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Want to leap to the front of the pack? Get your voice heard above the online din as you get your business started. Lolita Carrico, founder of Modern Mom, turned her online momcentric guide--which includes articles, product reviews and advice--into a must-visit destination on the web. Since founding the company in 2002, Carrico has seen it grow 200 percent each year. Today, modernmom.com has about 115,000 newsletter subscribers and attracts about 500,000 unique visitors every month.
Carrico, a former PR executive, used her expertise to get the word out about her company. She cross-promotes with companies--like Liz Lange Maternity and Stroller Strides--that share her target audience of hip, urban, sophisticated women to help grow her community. "What has been extremely successful for us is partnering with [not only] other online companies," says the 34-year-old, "but also brands that are off-line to reach that audience."
Knowing your target audience is the first step to linking with like-minded sites, says Maria Elena Duron, marketing expert and author of Mouth-to-Mouth Marketing. Then choose how you want to market: blogs, e-mail blasts, newsletters or podcasts. "It's about consistency," she says. "For you to stand out, it takes seven to nine times for them to see you--and then it has to be something that really speaks to them." Use your online presence to be conversational and interactive. Update your blog two to three times per week, says Duron, and position your company as an expert in your industry.
Carrico has certainly positioned Modern Mom as the expert in its field--moms seek out the company's site for information on beauty, parenting, fashion, fitness, health and more. She has also earned a ton of press coverage and estimates 2007 sales to reach $2.4 million. "To create a website that resonates and attracts repeat traffic," says Carrico, "you really have to have a connection with your audience."