Portal Marketing
Shannan Hearne-Fortner

The goal of every good marketing campaign is to reach its "target market". Whether that be new or existing customers, entire or niche markets, to promote the company as a whole or a specific product; the measurement of a marketing campaign's success is how well the target market is reached. And how well the target market responds.

Advertisers spend tremendous amounts of time, money, and effort determining demographics of target markets to best aim their ad campaigns. Sometimes more market research is performed than the entire time the product being prepared for market spent in research and development.

Large market survey companies have evolved to assist advertisers in this process. Many pay participants for their opinions to gain wide and valid data regarding responses to products and their advertising messages.

At the same time, publishers, broadcasters, cable companies and a whole other host of folks who sell advertising time or space perform similiar demographic research to better assist advertisers in reaching their "target markets". They note which shows are most watched, which columns are most read, which drive times are most listened to. They record which population segments are receiving these audio, video, and printed messages.

All this information is combined to provide a better opportunity for advertisers to get their targeted marketing message to their target market.

On the internet, there is an additional way to target your marketing message. The internet has changed numerous facets of the marketing world. Thanks to the speed with which information can be gathered and then re-distributed, the internet has even changed the way we view marketing information. Whole new terms for marketing and advertising have evolved: spam, mass email, pop up and pop under windows, exit windows, banner exchanges, and more. Do you notice that all these terms have a negative connotation to the internet user? Not so with the topic of today's article.

Portal Marketing is the development of advertising messages which are displayed to very targeted groups of internet users.

First, you have to understand what a portal website is. Portals are webpages that serve as mini-directories on very targeted subjects. Portals may be made up of specific groups of web sites who are paying for their advertising or listing on the portal site, or they may be made up of web sites added by the portal owner because he or she felt they were of value to other internet users interested in the portal's topic. Or they might be made up of a combination of both.

Portals do not attempt to catalogue the entire internet. Portals are much like the hub or center of a wagon wheel. They are a jumping off point for links or spokes to numerous web resources on a like subject.

So what does that mean for the advertiser?

Portal sites are very targeted sites to diseminate your marketing message. They are recognized as valuable resources to the demographic groups you are trying to reach. They are ranked high in numerous search engines because they do a fantastic job of playing the link popularity game. They also are only too happy to have you marketing within their walls.

How do you market on a portal site?

Very much the same way that you market on any internet web site. You can purchase banner advertising or text links. You can provide valuable content to the portal site and therefore often times get your marketing message out by way of a byline or a link free of charge. You can participate in the community. You can sponsor contests or moderate forums or chat boards. Virtually anything you do on a relevant portal site will fall under the category of marketing. Because any way in which you make your presence heard, seen, or felt you are reaching your target market.

There are portal web sites for just about anything you could want. http://www.primmart.com is a portal site for primitive and rustic shopping. http://www.mommyportal.com is a portal site for mom business marketing. http://www.moneymakingmommy.com is a portal site for work at home opportunities. http://www.wahm.com is a portal site for work at home mom resources on everything under the sun. http://www.thenetworkforwomen.com is a portal site of all things of interest to women on the internet. http://www.i-Cop.org is a portal site for businesses on the internet who have made an effort to police themselves and each other, providing internet shoppers and consumers with superior service every time. Even the category pages within The Open Directory Project http://www.dmoz.com are in effect portal sites. A brand new portal site for moms doing business on the internet is http://www.internetbasedmoms.com.

If you want to find a portal site on which you can begin doing targeted advertising, run a search. Because of their high link popularity status, a great search engine to use is Google.com

What if, unthinkable though it might be, a portal web site doesn't exist that reaches your target market?

The answer is so easy I can hardly believe you would ask. Start one!

Internet real estate is still the best buy going. Find a relevant domain name that is available. Register it. Host it. And build it. Shazaam. You are now in a position to portal market.

But how do I build a portal?

Compile relevant resources for people and build a site around it. As traffic levels grow you will be able to sell advertising space. But remember that whether the portal site itself ever actually turns a profit or not, it is still the cheapest and most targeted advertising space available.

What are the added bonuses for setting up your own portal site to use as a marketing tool?

Much like publishing an ezine or writing articles, you are continuing to build yourself as a leader and knowledge base in your field. And that is probably the most powerful marketing of all!

Shannan Hearne is the President and Wizard of http://www.SuccessPromotions.com Marketing Your e-Business Better through creative marketing and knowledge. Guerrilla Marketing. One-to-One Marketing. Relationship Marketing. Your Marketing.

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