Posts Tagged 'Web 2.0'

Web 2.0: Marketing by Providing Value

As I noted in a previous post on Web 2.0, marketing on the “new” web is about providing value to prospective customers. I was recently able to connect with Kwame Kuadey of Gift Card Rescue to discuss his web 2.0 strategy.  What I found is that, regardless of your industry, the basic principles of web 2.0 apply.

Kwame began marketing Gift Card Rescue through traditional means: he set-up a website, initiated a branding campaign, and “put a stake in the world wide web’s ground.” What he learned was that the old theory of ‘build it and they will come’ is only partially true. In an effort to increase traffic to Gift Card Rescue’s website he began a blog, Gift Card Blogger. Instead of focusing on his company and what he wanted, he instead decided to provide relevant and important information on gift cards. That’s right, he started providing value to potential customers instead of just his services of buying and selling gift cards without the risk of fraud.

Providing Value Builds Success
Today, over 35% of Gift Card Rescue’s traffic comes directly through his blog, and he believes that a large majority of his other hits are a result of the increased traffic, resulting in better search ratings, due to his blog. In addition, through his blogging and writings Kwame has positioned himself as a leading expert in the gift card industry, a move that will pay public relations rewards many times over throughout the busy holiday seasons.

What you can learn from Gift Card Rescue
Regardless of if you are in marketing in a professional services company, a construction company, or a non-for-profit, you can look at the Gift Card Rescue model and learn three things that will help you to be successful in the Web 2.0 marketing world:

  1. You must begin by developing a strong website, brand, and an easy to navigate web presence.
  2. You need to provide value to your potential customers: You can do this through posting white papers, starting a blog, sending out weekly tips, or just explain the best way to engage a firm that provides your type of product or service. Remember, DO NOT SELL, rather provide relevant and helpful information.
  3. Leverage the value that you are developing and sharing through your website, blog, or network to establish yourself, your company, and/or your product as the best in the field.

Success in a Web 2.0 world
Success in Web 2.0 strategy, be it on LinkedIn, blogging, or as part of an online community such as Civil Engineering Central, must be defined differently than in traditional marketing. For me it is the relationships that I have made as a result of this blog, for others it is public relations, and still for others it is increased name recognition. What is important is that you identify your objectives and then focus your Web 2.0 presence to meet those objectives.

Advertisements

The Best Unknown Websites – PART 2

It was great to have several thousand people stop by the other week to check out the first part of this series, The Best Unknown Websites. As I noted in the previous post, it seems that every week I am telling someone else about one of my favorite little known websites, so this week I wanted to add to my list and share a few more of my favorites.

As a reminder, you are always welcome to sign-up to receive these weekly posts via e-mail using Google FeedBurner. I hope that you find a website that you will use for the next several years in this list: my favorite websites that not everyone knows about.

Part 2 has been combined with the original post The Best Unknown Websites:

http://www.cofebuz.com/2009/06/15/the-best-unknown-websites/

Twitter’s Fundamental Flaw

twitter_birdsThe following article written by Tim Klabunde was published in the Design and Construction Report, a publication for members of the Design and Construction Network.

A recent Sprint Nextel commercial included a brief glimpse into the world of Twitter. It depicted hundreds of little blue “Twitter birds” with small cell phone shaped text boxes above their heads. Looking at the group you could see that each bird was speaking a message towards their fellow blue friends. As the birds chirped they were creating a flurry of messages, yet each message was the same: “Me!”

This funny and quick snippet speaks volumes about the fundamental issue most people face when trying to leverage Twitter for business. That is the Twitter culture to focus on sharing about oneself.

How businesses fail with Twitter

To properly see the Twitter flaw we must first start with the basics of Web 2.0. At first the internet was primarily about online shopping sites and providing information. Even today you can see this in many corporate websites that are set-up as online brochures. Within a couple of years, however, things began to change. People began to realize that the fastest way to succeed online was to provide value, drawing a crowd from people that were looking for information and resources. This new interactive online environment became known as Web 2.0 and included web forms, blogs, social networking communities, and information resources. 

In the midst of these changes Twitter was started as a platform for individuals to share short updates of 140 characters or less to anyone that was interested in reading them. As Twitter became successful in strengthening relationships companies began to look for ways to leverage the growing platform to expand their businesses.

Unfortunately, many of the companies and individuals that have set out to leverage Twitter have failed. Most have missed the fundamental requirement of the new web, that in order to succeed you must provide value. Today many individuals and companies that try to use Twitter for business are “Me!” users rather than focusing on others. Those that have failed to embrace helping others in the community are ignored and filtered from Twitter updates by users.

How to succeed with Twitter

With the knowledge that providing value is the key to success on the web, it is easy to begin to see how you can become successful at turning Twitter into a true business tool. Instead of thinking about what you can gain from Twitter you must first start by thinking about how you can help people that follow you. Take these two questions: 

  1. Would you be excited to read someone’s twitter posts if they informed you when they were stuck in traffic, what they had for dinner, and what they were doing this weekend?
  2. Would you be excited to read someone’s twitter posts if they regularly contained leads for new work, great articles regarding your industry, links to requests for proposals, and information on local networking events they were attending?

The interesting thing about the second person is that not only would most people follow an individual that was providing those resources; they would also probably try to meet them at an upcoming event. Notably, they would be interested in building a relationship outside of the online environment. This new relationship development then becomes the basis for success through Twitter.

Building success online

Remember that Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, and other Web 2.0 sites are only tools that can help build a foundation for mutually beneficial relationships. You must personally evaluate what tools are best to help you reach your personal objectives, noting that some of these tools take much more time than others. Personally, I have chosen not to focus on Twitter but rather on providing value to others through blogging (cofebuz.com), LinkedIn, and the Design and Construction Network (mydcn.com).

Your turn

As you look at your goals for your online presence, evaluate what tools will work best for you. It will most probably be any number of online tools of which one might be Twitter. Regardless of the tools you choose, remember that success is found online when you provide value to others.

The Washington Post vs. Bisnow

capitol-with-treesIn an effort to reduce cost, the Washington Post recently made the decision to eliminate its business section. I must admit that I didn’t think this was a big deal until I received a note from Bisnow.com, a free Washington DC digital (e-mail) publication. The note stated that Bisnow is going to begin providing Business Section coverage through a new digital publication: Daily Bisnow! Did you catch that, a three year old digital publication is beating out an industry leader (the Washington Post)!

What Happened

Bisnow is part of the future, where information is free and value is created by giving away what you know. Who wants to pay for a newspaper when the information can be accessed instantly and deciphered whenever and however you want it? This business model allows companies to thrive by giving information away rather than charging for it. In turn the captive audience becomes a magnet for companies that can benefit from advertising. (If you don’t believe me think about how much you didn’t pay to search Google this past month.)

Are you ready?

What about your business? Most probably you can’t go to the extreme of giving away everything, but what about helping others and by doing so building strong relationships. You can choose to hold your contacts, information, and resources close, or you can choose to open your resources as a path to help others succeed. In doing so, you likewise will find yourself achieving your personal goals.

Here is the note I received from Bisnow:

We are saddened by the demise of the separate Washington Post business section. It’s a great newspaper, and many of us continue to subscribe.

But we think business news is too important, especially today, to relegate to inside pages. 

We want to try to do something about it.

Starting this week, we’re launching a Daily Bisnow (Washington). Although we’re excited to have become the best read local business publication, this new e-mail will be about both national and local business.  

Of course, we’ll do it in our style:

  • Free
  • Fun
  • All-electronic
  • Lots of pictures
  • Lots of personalities
  • Mercifully short

So that your Inbox is not clogged, we’re going to pull back on the frequency of our other publications. Also, we’ll publish Daily Bisnow in the morning, and reserve the afternoon for our more specialized publications: Legal, Tech, Trade Association, Medical, Commercial Real Estate, and The Scene.

We are now 16 employees, but still small enough to care about each reader. If you have comments about our new publication, pro or con, write our publisher directly: Mark@Bisnow.com. He doesn’t have an unlisted number, at least yet.

Or come visit our office on Connecticut Ave. and play ping pong with us.

Taking over with Web 2.0

dcdcn

I am beyond excited that tomorrow we will be announcing the launch of the Washington DC Design and Construction Network website! As many of you know we have been working to bridge the gap between online and in person networking since the establishment of the Washington DC Design and Construction Network in November 2008. The rollout of this website sets the stage for the second step in bridging this gap. Keep reading if you want to find out what makes this website so different and why it is so important to the Network.

Taking Over

Tomorrow I will also be announcing that we have arranged to take over an entire restaurant in Arlington Virginia for our second Happy Hour! That is right; the restaurant will be closed to the general public and open to the members of the Washington DC Design and Construction Network. As you may recall from my post Online Networking meets Real Networking, we beyond exceeded the room capacity for our first Happy Hour. It is great to see how this event has so rapidly grown to the next level, clearly showing the power of combining social (online) networking and in person networking!

The link between a Happy Hour and a website: Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is about creating value and information while web 1.0 was (and is) all about setting up a site that reads like a brochure. What makes the Washington DC Design and Construction Network website so different isn’t the HTML, it is in the information we are providing through the site! Take a look and you will find links to all of the local procurement websites, feeds from the Washington Business Journal updated every 5 minutes, places to network with other members of the group, and an official Network MBE Directory.

Why

To Build Relationships! Success in life comes from relationships, both personally and professionally. As all of you in the Cofebuz network already know, the best way to build relationships by selflessly helping others. So why not expand on this idea? What would happen if each of us didn’t just help a handful of people but instead tried to help thousands?!  Whatever the outcome, it will be a fun case-study. I look forward to sharing the results of our little experiment with you here at Cofebuz!


http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js

The Digital Crutch

crutchesOn Wednesday this past week Ford Harding (the author of one of my favorite books “Rain Making” and the Harding & Company blog) spoke at the DC chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. As we sat prior to Ford’s talk, I was amazed at the group that had gathered at the head table. In addition to Ford, multiple Web 2.0 experts from the industry, including Mark Buckshon (Construction Marketing Ideas) and Matt Handal (Construction Netcast and Help Everybody Everyday) were engaged in conversation.

I couldn’t help but note how interesting it was that Mark and Matt had taken the time to attend the event in Washington, D.C. Mark had flown in from Ontario Canada and Matt had taken the train from Philadelphia that morning. Each of them showed the importance they place on in-person communication in order to make their businesses succeed, even in light of their prominence in the Web 2.0 world.

The Digital Crutch

Many people I know use technology as a crutch, rather than a tool to build relationships. It is an easy and important form of communication, but what we can’t do is use digital communication to replace human interaction. Even the leading Web 2.0 experts in our industry know that in order to keep their relationships strong, nothing can replace in-person communication.

Are you limping?

Are you limping by with e-mails and a linkedIn account that isn’t focusing on the development of relationships? Perhaps it is time for you to step away from the computer and focus on in-person communication this week. 


http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js

“Fifteen Minutes Can Save You Millions”

constructionnetcast

I had a great conversation with Shannah Alloway Hayley of Urban Design Group earlier this week about how to build success on the world-wide-web. As we spoke I couldn’t help but think about Matt Handal’s Construction Netcast that is sponsored by his company, Trauner Consulting Services, Inc. The key to building a great web presence is providing value and helping other people, something that Matt has excelled at through the monthly netcast.

Brochure or Value
What about your website? Is it a Web 1.0 brochure, or a Web 2.0 environment that truly benefits those that visit it? Have you recently checked your Google PageRank to see how you are doing?

Construction Netcast as a model for Web 2.0
Here is a brief overview of Construction Netcast: “Learn from experts with decades of experience who have taught thousands of construction professionals across the country. Each month, we will discuss the issues that affect your projects. Topics include project scheduling, claims avoidance, specification writing, alternative procurement methods, contracting best practices, and many others. You can enjoy these programs on your computer, pda, ipod, or other portable devices. You can also subscribe for free and receive these programs on a monthly basis. The result:   training you need when it’s convenient for you… Fifteen Minutes Can Save You Millions – That is what I call creating value, nice work Trauner Consulting.