A Web 2.0 Strategy: 10 tactics for success


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Ten guiding principals for a Web 2.0 strategy.

These tactics for success will help ensure your site grows its audience and revenue and maximising profitability by harnessing the power of the Web 2.0 state-of-mind and the network effect.

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  • Provide a feeling of membership through functionality such as profile pages, ‘friending’, defining groups and friend invites. Provide a feeling of influence and efficacy - a platform for expression where the audience is in charge. Fulfil social, ego and self-actualisation needs - allow users to show their status and expertise; let them get a feeling of competence and support from others. Status rewards, karma points, and having featured members can help. Take a leaf out of Flickr’s book and greet every new member. Do this by “eating your own dog food”!
  • Have a simple proposition Your site must have a strong, simple and compelling proposition. Can you imagine somebody explaining it to their friend on the phone? “I found this really good website today called xxx - it’s great because….” More so, to be truly successful and go mainstream, your site should offer “a benefit to the person that makes a real difference in their lives.” (John Coate) Don’t just think about active participation such as user generated content. Aim to leverage passive participation as well - think about what you could do with ‘attention data’ and let users simply vote with their feet.
  • Ensure viral growth If you want to grow, you must include facilities to encourage word-of-mouth - both altruistic and incentivised. Build-in ways to share - Email, blogs, RSS, widgets, cut and paste of code snippets, IM, and SMS. Develop ways to lower the barrier to invite friends and family (on-ramps), eg Import from address books (hotmail, gmail, outlook express), import from instant messaging clients. Include elements that encourage a natural network-effect, whereby the site has more value to users the more people they invite.
  • Do continuous R&S Continually research and develop the site on a rolling basis (think Agile) - do not be afraid of experimentation. * Keep an open dialogue with your users and involve them in decisions. * Provide an easy mechanism for users to provide feedback. It’s free testing. * Closely monitor real user behaviour and use this information to improve and develop your site. * Web development and design is a process, not an event - the first day after a redesign is the worst and the day you stop tweaking a website is the day it dies.
  • Platform for advertisers With your community, think about how you can genuinely put advertisers in touch with the right consumers. Create opportunities for advertisers to interact with the users in ways which will be of interest to both parties. But remember, advertising should just be the icing on the revenue cake.
  • Let the outside in and the inside out Let the outside in: allow content from the web into your site, eg widgets, rss, etc. Why not include your competitor’s news on your site? They’ll only go back to Google to get it. Progressive insurance even shows competitor’s prices even if they beat theirs – builds trust, gives confidence, increased conversions. Let the inside out: Allow syndication of your content and brand through rss, widgets, open APIs etc. Set your content free. 60% of YouTube streams are on third-party sites – let your users do your marketing for you.
  • Own the audience Target your proposition to an audience. Aim to overwelm the microcosm. You can target on one of the following: Location (eg xianei.com – china). Interest (eg myspace.com - music). Identity (eg ivillage.com - female). Condition (eg theknot.com – getting married – used by 85% of US weddings).
  • Don’t forget to be profitable Think carefully about traffic acquisition costs - don’t make a net loss in driving traffic. Consider paid search as a cost-of-sale rather than marketing. Check the real costs of content creation. Measure and focus on your rate of monetisation - eg total revenue per visit - this is your yield. Should you be trying to increase this before trying to increase traffic?
  • Get your content mix right Be relevant - readers are looking for complete solutions. Make sure your content resonates - expertise is relative – people are looking for the like-minded, pro or otherwise. Be specific - the specific always drives off the general. Don’t slow people down - readers need the content on demand. Ensure you are comprehensive - readers want the full story, so they value input from peers. Provide a mix of content from broad to narrow; from small audiences (long-tail) to large audiences (mass) – delivered from a range of sources, from editorial content , blogs, UGC, Forums and ratings, reviews and comments. For example narrow content might be a search for gardeners in my area, whereas broad content might be an article about gardening trends.
  • Don’t forget to sell something Building a website business that relies completely on advertising is like building your house on sand. Instead, sell something! Even if it’s ones and zeros. For example Facebook sells virtual ‘gifts‘ for $1 each (when you have 18 million users I bet it adds up…); SecondLife sells virtual land; DeviantArt sells prints, merchandise and ad-free premium membership; Novelty items like Facebook’s gifts and other services to help you ‘pimp your profile’ are the online equivilant of mobile ringtones, which are $6.6bn global business. Another good excuse to part kids from their pocket money. If you’re into a more grown-up business, think about what data and content you have that might be genuinely valuable to people - and not just your users. Is there a business-to-business side revenue stream to be found? Even your user’s attention data might be valuable. Think about what your users would happily pay for.
  • A Web 2.0 Strategy: 10 tactics for success

    1. 1. Web 2.0 Strategy 10 Tactics for Web 2.0 Success
    2. 2. #1. Create a community <ul><li>Membership: profiles, friending, groups </li></ul><ul><li>Influence: audience feels in charge </li></ul><ul><li>Fulfil needs: Social, Ego & Self-actualisation </li></ul><ul><li>Greet every new member </li></ul>
    3. 3. #2. Simple proposition <ul><li>Can you explain your website on the phone ? </li></ul><ul><li>“ A benefit to the person that makes a real difference in their lives” </li></ul><ul><li>Passive as well as active participation – voting with feet </li></ul>
    4. 4. #3. Viral growth <ul><li>Encourage word-of-mouth : altruistic and incentivised </li></ul><ul><li>Build-in ways to share </li></ul><ul><li>On-ramps : Lower barriers to invite friends </li></ul><ul><li>Natural network effects – more value with more ‘friends’ </li></ul>
    5. 5. #4. Beta / continuous R&D <ul><li>Don’t be afraid of experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Open dialogue with users, involve in decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Easy feedback mechanism = free testers </li></ul><ul><li>Development is a process not an event. </li></ul>
    6. 6. #5. Platform for advertisers <ul><li>Genuinely introduce advertisers with the right consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Create opportunities to interact </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it relevant and useful </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: advertising is the icing on the revenue cake </li></ul>
    7. 7. #6. Outside in, inside out <ul><li>Let the outside in </li></ul><ul><li>Import widgets, RSS, APIs – use even competitors’ content! </li></ul><ul><li>Let the inside out </li></ul><ul><li>Syndicate through RSS, widgets, open APIs </li></ul><ul><li>Set your content free , let users do your marketing </li></ul>
    8. 8. #7. Overwelm the microcosm <ul><li>You still need to target an audience ! </li></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><ul><li>xianei.com = china </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>myspace.com = music </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ivillage.com = female </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Condition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>theknot.com = marriage </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. #8. Be profitable <ul><li>Traffic acquisition costs – don’t make a loss driving traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Consider paid-search as a cost of sales </li></ul><ul><li>Check content creation costs </li></ul><ul><li>Measure total revenue per visit </li></ul>
    10. 10. #9. Content mix <ul><li>Expertise is relative – like-minded, pro or otherwise </li></ul><ul><li>Specific drives off the general </li></ul><ul><li>Be comprehensive </li></ul><ul><li>Mix broad and narrow , long-tail and mass-market , pro editorial and UGC </li></ul>
    11. 11. #10. Sell something <ul><li>100% advertising revenue = eggs in one basket </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual : Facebook gifts; Second Life land; ad-free membership </li></ul><ul><li>Real : DeviantArt prints; merchandise; a service </li></ul><ul><li>Does your anonymous data have a value to any businesses? </li></ul>
    12. 12. Credits & Inspiration <ul><li>Tara Hunt </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://twopointoh.co.uk/2007/02/20/building-online-communities-tara-hunt-citizen-agency/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jeffery Rasport </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://twopointoh.co.uk/2007/03/10/staying-competitive-in-the-digital-era-jeffery-rasport-marketspace-llc/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peter Horan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://twopointoh.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/5-corner-stones-of-successful-content-and-monetisation-success/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>John Musser & Tim O’Reilly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://twopointoh.co.uk/2007/01/20/oreillys-web-20-principles-best-practises-report/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Photos credits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>richard_am , phitar , darkmatter , ( nz)dave , Scott Foy , eye2eye , , Valerie Reneé , vaXzine , alexmuse and Paul Lomax ! </li></ul></ul>