Global forklift manufacturer Atlet has embarked on a substantial online marketing campaign, using Australian-based industry portal www.forkliftaction.com
With almost 35,000 members around the world, the forklift website enjoys more than 2.5 million page views per month, making it attractive for industry suppliers, according to general manager, Ann Hofmans.
"In February, we recorded 41% growth in web traffic over last year’s performance, and this growth is clearly being noticed by the big players," she says.
Atlet has initiated a 12-month campaign which includes banner advertising on the website and regular newsletters, a "shopfront" listing in the online business directory and various forms of exposure for some of its products.
Gothenburg-based marketing manager, Lars Gustafsson, says the Swedish manufacturer is always on the look-out for effective marketing channels.
"We use all strings and try to use different methods to spread the Atlet name and mission as effectively as possible," he points out.
Atlet’s "outside the box" approach to marketing was highlighted last year when it decided to stay away from a major industry trade show and instead invested in a "virtual exhibition" on its website. The exhibition, now available in several languages, still attracts "hundreds of thousands of visitors" on Atlet’s website (http://www.atlet.com/node/6
The 50-year-old industrial equipment leader is moving with the times and reducing its use of traditional marketing approaches.
"We hardly print anything today," Gustafsson notes. "It’s all online, banners, search engine marketing, emails and digital customer news."
The campaign with Forkliftaction.com, he says, comes after watching the site’s growth. The company was impressed with the relatively low cost of online advertising and the flexibility of the medium. Of course, the lower production costs for online advertising were also appealing.
After being acquired by Nissan last October, says Gustafsson, Atlet is "putting a lot of effort into strengthening the Atlet brand in the market".
"We hope that using Forkliftaction.com will give us the opportunity to tell the Atlet story on a world-wide basis," he adds.
Forkliftaction.com’s Hofmans says the portal has gained critical mass, with close to 50,000 unique visitors in February.
The site closely monitors its online performance and continues to post record numbers of hits. "In February, we had 7.4 million hits – 800,000 more than in January," Hofmans says.
The industry website, the only independent service for the global forklift sector, offers free membership to forklift end-users, manufacturers, vendors and intermediaries. It currently boasts 35,000 members around the world – 39% in North America, 25% in Europe, 18% in Australasia and 12% in Asia and Middle East.
Founded in 1999 by Australian industry veteran Michael Leu, the website contains industry news, listings of vehicles for sale, recruitment advertising, an active discussion forum and general industry resources for a fast-growing market.
A weekly newsletter, initiated in July 2000 with 50 subscribers, now reaches around 120,000 industry professionals each Thursday.
"This influential audience just can’t be ignored," says Hofmans. "For some time a number of important industry players have used Forkliftaction.com to reach the industry through large advertising campaigns. The commitment of Atlet shows that Sales and Marketing departments are shifting their advertising focus from print to online in order to reach the (end users) buyers in the market," she says, explaining that industry publications are struggling to reach end-users. "Forkliftaction.com, meanwhile, keeps growing its end-user audience (41% of our members are owners of forklifts or fleet managers)," she notes.
Forkliftaction.com is in the final stages of negotiations with other leading suppliers of forklifts and related products and services, and Hofmans expects to announce other significant contracts soon.
Her team’s efforts are being assisted by a number of enhancements, including a revamp of its weekly newsletter which will see the launch of a second "regional" edition. An Australasian edition has been successfully running for two years, and within three months, a North American edition will be added, to be followed by a European version of the newsletter.
Hofmans says the team is also working on new customisation options which will deliver tailor-made content to subscribers reflecting their geographic location, market segment and interests.
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