Businesses today needs to provide more user driven content to allow customers to drive their strategies. The Internet initially had started as a peer to peer communication technology , and then evolved into a business to users (vertical communication) monologue. Web2.0 is shifting the power back to users by encouraging more peer to peer (horizontal) communication.
Interactive website technologies viz. consumer forums and chat rooms, are transforming this relationship between businesses and their consumers. Now thanks to Web2.0 features on websites consumers are benefiting from interacting with fellow users on a real time basis.
SEO and your business
This increases both consumer faith and brand image of businesses and their offerings, besides giving corporate valuable insights into any product/service/process flaw that maybe impeding their growth. Thanks to interactive Web2.0 communication consumers are increasingly managing the selling process to suit their individual needs. This is happening in both B2B and B2C businesses and is changing rules of the game; with the power shifting to consumers. To prosper businesses can no longer communicate with their consumers on a vertical basis but are now ‘seated next to them’, facilitating ‘side-by-side’ (peer to peer) information sharing.
Web2.0 Website Features
To enhance the business value, visitation and usability of your site, here are some proven Web2.0 features that you could add:
1. Training courses: Real users providing audio, video or plain text content on how to use your product/service and adding their own experiences. This could be split into a multiple lessons or a downloadable file. There are also numerous forms for delivering these courses: email – text/ html (or both), website content pages, pdf downloads, rich media streaming / podcasting / downloadable videos.
2. Interactive webinars: Getting consumers to sign up for real-time discussion of users moderated by industry experts. The collated content could then be used as a future discussion on blogs dedicated to your product/service.
3. Audio/Video tutorials: Using an industry expert (and not a corporate official) to provide live content on using new technologies/processes to enhance the product/service usage. As a follow-up, he regularly answers comments posted by customers. This brings customers and businesses closer and minimises chances of misunderstanding.
4. Live Product reviews: Interactive review forums for customers are very popular with web users. These generate a lot of viral marketing momentum and drive customers to increase their usage of your offering as they get convinced by good reviews and responsive customer service too. Besides this adds a lot of content that boosts your SEO rankings and increases site visitation.
5. User Competitions: Encourage customers to post on your blog by having a competition with real prizes (e.g. for the best blog post or for the maximum number of relevant customer referrals) that you need to give at a definite (well advertised) frequency. It’s a great idea to publish details of winners regularly and also post their testimonials for greater authenticity/publicity.
6. Member polls and surveys: Get your members to answer informative polls and surveys to boost their knowledge of your offering and also collect valuable consumer insight on their purchasing/usage patterns. For better results you may have to add incentives to engage consumers in this activity. Always post the results/findings of these polls/surveys and also ask for further comments to build a learning community around the key findings.
7. Subscription based e-Newsletters: These can be used to keep consumers informed about the latest business/offerings updates and also build a ‘user-responsive’ brand image. Newsletter articles can be linked with an interactive blog to build new ‘conversation chains’ around topics that boost user interest in your offerings and your SEO rankings too. You can also highlight industry news, questions that customers routinely ask, innovative blog posts, success stories and useful findings of the latest survey/poll results, success stories in your customer newsletters.