Jon Raj, VP-advertising and emerging media platforms at Visa USA, finds too many Web sites targeting the small and midsize business market are lacking.
Some have a tendency to "speak down" to users, who may respond by taking their business elsewhere, Raj said. But that's not the case with Allbusiness.com, he said.
The media and e-commerce site "speaks to the SMB market in a way that's interesting to small-business decision-makers," he said.
In addition to running display ads on the site, Visa is the exclusive sponsor of AllBusiness Videos. The video links feature brief interviews with SMB executives and academics on many business topics, such as what makes a successful ad campaign and how to get technology and marketing to work together more effectively.
"The videos have moments that express what the challenges are for small businesses," Raj said. "SMB execs don't like to dillydally. They want to come in, get the info and get out.
Combining content and video
"Allbusiness has done a terrific job of combining content and video, and is one of a handful of [SMB-related] Web sites that are moving in the right direction," he said.
Allbusiness.com, which debuted in 1999 and had a significant revamp in 2004, features how-to content for small-business owners and managers. Topics run the gamut: finance and accounting, human resources, legal, management, operations, technology and sales.
In the last 12 months, the Web site has expanded its library to nearly 2 million articles from several thousand, said Kathy Yates, CEO of Allbusiness.com, who took charge in January.
The site's content is drawn from hundreds of business periodicals, including Business Forum, Industry Week, Information Systems and Management Accounting. The content is also featured on several Web sites with strong appeal to b-to-b marketers, including BusinessWeek Online, BuyerZone.com, CBSNews.com, CareerBuilder.com and Washingtonpost.com.
In addition to Visa, major advertisers on Allbusiness.com include Dell Inc., Citrix Online, FedEx Kinkos, Hoover's, Trend Micro, the U.S. Postal Service and WebEx.
The Web site this year will attract another "several dozen [more] advertisers" compared with 2006, said Dan Silmore, VP-marketing.
Allbusiness.com projects 1.7 million unique users this month, up from 1.5 million in April of last year. The Web site's reach declined somewhat after a redesign in the fall, and it has taken a few months for search engines to "re-spider all of our content and start sending organic traffic again," Silmore said.
However, since the relaunch, revenue per 1,000 page views has doubled and page views per session have increased 15%, Silmore said.
Yates said AllBusiness.com's overall revenue is expected to be around $10 million this year, more than double that of 2006.
"We're constantly adding more in-depth content for each industry we cover," she said. "The value proposition for advertisers is they will reach someone who is using the content to solve a problem as opposed to a passer-by who is just reading the news."
She said the site has resonated with advertisers because it is based on behavior. "We offer an intent-driven mode as opposed to our competitors, which offer a brand-driven mode," she said, adding that roughly 70% of Allbusiness.com's users start their Web process with a search engine.
"Users are looking for an answer to the question and move on," Yates said. "And as we talk to advertisers, they understand that."
Eliot Kent-Uritam, media supervisor at ad agency Mediasmith Inc., who buys ad space on Allbusiness.com on behalf of Internet security company Trend Micro, said the site "appeals to an executive who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and get involved, and that's who we're trying to target."
Focus on user profiles
Chuck Richard, VP-lead analyst at Outsell Inc., a market research and advisory company that focuses on the information industry, said Allbusiness.com has been able to get ahead of its competitors through its focus on "user profiles."
The site is "customized by what users came there to do," he said. "Everything that surrounds the ad is relevant to the particular user. For marketers ratcheting up their online ad spending, they can assume that the page in which their ads appear will be populated by content that is focusing on the industry that is being targeted."
Outsell recently issued a report on Allbusiness.com that concluded the Web site is "executing a simple, powerful model: Drop the centuries-old compromise of `best common denominator' content and replace it with a dynamic best-fit collection."