I recently launched a Q&A language site (powered by StackExchange just like answers.onstartups.com) as a side project. Now that it's gaining noticeable interest, I am looking forward to push it to the next level and market it to language professionals.
My question is: how would you reach and engage language professionals in a creative way (my budget being somewhat limited - xxx$ range)? Most language communities that I've found on the web are (in)directly competing with me, so advertising on those sites might not be an option.
On an unrelated note, do you believe there is a market for "yet another" language community ? Is the user experience offered by StackExchange a good enough differentiating factor ? Most of "competing" communities are very old and don't offer an engaging experience. Eventually, my goal is to create a language professionals marketplace in order to monetize the site.
Looking forward for your excellent advice as usual !
When I promoted this site, here's what I did -- I think you can copy the strategy.
Another thing you could do is offer to advertise on some of the sites. If you also get to guest post a few times, that really stretches the marketing dollars into something high-value.
Using LinkedIn and other social networking sites could be useful, and doesn't cost anything but time. Join some groups, interact, and gain trust.
Jason's technique is effective. That's how I found this site and why I continue to contribute. So, I think you picked the right platform.
From a broader perspective, you need to figure out where the other sites are lacking and exploit that in your promotions.
I don't know much about language professionals but I have had some experience with linguists (probably not that related). It was my impression that they always lacked the proper tools, venue for new ideas and opportunities to make a living. That might be different for language professional but it did seem that the linguists were staving for interaction and for people to take them more serious.
Getting back to promotion. With limited dollars, it's going to be about micro-targeting a receptive niche and building from there. You might even consider some cross over promotions like programmers that do language translation. If you build it from that base and get traction, then expanding will be a lot easier.
Reach out to the language communities out there - here are a few.here.
While you may not be able to attend the events - most of these associations would love to have traffic sharing with their members - perhaps you can consider a link back to their site for an announcement of your site.
Also, many of these groups have annual meetings and events, you could either help promote their event in return for exposure of your site to their members.
You might want to approach universities about this. The engineering department at my school (UCSB) is a great example of a place where you could pick up on a variety of users who do not have an existing infrastructure for that. I don't know how viable that option is or if it is something you are even interested in, but its definitely a pain point here and its not being met... Feel free to email me I could get you in contact with some engineering students here at school and you could see what they think about something like this.