, capital investment activity falls rapidly as an economy moves into recession (leading indicator) and businesses become less confident of the need to expand.  It also tends to lag economic recovery as available existing capacity is used until there is greater investor confidence about the need to expand. 

As a global service, however, investment activity also just shifts between regions in different phases of growth.  Our service is also discovered periodically by journalists and others in response to specific events, such as natural disasters, announcements of major business closures or relocations, etc.  These create temporary variances in our visit levels, but gradually spread increased awareness of our work.

Observations from many years of  project experience

As with any sweeping generalizations, there are obviously many exceptions to such patterns, but on the basis of personal visits to over 1000 companies and contact with thousands of executives about their plans over many years, we generally perceive this to be the most significant seasonal trend in this niche market.  Some companies and industries, however, do not follow planning cycles tied to the end of the calendar year.

In general, the year-end website visits may be more exploratory in nature (as at the "long list" stage of strategic planning for the years ahead).  First quarter visits may be tied more closely to preparations and work on active project plans for the current year.

At any time the focus may be on the "short list" selection and due diligence work to look into location alternatives in greater detail as active project plans are developed.

For example, visits by executives to potential business locations of interest may be greater in the spring, summer, and fall rather than the winter months, so we would normally expect to not see large variances in our site visit activity during the year.

Comparison - Site Selection magazine

As another leading example of this niche market size and traditional business media reach, Site Selection magazine has over 50 years in this business.

It offers multiple websites, including the related IAMC organization.  There are close ties to IEDC, plus the heritage of formerly being the official publication of IDRC (now CoreNet Global) for most of its long history.

They have reported around 54,000 visits per month, but it is unclear whether this is a total of their multiple websites, which refer visitors back and forth to each others.

They also reported around 44,000 BPA audited magazine subscribers, of which only 11,200 were at firms with over 500 employees (our primary focus). They also distribute frequent e-mail newsletters and use IAMC events to drive up visits to their websites.  We do not do this. 

Analysis - our website reach vs. PS&P

We attracted 15,384 visitors to our site during the same January 2004 period cited by PS&P (above) as we launched our marketing work, and 24,919 in January 2005.

We attracted 37,670 visits in January 2006 (1215/day) - close to PS&P levels after only two years of marketing, with no glossy magazine.

Our growth was achieved without producing and distributing a costly magazine funded by advertising sales for 30 years, and without the resources of a massive global publisher and event organizer such as Reed.

In March and April 2005 our average visits already reached roughly 900 per day, with a few days at the 1400 level.  In May 2005 we already reached over 40,000 visits.  By March 2006 our weekday visits levels were in the 1500 - 1700 per day range, and our 30 day moving average pushed through the 500,000 visits per year mark (1370 / day).

Daily variances in visit levels

It remains a mystery why Tuesday is often the favorite day for visits to our website!

The rise in visit activity from Monday-Friday, and consistently low weekend activity, also suggest that we are reaching our intended business audience, although we do not use any registration form or other process to track or analyze the mix of visitors.  We think the greater spread between the weekday highs and weekend lows in 2005 by comparison to 2004 reflects even better targeting of our business audience.

The vertical grid lines in the chart are Saturdays, which consistently attract the fewest visits, as one would expect for a business to business (B2B) website.  In our view, the spread between these base level of visits (Saturday-Sunday) and the peak levels on business days is an indicator of the volume of potentially relevant visits.  It can be seen at a glance that this spread is generally much greater in 2005 than in 2004.

Note, however, that as a global site there are relevant visits on weekends (US time), which may explain why Sundays are consistently higher than Saturdays.  Some variances may also reflect US as well as international holidays..

We serve a highly targeted and small niche market

This site and our related one - www.OnTheShortList.com - is designed to serve a highly specialized niche market.  In any given year, only a few thousand companies may be actively planning major capital investment projects in new business locations, which is the main focus of our service.

We can also help others who are seeking professional assistance with expansion plans or changes at existing locations, or who may be gathering information to support current operations or future growth plans in new markets.  Our work can also be relevant to other situations, such as pre-merger planning and post-merger integration work, as in the case of regional consolidation of operations.

The point is that this website is not expected to attract vast numbers of visitors, as general media such as major news networks (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, etc.) or top business media would (The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, etc.).

Their websites may attract millions of visitors, but the vast majority of them would be completely irrelevant for this niche.  That makes them a very expensive channel for reaching the small target audience for communities and professionals in this market.

Comparison - Expansion Management magazine

Expansion Management magazine is part of the Penton Media group which publishes many other prominent business magazines, reported 45,820 BPA audited subscribers, of which around 5600 were at firms with over 500 employees.

In June 2005 they launched a digital version of their magazine which is promoted by email, so it remains unclear how this may affect their future subscriber statistics and website visit levels.  For example, this may drive up their website visits to the same audience, and help to promote online advertising sales.  A growing focus on their online content may change past visit patterns, and also lower their production and distribution costs for circulation of free magazine subscriptions.

Their website reach in late 2005 was reportedly around 28,000 visitors per month at a time when our monthly visit levels were already documented to have grown to that level after only two years, and we dramatically exceeded that level early in 2006.

Comparing website visits to ad "reach" and event attendees

Website visits are not the same thing as the number of free magazine subscription recipients or trade show and networking event attendees, but none can guarantee well-qualified project leads for any given area or service provider, particularly in a short span of time.  Those are just potential channels for reaching some prospects at a fairly high cost.  Our website visits are generally driven by searches for relevant information

Note that there are few paid magazine subscription commitments in this niche market, and a limited number of major investment projects worldwide each year.

Magazine ads provide direct mail reach to push content and images at a very specific target audience of a subscriber list and other recipients (at events, through targeted promotional mailings, etc.).  Events are another way for exhibitors and sponsors to potentially promote themselves to a fairly predictable target audience.

Website visits, by contrast, are a direct response process as individuals search for what they need at the time.  It is a response-oriented rather than "push" process.  The reach may be less targeted, but search engines drive many relevant visitors to the website who might never be reached through magazines, events, or direct marketing work.

A very different business model

We do not need to spend millions of dollars on the production, promotion, and distribution of a glossy magazine to reach a limited population of subscribers as they search for relevant information to support their capital investment project plans.

We also don't need to invest a fortune in exhibits at industry events, special events, or other general marketing activities.  These distribution channels have promotional value for our marketing work, but we don't have to rely on them for "lead generation".

Instead, we can attract the interest of executives and their advisors on a more global basis by being very responsive to their own investment project needs at any time.  Our role isn't to just publish articles, directories, and useful website content and links, but rather to personally help executives find what they are seeking - quickly and easily.

We focus on personal contact work, networking, and response to enquiries.  We offer  helpful referrals according to their interests at the time to build relationships as a trusted independent advisor and resource for their strategic plans, rather than becoming just another publisher or event organizer.

Our marketing strategy in general

Our main focus is to promote this website through personal contact with top executives and professional advisors.  We also use a wide range of marketing options to attract their attention and arouse their interest in this service as a valuable resource whenever they are working on capital investment project plans or changes.

As part of our marketing mix, we use online promotional strategies to make it easier for such executives to find us whenever they are searching for help in this niche, regardless of where in the world they may be seeking help at the time.  Unlike some types of marketing campaigns, however, we carefully monitor what works, and what doesn't, to achieve continuous improvement in our market reach.

We think that the statistics above show that this strategy is working, although we are constantly working on new ways to further improve our performance.  We want this to become the favorite site for executives and advisors when they are actively working on capital investment plans such as new factories, offices, distribution centers, etc.

 

Comparison - Area Development magazine

Another leading magazine in this niche is Area Development, which reported 44,000 BPA audited subscribers and roughly 13,300 of these were at firms with more than 500 employees. 

Area Development and their FastFacility site for property listings maintain roughly 3000 pages of website content which Google has indexed.  Published 2004 website visit statistics for FastFacility indicate that it attracts between 36,000 and 40,000 visitors per month - or roughly 1200 - 1300 per day on average - with the support of some TV advertising on CNN and Bloomberg as well as some Google ads.  At one point, after their TV ads, they reported 12,000 visitors per week (i.e., roughly 48,000 per month), but it was not clear whether this was a temporary peak or a sustained level of visits.

Compare that to our visit levels above (48,000 visits in March 2006), which we achieved without any such investment in TV ads.  Such ads are obviously costly (and who pays for that?) and reach beyond the real target audience in this niche market.  It was also unclear how often they aired, and at what times, and with what real or lasting impact.  In any case, we don't know of any other magazines in this niche which have tried this.

They have also promoted the website not only through their magazine, but through large promotional mailings of postcards to many companies.  These have been designed to promote visits to the FastFacility website more than subscriptions.  They have also started to organize events, such as a forum for advertisers to meet site consultants.

These ways to reach more people can all be useful tools to drive up visits to a website, but at a relatively high cost relative to the typical response rates by well-qualified prospects.  Recently, they have added an e-mail newsletter broadcast which highlights upcoming stories in the next issue of the magazine before it is distributed, with links to the website.  That's an inexpensive way to drive more visits to the website.

FastFacility is a useful service, Area Development is a good magazine in this market, and we don't compete.  This website and our CRE Search feature on the related www.OnTheShortList.com website actually makes it easy for people unaware of their FastFacility service to discover and use it, but our market approach is quite different.  Our work can be complementary for targeted marketing programs in this niche.

Designed with search engine optimization in mind

Google is by far the largest source of visits to this website.  Other leading search engines (Yahoo! etc.) are also a major source of visits, but our volume from Google exceeds the rest of the search engines combined.  It also seems to attract more of our targeted business users, rather than less relevant visitors (students, etc.).

This is as expected, because we deliberately do not try to promote this site through channels which would attract more attention from the much wider audience of Internet users who would not be very relevant to our work.  Instead, we have consistently found over the years that, when we receive a significant project enquiry from a top executive or advisor who finds our website, the lead originated either through a Google search or our own direct promotional and networking efforts or referrals to reach such executives.

We routinely monitor how executives and advisors find this site by asking them personally whenever they seek our assistance with their investment project plans.

We have found over time that the two most significant factors in the increase in relevant visits to our site by top executives and their advisors are :

  •  the volume of  market knowledge and contacts which we share, so that users have more ways to discover our capabilities through their searches, and more reason to return repeatedly because they are finding useful content here.
  •  the volume of our personal contact work to make more top executives and advisors directly aware of our services and the value of our ability to support their interests.

Other test marketing initiatives for lead generation work

We have also experimented with other ways to attract more relevant visitors, such as through online advertising and relevant reciprocal links.

For example, there have been prominent links to this site from CoreNet Global, IEDC, the DevelopmentAlliance portal maintained by Site Selection magazine with IEDC, Expansion Management magazine, and others.  There are also links from e-mail newsletters, such as from IEDC as well as some professional service providers.

Our analysis of visit statistics, however, has shown that very few visitors have followed these links from relevant associations and magazines or their e-mail newsletters, contrary to our original expectations.

On the other hand, such visits can be quite relevant as well-qualified prospects, even though most prospects have turned up through Google searches.

Our online advertising campaign in May 2005, carefully coordinated and planned for months in advance, demonstrated that we could achieve much higher visit levels at an efficient cost.

The point, however, is just that the response rate through such channels remains relatively low.  Online ad responses (click-through to this website) in 2005 were still just a very small fraction of our total visits.  They can be very good prospects, but are just one part of the total marketing mix to consistently find more capital investment projects.

 

 

 

Our new www.OnTheShortList.com website is an extension of the above strategy.   It makes it easy to selectively offer even more detailed local market knowledge through field research work in cooperation with top consultants in participating communities.

It also offers some unique custom search capabilities for executives and their advisors to help attract and retain their interest in this service, reinforced by a feedback process to better anticipate and respond to their research interests in any region or specialty.

Our response-oriented GUIDE services should be easy to find through searches, and useful as a source of relevant information and contacts, while our proactive outreach work expands our networks of contacts in our target markets.  These are intended to combine to steadily grow the awareness and use of this niche service.

In summary, our focus is not on maximization of website visits, but on helping more investors with their capital investment plans by attracting very relevant visitors.  This can help those who support our work to reach such investors and advisors as a very cost efficient distribution channel to make website visitors as well as our personal contacts aware of their areas and services whenever they may be relevant.

This strategy is reflected in the highlights of our 2006-2010 business plan and the intended structure of new regional offices as we grow this business to scale in parallel with our new non-profit initiatives, www.gdiforum.org and www.gdifoundation.org

 


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Global Direct Investment Solutions, PO Box 439  Fox River Grove, IL 60021-0439  TEL 847-304-4655  FAX 847-304-5375

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Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  Global Direct Investment Solutions, Inc.      Last modified: 06/05/09