Many people in the communications space have asked me recently what TMC's secret is. After all, we are in the toughest media environment of our lifetimes and we produced our best show ever and have more paying customers online than at virtually any other time in our history.
The answer may lie in a bit of luck and some skill. The lucky part is we built our first online community for a customer about a decade ago. And since this time we have invested a small fortune in building our own proprietary technology which allows us to build highly-ranked, viral, news-driven communities for customers. Well over 100 of these sponsored communities live on TMCnet and generally consist of the tabs at the top and down the left of most of our pages.
Moreover TMCnet now houses millions of pages of content which gives the site tremendous prominence. And we have ranked very high on search engines for many years which has generated a tremendous amount of links to the 100+ articles we write a day and other content such as blog entries on the site.
The community product is called a GOC or "gock" and stands for Global Online Community. When we launched the program the term "organic search results" was probably not common but now, these communities help our customers rank extremely high for a variety of keywords which are important to them.
I know what you are going to say. Rich, that is what those click ads are for. Well to be honest the value of an organic search result is much higher to the searcher because it is not blatantly paid for and moreover it is not in a sea of other ads. Most importantly, research shows less that 20% of people even click on search ads. What about the other 80%?
TMC's communities answer the request we have been hearing -- How do you recreate the best part of tradeshows online?(shots from last ITEXPO East February 2009 in Miami)
Finally, unlike search ads, these communities help your own site(s) rank high organically by providing links. Moreover they help companies build their brand and thought leadership.
In addition, as a news-driven entity, GOCs draw traffic from other pages on TMCnet, newsletters, the TMCnet home page, news search engines and traditional search services. They are multimedia in nature, allowing companies to interface with customers via audio, video and of course text.
Example of an IP-PBX GOC (click to see full screen image)
Many of you have told me over the years that there needs to be a way to combine the best part of trade shows online. The GOC program is exactly this as it brings in your potential customers from around the world and gives them a reason to come back and see your message as the news is constantly updated. It is a very busy 24x7 community consisting of the most targeted people available on the web. And it is targeted by the news you find important.
In addition, it is measurable, and includes a wealth of metrics which can be used to analyze your spend and justify it up the chain of command.
For the reader the benefit is clear. They come to the GOC and bookmark it so they can keep up to date on the latest happenings in the space. How many people come? Well our record is over 650,000 pages viewed on a GOC in one month but typical results are between 250,000-500,000 per month. Generally, each GOC will average about 100,000 unique visitors per month - and they are targeted exclusively by content. In other words, you can use this program to build a community of people interested in subjects such as colocation, IP communications, HD voice, next generation communications, fixed mobile convergence or anything else in virtually any field. Click on any of these above links to see how the design is different and mirrors the look and feel of the sponsor.