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The Hartford, the preferred provider of insurance and investment services for AARP, sought to launch a one-year pilot website to market small business products to their over 35 million members. With approval to use AARP's brand and promotional leverage, AARPSmallBiz.com was created.

Weekly articles and features
Discussion forum management
Bi-weekly E-mail Newsletter

Unique Articles
Agreements with content providers helped populate the site initially, however I was then contracted to author short articles and information pieces as well. In addition, I created a biweekly e-mail newsletter that highlighted new features, as well as encouraged members to apply for a free insurance quote via The Hartford. This venue of promotion was very successful in lead generation for the client.

Promotional Planning
Strategically, I worked to develop a weekly schedule of content, interactive programs, and sales opportunities that would be rotated throughout AARPSmallBiz.com. Using this structured method, we were able to prepare features for seasonal use, along with capitalizing on calendar events such as Small Business Month. AARP members were very receptive to voting in online polls, so I helped develop questions that were not only beneficial for other small business owners, but also provided useful information for The Hartford's marketing department.

Protecting The Membership
I was also tasked with growing and moderating the online community that populated the website's discussion forums. For the most part, this involved funneling feedback to guest authors and providing their responses to member questions. In addition, because of AARP's strong stance on protecting the 50-plus age group, much attention was focused on keeping the community areas clear of unsolicited commercial advertising.

Successful Experiment
Both AARP and The Hartford evaluated the success of this pilot website, and in conclusion, a decision was made to integrate the services and features offered into the larger AARP.org structure. The tighter integration with the organization's flagship Internet destination has been beneficial for all parties involved.