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Internet Marketing Series: Online communities written by Claudie Clot, CEO of

Right now, somewhere on the Internet, a group of people is sharing information about your product/service category in an effort to find solutions to their problems. In another group, members are sharing their enthusiasm about hobbies, sports, and other topics of interest...

Fabulous opportunities exist for companies looking to attract high-quality leads by promoting their offerings in the right online communities. As community members exchange ideas, share opinions, or discuss solutions, advertisers can include their message as part of the flow of information. Your promotional program becomes an integral part of the online community without disrupting the exchange of information among eCommunity members.

Depending on the nature of the eCommunity targeted, advertisers can use banners, buttons, text ads or sponsored links featured in key areas of the site. In some eCommunities, members communicate via email; in this case, advertisers can place their banners within the email messages.

Online community sponsorships offer more than just new ways to reach prospects on the Web. They can play a vital role in transforming prospects into customers when used as part of an integrated Internet marketing plan. However, results and response rates can be very disappointing when the promotions are used for the wrong purpose.



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