"Grass-roots programs are how we're getting our message out," says Calvin Wong, executive director-sales and marketing for AsianAvenue.com.
"We're working through representatives that we have in place on campuses in the Northeast, California, especially UCLA, UC-Irvine and UC-Berkeley, and Toronto."
The representatives are university students who typify the demographic AsianAvenue aims to reach. They are hired to talk to their fellow students about the Web site and alert AsianAvenue to upcoming events where Asian-American students are likely to attend. The marketer makes it a point to have presence at those events.
While AsianAvenue.com does some cross-promotion with publishers such as Yolk and its sister e'zine (yolk.com) aimed at Generation Y Asian-Americans, Mr. Wong believes the best way to build traffic for the community-oriented site is through on-campus appearances. AsianAvenue.com handles its advertising in-house; the site has bought some advertising banner space on community-oriented sites, such as Geocities and The Globe.
"What we have found is word-of-mouth is the strongest pull we have, especially for people in college," Mr. Wong continues. "It's pretty hard right now to place an online ad; it's very scattershot and the click-throughs that we've tried haven't been good. We believe we can better target our consumer, those 16 to 35, by getting out and actually meeting them. At a conference where there might be 1,000 Asian attendees, we have a better chance of getting out the word about AsianAvenue.com. At a school such as UCLA, with 69,000 students, more than 40% of those students are Asian. That's where we think we're going to make a significant impact, by having our campus representatives actively spreading the word."