A recent report published by eMarketer projects U.S. business-to-business online advertising spending will increase 25.7%, to $4.4 billion, while overall Internet ad spending will rise 28.5% this year. This is not surprising when you consider online products such as websites, e-newsletters, search engines, and webcasts represent a convenient and affordable vehicle for delivering information to targeted audiences while providing the most effective form of lead generation. While no concrete statistics are available to measure the amount of online business activity in surface finishing, reporting data for the Metal Finishing website and weekly e-newsletter back up this trend.

In April, the number of visits to www.metalfinishing.com increased more than 53% over the same time last year. Likewise, the number of “unique” visitors—a term used to describe people who visit a website more than once in a specified time frame—jumped more than 31% over April 2007. We also find that people are spending more time canvassing our website.

Meanwhile, the Metal Finishing weekly e-newsletter has more than doubled the number of opt-in subscribers, a figure that exceeds five digits. We also found that our e-newsletter “open rates” and “click-thrus,” which are common barometers used to gauge the quantity of people reading online content and checking out related websites, are above industry standards.

What does this all mean? It’s a strong indication that more and more industry members are flocking to relevant websites and other online sources to locate information they find compelling, informative, and useful to their business. At the same time, an increasing number of vendors are utilizing e-marketing strategies to drive traffic to their sites and deliver customized messages to a targeted audience.

Whether we like it or not, we all have to come to grips with the Internet, which is as mainstream now as any other form of media. Studies show an increasing number of business managers and employees habitually go online to research various products or services, and then narrow their choices. The Internet should not be avoided; rather, it’s there to be exploited.

Contact the author