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Grand Rapids Business Journal Relaunches with Style, eCommerce and Audience Engagement

November 02, 2012
Targeted Marketing | Advertising and Sponsorships | Image Galleries | Client Profile | Reporting: User Behavior & Preferences | Directories | Sales & Subscription Management | Tactics to Increase Revenue | Secure Shopping Cart | Integrations | Grand Rapids Business Journal | Revenue Generation | Design | eCommerce | Multimedia | Social Sharing | Community Features

Grand Rapids Business Journal (GRBJ), West Michigan’s primary and most-trusted source of local business news since 1983, announced a new era for subscribers and staff with the relaunch of GRBJ.com.   

GRBJ’s goal“…  is to offer more coverage of the local and regional business community in the format that’s easiest for readers to access, whether that’s online or in print. Our readers will be able to comment on, discuss and share stories using this new and robust online platform.  We will be mobile-friendly and add more mobile apps and special content,”said John Zwarensteyn, President, CEO and Publisher of parent company, Gemini Publications.

The relaunch of GRBJ.com enhances the value of Gemini’s online business with intuitive design and real-time news and resources delivered to busy decision makers.  Readers get the same quality updates they’ve come to rely on, throughout the day, for a free trial period—so that they can decide for themselves.

 

Gemini’s strategic planning guided their vendor selection and goals for the site:

  • Security and Performance: fast page-loads, secure subscriptions and sales transactions, no downtime.
  • Flexibility, Scalability: add microsites and landing pages without more development, or added cost.
  • Audience Engagement:deliver timely, relevant resources; eliminate obstacles to sales.
  • Increase Revenue:capture visitor and subscriber information and preferences to increase sales and renewals; target marketing; and drive enhancements.

Zwarensteyn continued, “We’re very happy with the new GRBJ.com platform because it supports our business objectives – Subscriptions, List Sales and Advertising – while increasing value for readers and streamlining editorial processes.”

The redesign is bringing increased traffic to the site, and readers are viewing more pages and spending more time – increasing ad impressions and interest in Directory Listings and other paid resources.

GRBJ identified five key features and services that create value for readers and generate more revenue:

Smart Integrations

Many publishers overlook the value of integrating their user database and administrative tools with value-added services.   Integrations also enhance user experience:

  • Site users can access GRBJ.com’s Datajoe List Store via a seamless single sign-on process – by not requiring multiple logins GRBJ opens the way to increased sales. 
  • Synchronizing user data captured on registration and subscription forms with their Quickfill Fulfillment system simplifies renewals and targeted marketing.
  • DISQUS facilitates reader interactions and helps GRBJ track preferences.
  • Creating email newsletters is now automated, eliminating time consuming cutting and pasting, thanks to integrating the CMS with their eMail Service Provider, RealMagnet.

Enhanced Image Gallery

GRBJ’s new design caters to online reading styles by including crisp multimedia to enhance written content.  ePublishing recently released a new image gallery, which GRBJ is using to build interest and sponsorships for key events and publications. 

How does it work? GRBJ staff easily upload, tag and insert copy with full size images for a sharper, more engaging look that introduces featured stories and special content, like their 40 Under 40 slideshow. Viewers control the speed of the slideshow by simply mousing over the image and clicking on the arrow that appears. A counter on the upper right of the image helps readers keep track of where they are.

Flexible Content Areas

GRBJ.com editors are not locked into a rigid template system that limits the content types and positions on the new site.   With ePublishing’s system, editors can insert images, ads, HTML and 3rd party content feeds into free-form content areas.  GRBJ’s webmaster can create and modify pages, and manage navigation and other page elements using ePublishing admin tools. GRBJ staff benefit from easy to use tools that automate many editorial processes combined with the control to respond to revenue opportunities and present new products that increase audience engagement and drive revenue.

Engaging Blog Presentation

Working with the image gallery and blog tool, GRBJ presents their blog series in an intuitive and engaging way. Bloggers semantically tag each post by topic, which appears on the blog page with an iconic image and a brief summary, as well as a teaser for the most recent installment. This unique design and the underlying semantic relationships encourage readers to link to posts related by topic and other posts by the same blogger, and subscribe to an RSS feed for the blog.

Social Interaction

GRBJ provides multiple options for readers to interact on the site based on each reader’s preferred social media channel.  The homepage strikes a balance, presenting the GRBJ Twitter feed and a prominent invitation to LIKE them on Facebook. 

Readers easily find popular articles and can join active discussions with prominently displayed lists of trending and commented articles.  Article pages include multiple options for sharing, commenting, or emailing to a colleague, giving readers multiple options to choose how and when to engage – and driving user-generated content that enhances engagement and increases site traffic.

These are just a handful of the features enhanced and employed on the new GRBJ.com.  By partnering with ePublishing, GRBJ enhanced value for readers and sponsors, and “future-proofed” its investment with a SaaS provider delivering regular platform updates with new features and performance enhancements.

Gemini is an ideal client; the new GRBJ.com makes full use of ePublishing’s platform features and more importantly, our value-added services – design, integrations, custom development – that drive revenue and support Gemini’s business objectives.  GRBJ.com sets a new standard for regional business publishing websites,” said Tom Chaffee, CEO, ePublishing.

With strong editorial control, picturesque design, smooth eCommerce and key integrations, GRBJ.com readers are sure to stay longer and purchase more—participating in their community and gaining quality information. Stay tuned, true to GRBJ’s style, the news can only get better.

Key Features:

  • Streamlined Editorial Processes to deliver timely, relevant, related content, products, and events
  • Social Sharing
  • Mobile, Tablet Delivery
  • Enhanced Image Gallery
  • Intuitive Design
  • Integrations enhancing Customer Management, Marketing, eCommerce
 

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