Questus turns up volume for Essence

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Interactive marketing and research firm Questus has signed Essence magazine to its roster of media and communications clients.

Essence approached the company to redesign its Volume Web site in addition to recruiting and maintaining its online Volume panel.

"We can use the Internet to share the viewpoints of smart, consumer-savvy African-American women with the world," said Jeff Rosenblum, co-founder and co-president at Questus, New York.

Questus specializes in developing customer-centric Web sites and ROI-driven advertising. It also provides online marketing and advertising, Web design, media buying and market research. The company will handle the next phase of the Essence Volume Web site, including development of a blog and bulletin board.

The monthly publication has a circulation rate base of 1,050,000 and features content on African-American culture. Questus conducted research to identify the specific language that would speak to African-American consumers and translate into sales for its advertisers.

"One of the challenging projects we faced with Essence was taking over their old panel developed more than three years ago and reinvigorating it with a new name and design, trying to engage panel members back," Mr. Rosenblum said.

The firm, which handles accounts for ESPN, The New York Times, CBS, ABC, Suzuki and the NBA, also helps clients improve their search functions.

"We expand their keyword list to include more targeted keyword phrases, which will, in turn, lead to more acquisition," Mr. Rosenblum said. "We will also do variable testing to see what people respond to best."

So which variables garner the most positive response?

"Less is more," he said. "If you eliminate dead words and allow every frame to tell a story, you have the right triggers."

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