HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Savvy gay market professionals joined straight to gay content producers Saturday afternoon at an Internext Summer seminar to discuss marketing online in the gay space.
Jerry Lewis, director of marketing for IntenseCash, moderated the panel which consisted of Mark B. of Suite 703, Mark Kleim of Lavender Lounge, Morgan Sommer of Cybersocket, Kristin Wynters of Yappo.com and TopBucks and Lange Palmer of Epoch.
Kleim began things with a focus on changes in the gay online market.
"Consumers have changed just as the gay market has," Kleim said. "Consumers use to have to seek out content by various means, now on the Internet, they have a choice and are particular about what they want. It's up to you to keep in touch with your demographic, monitor feedback and watch out for changing trends. This allows you to provide the customers with something they want."
Not every one is looking for pretty pictures or niche-specific content, according to Kleim. "Gay men's tastes vary and it's important to remember you might be targeting gay men, but they are men after all."
Design, tours and attraction are a big part of capturing potential conversions Wynters added.
"We discovered branding our product properly was daunting, but possible," she said. "Variety and savvy surrounding your demographic are all key. You don't have to have rainbows and the term "gay" plastered everywhere to make your site attractive. Color is important and different graphics convert differently. Text works a lot better than banners sometimes."
Having a solid team of professionals working hard to manufacture a viable product also plays a big part in target marketing.
"We have a lot of experience working together on our team," Kleim said. "We tried to make sure we had a good launching platform as well as a strong marketing side. Everybody wants hot sexy pictures to titillate them, but giving them only that isn't enough"
Sommer agreed, saying that hot sells, but audience appeal is only part of the equation. "Gay men are discerning and have different sensibilities, so keep that in mind," he said.
The general consensus was that maintaining consistency and blending different content is a tricky endeavor, but done right, adds up to strong conversions.
"It takes someone with a critical eye and business savvy to find the balance, mix it in and utilize it properly," Mark B. said.
Everyone agreed to be open minded, pay attention to input and put it to work in the right areas.