Internet Marketing Information

Its a Community Thing!


You have this great website, you have sent out e-mails regarding your services, printed out hundreds of brochures which you have given to friends and relatives, but what you really need is to get people talking about what you offer. You know that if you can do that, people will recommend you to others and your client base will begin to grow. Sounds great, doesn't it? But how on earth do you get people talking?

Two words: ONLINE COMMUNITY

Communities come in all shapes and sizes - from sharing coffee with neighbors over the garden fence to sharing ideas in an online chat room. Whatever the venue, building communities is integral to human existence and exchange.

And for new businesses, a community can play a key role in customer relations, promotion, performance enhancement, sales, recruitment, profits... Online communities are a great way of finding out what your clients think of you and your ideas, building loyalty and providing top quality customer service. Relationship building and word of mouth play vital roles in building business. If a client likes your product or service and has a good relationship with you, they are more likely to tell their friends, who may do the same. With a dynamic site and viable online community, you have fantastic opportunities to build up a loyal, active and varied client base - a crucial factor in growing your business, increasing your selling power, getting exposure and increasing profits.

Early Days Online

When the Internet was just a baby, basic, specialist and largely free-for-all newsgroups made up most online communities. They were difficult to access and understand. Website managers had few opportunities to explore their site's community potential, less advanced technology at their disposal and fewer resources for understanding how community might be employed. Websites were not that sophisticated either. Businesses weren't able to reach out to their target audience as readily, much less truly promoting an online business. Community building was at best hampered and at worse simply diluted by the Internet's limitations.

Sea Change

Things have changed!

Website managers and users increasingly understand what community is and what it offers. Internet communities are now commonly given high profile on websites and used to leverage value - anything and everything from handling complaints to building up subscriber numbers. A strand of professional community producers has developed, alongside trained facilitators (also known as moderators) who support the community. They're producing well-trafficked and viable online communities, as safe, valued and convenient as their offline counterparts.

Businesses are increasingly using all manner of community-focused tools to build relationships with clients and allow them to build relationships with one another: entrepreneurs old and new can really cash in from such communities. Still, for many people, the idea of building online communities is a non-starter. Many new entrepreneurs ignore the value of online communities at their peril. After all, having a decent website, let alone building a great online community just isn't that high on a small business' priority list. Also many simply don't know how to go about it.

Killer App

With over 400 million Internet users, building online relationships and communities could be that killer application. But there are many great reasons for creating an online community. Maybe you want an online version of your existing offline community or maybe you want to create a new internet-only community. Or maybe you want to bring together all of your clients and customers in one place.

Providing a viable, safe and dynamic place for your clients and potential clients to share, tells them you CARE about what they have to say and that you VALUE them. And this has real mileage: you'll stand out from the crowd with extra selling points compared to your competitors. You'll develop a reputation that people will regard highly, remember and recommend to others. Building an online community could seriously impact on the success or otherwise of your idea.

Online What?

Don't fall into the trap of 'if I build it, they will come'. Having a chat room or message board on your site is, in itself, not enough to build community. To truly create a community your participants should:

feel they have reason to belong to it - maybe they're interested in wood carvings and came across your community of like-minded enthusiasts on your Carvings Are Us! company website, andfeel that by belonging to it their needs are accommodated - like picking up some excellent advice on the subtleties of wood carving design.

Key tools to help build your online community include:

Polls: users submit their "vote" on topics on the site. Polls are a great way to gain feedback, but they don't allow members to share any thoughts behind their vote.

Chat: chat rooms can provide an excellent place for real-time exchange - for anything from technical support to just casual chit-chat. If you do add a chat room make sure you have a good mix of free-flow and structured chat for your users.

Message Boards: another venue for members to exchange ideas and comments that can become excellent information banks. Unlike real-time communities, you have more control of the content. Choose a message board which best reflects the structure of your site. And use consistent labels and groupings to achieve the best fit.

Mailing List: a great way for you to communicate with your members without having to add community components directly to your site. It's also a cool way to test the community waters, as members can share their ideas with one another via e-mail.

Whatever tools you use should be integrated into your site to maximize its interaction and value. Make sure you explore all the options on offer to find the best mix for you and your idea.

Building community requires heart, a nurturing understanding and bags of energy. For your online community to have value and be appreciated, your users must feel they contribute, that they are involved, and, above all, are appreciated.

So exactly what does online community building mean and what does it take to make a community successful? It's all about 'stickiness': repeat visits and an active membership depends on it. Site stickiness is crucial, especially for a small business, as you've invested a great deal of time, energy and money in your site. Every penny counts, so the last thing you want is to have a site that no one uses. Adding community can give your site features that will encourage repeat visits. People like to see responses to their ideas and suggestions, and by providing the venue they will return.

Party, Party!!

Worried about what an online community for your idea might actually be like? Well, it isn't really any different from hosting a party. When you go to a party, the host welcomes you, introduces you to some of the other guests and serves you food and drink. Great!! Basically, the host makes sure your needs are met, you are enjoying yourself and feel real comfortable.

Building your own online community is not so different. You need to give a similar level of attention to your users as you would to guests at your party. Your users should be greeted when they join your community, made to feel comfortable and a part of what's going on. They need to feel involved. And you need to continue this throughout their visit.

Getting that Community Ball Rolling

As you mill around that party, you discover other interesting guests to talk to. Some of them have similar likes and loves as you. Brilliant! The starting point of many conversations is often 'how come you're at this party', or an invitation to join in the conversation.

The same holds true in your online community - make sure you provide interesting topics and questions to your users to act as a catalyst for chat. New users should be welcomed and invited to share something of themselves. Your moderators (if not you) should make themselves known and act as guides to the conversations, assisting with questions and encouraging interaction. Articles that spur conversation should be linked to the topics of your boards or chat room.

Seed, Feed, Weed...

Community management is like gardening - you need to seed conversation, feed interaction and weed out the dead wood! And it's your moderator who makes sure things run smoothly. They are responsible for maintaining content, upholding site guidelines, guiding users and stimulating conversation. Your moderator needs to be a great receptionist, a knowledgeable manager and a top communicator all in one. They're on the frontline of your business and need to be equipped as such. To your visitors, they ARE you and your idea.

Get it Right, First Time

So how do you make sure you hit the mark straight away? Focus on providing the services your community needs, using the best tools to meet the task, and back this up with personality and energy, and your online community has the potential to thrive. Do your research by asking what it is you want your community to achieve for itself and for you, what you'll need to fulfill that, and never hesitate to contact professional community builders. Also, ask for feedback, as your users ultimately decide how much and in what direction your community develops. After all, your users can steer extra traffic to your site through recommendations, making your community sustainable.

Some forms of online community are more appropriate for some businesses and not for others. Take a look at your clients and, given what you know about them and their needs, think of what community components "fit" with them. For example, conservative solicitors are hardly likely to take part in an online chat event, but they might feel infinitely more comfortable taking part in a message board. Conversely, if you're running a health-focused biz, users want to 'speak' in real time to you and others about their experiences, so a chat event might be good. Think of your users, their needs and constraints, and what makes them get involved. Is the immediacy and spontaneity of a chat room better than a more passive message board? Does your idea lend itself to a particular kind of community involvement? You can only build the right community once. With planning, you can build an online community where people will come and want to contribute. Traffic will develop, sales increase and your presence become stronger just because you cared enough to provide your clients with a place to communicate and interact. By building your very own online community to support your idea, your idea can survive and thrive. The rewards for getting it right can be immense and pleasing for your mind, your wallet and your heart.

Copyright 2003, Pam Thomas & Jon Nix

Pam Thomas and Jon Nix are co-founders of CornerWays, an Internet production company providing quality online community building and design services. CornerWays can help you shape your corner of the online world through dynamic, personalised Internet solutions.

Find more articles like this at http://www.Solo-E.com - Keeping Solo Entrepreneurs Juiced in Business and in Life. Our team of Solo Entrepreneurs are comprised of small business experts who support others in finding business success with the flexibility and freedom to have a life, too. Network with other freelancers, self-employed and Solo Entrepreneurs in our forums, enjoy our articles and newsletter, and find other online training opportunities.


MORE RESOURCES:
Internet and Businesses Online:Internet Marketing Articles from EzineArticles.com
01/16/2018 09:30 AM
Is Internet Marketing Truly Passive Income?
Internet marketing can be passive income if you utilize the strategy with the least work. How to decide which internet marketing business is right for you.
01/16/2018 08:32 AM
What the Top SEO Companies Should Be Offering in the New Year
Choosing a top SEO company to assist you with your online marketing campaign is probably one of the best decisions that you can make for your business. You don't have the time to focus on your search ensign optimization campaign. It takes hours out of your day, time you could be spending on other important aspects of your busies moving forward.
01/16/2018 08:31 AM
Essential Services Provided by the Top SEO Companies
So you're thinking of hiring the services of a top SEO company, but you aren't exactly sure what services they should be providing you with and you want to ensure that you make the right decision so that you are assured of online success moving forward. One of the main services provided by the top SEO companies is search engine optimization.
01/16/2018 08:30 AM
Tips to Finding a Top SEO Company for Your Business Online Marketing Campaign
Carrying out your own search engine optimization takes a lot of time, energy and dedication. Not everyone has time on their hand to waste trying to keep up to date with their online marketing campaign and often hiring the services of a top SEO company can actually save you money in the long run.
01/15/2018 09:27 AM
How To Boost Amazon Sales Using The Power Of Customer Reviews
If you shop online or if you've ever made a purchase on Amazon, then chances are that customer reviews might have played a great role in your decision making process. Customer reviews have the power to boost your sales on Amazon considerably, and you can achieve this without spending any additional amount on publicity.
01/15/2018 09:27 AM
What Encourages People To Buy On Amazon?
Every seller who is struggling on Amazon wants to know the answer to this question. After all, if you make out how to encourage people to buy your products on Amazon, then you should have no trouble boosting your sales, which is the main goal. The golden rule is to offer people what they want, because that is what they will pay out for.
01/12/2018 10:06 AM
Evaluating Your Brand Inside and Out
This article offers solutions to some of the most common problems I'm seeing in my client's businesses in their perceived image and operations. First, you will evaluate your business as objectively as possible. Then, do adequate market research. And lastly, adjust your business and close more effectively!
01/12/2018 09:46 AM
Why Are GIFs Important and How to Use Them
GIFs are animated images that have existed for more than 25 years; but their use has become widespread in the last two to three years. Many of us might be even making GIFs for Facebook and other social media or messaging platforms for personal use.
01/12/2018 09:30 AM
A Guide to Hiring an Amazon SEO Company
On Amazon, an excellent quality SEO service can provide relevant and consistent traffic to your product listing. This guide will allow you to distinguish between good and bad Amazon SEO companies. There are lots of both types, and this guide should help you to find the most excellent Amazon SEO Company. Amazon SEO needs to be realized in a way that is effective in achieving your SEO goals and providing that all significant presence on Amazon.
01/12/2018 08:09 AM
How to Win at Internet Marketing
There are many ways to define marketing and most often not two people will define it the same. Internet marketing is a process whereby one creates, discusses, and then delivers services and products through the internet. The easiest way to think of it is when you expose a service or a product that is on offer. Many people claim that all that leads to sales is a part of the marketing process.
01/11/2018 10:13 AM
Improving Your B2B Marketing Methods
Generating and nurturing leads in business to business marketing, or B2B marketing as most would call it, is never easy. Every veteran sales team and lead generation marketing agency worth their salt knows that.
01/11/2018 10:06 AM
Identifying and Removing Bad Backlinks for A Better and Performing Website
Going through your backlink profile on a regular basis is very important as it helps to identify potentially harmful links soon. Once the bad links are identified, it's time to remove them and save your website from any sort of penalty.
01/11/2018 09:59 AM
How Amazon Marketing Services Can Help Benefit Sellers
When it comes to the part of fees involved in internet marketing, Amazon can be considered ahead of the competition, since it offers maximum convenience to the internet marketer. Amazon takes charge when it comes to the collection of payment from its customers. The amount which you bring in from every sale will then be transferred to an account which you provide them with.
01/11/2018 08:25 AM
5 Ways To Kick-Start Some Life Into Your Online Business
Here are 5 internet business tools that are easy to set up, cost little or no money and will add life to your online marketing. Which ones will use to kick start your business?
01/10/2018 09:18 AM
Brief Discussion About Affiliate Tracking, Its Objectives, Methods, Benefits, and Uses
The objective of affiliate programs is to increase traffic, boost sales. Affiliate marketing is known as a popular marketing practice. In recent times, many affiliate programs came into existence that help web marketers and businesses to sell products or services to potential customers on a commission basis. There are software tools (affiliate marketing and tracking) that help to generate web traffic, get more sales and hence save money. Many affiliate marketing tools are money-saving and offer the users a powerful marketing strategy. The affiliate tracking tools offer the user to track the host's browser details, IP address. This feature of affiliate tracking is to attract quality customers for business purposes.
01/09/2018 04:03 PM
How To Manage Website Content When You're Always Busy
If you have a website or a blog, posting fresh content is likely to take up a lot of your time. But do you often feel that you have no time to write new content?
01/09/2018 11:30 AM
Where Does Brand Building End And Lead Generation Begin?
You can read this article to understand Where Does Brand Building End And Lead Generation Begin? Check out the areas in which the B2B marketer has to be able to clearly differentiate between brand building and B2B lead generation.
01/09/2018 09:23 AM
5 Ways How a Digital Media Agency Is Paramount for Online Business
For online people, acquiring the help from a digital media company is becoming like water in the desert. The need to hire these professionals is becoming indispensable and important to survive in a world where everything is accessed via a network or can say internet.
01/09/2018 08:59 AM
Keyword Permutations - A Google Maccabees Update
There is currently a lot of chatter on all the sites due to the latest Google Maccabees Update. According to reports this update mainly hits affiliate sites, some are saying this was precise to sites with various categories and sub-categories like e-commerce structures, some are saying it is a bug with the algorithm showing deprived class sites over superior quality sites.
01/08/2018 04:05 PM
Do It Yourself Internet Marketing (5 Tools To Get Started)
Internet marketing is a powerful way to build any type of business. Here are the 5 key elements to get started.
01/08/2018 11:14 AM
The App Store Optimization Checklist - Top 5 Tips
App Store optimization plan in mind? Read on to dive straight into some relevant App Store optimization plan checklist.
01/08/2018 10:15 AM
How to Make Money Selling On Amazon
You might be interested in learning how to make money selling on Amazon and earn commissions for your sincere efforts. There are many internet marketers who are earning good revenue due to the rising popularity of the internet and online shopping. Identifying how to make money selling on Amazon can lead to a flourishing internet business. Here, I will mention some supportive tips that can help you achieve this all together.
01/08/2018 10:05 AM
Top Explosive Content Marketing Trends for 2018
Over the past few years, we've seen a sound rise in the results that brands are getting serious for content marketing. This is largely factual across industries that day by day it is becoming clearer that whether you sell business software, clothes or any other item you've to take the help of the content marketing thing or be left far behind in the marketing race.
01/08/2018 08:43 AM
The Importance of Testing Your Landing Pages
Marketing automation software allows you to cost effectively test your lead generation pages. Saving you time, money and helping to convert more leads to sales.
01/03/2018 12:13 PM
Top 3 Benefits of CPA Marketing
For the website or blog owner that is looking to monetize their online presence, but prefers to avoid selling products or generate the high volume of traffic needed for PPC advertising, the cost per acquisition (CPA) marketing options can make a very attractive alternative. In these programs, the payouts to affiliates are based on getting your site visitors to perform a specific action in exchange for a small commission.
01/03/2018 09:46 AM
How to Boost Your Sales on Amazon
Amazon is widely recognized as the most powerful online retail portal in the e-commerce market. On Amazon, you can discover a huge number of different sellers, millions of quality products, and a wonderful earning opportunity. Some sellers do not know the most resourceful ways on how to rank at a higher position on Amazon. You can boost your sales on Amazon, only if you apply the most excellent ways in terms of Amazon SEO tactics to sell your products.
01/02/2018 10:15 AM
Why Do You Need The Services Of An Amazon SEO Company?
In the recent years, the growth of the internet has been very fast and has evidently brought about many changes. This is definitely true when we look at the world of online business. Huge companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google owe their survival to the internet and have been able to develop with it. Because of their online presence, many businesses have been able to grow and generate substantial profits. As a result, they have been able to expand more to the customers.
12/29/2017 09:25 AM
Major Activities Performed By a Digital Marketing Company
The traditional word "marketing" is defined as a process of communication between the audience and the prospective company that is selling the products. This method was incorporated to aware customers about the product or services and to enrich their knowledge towards a particular brand in a positive demeanour.
12/29/2017 09:19 AM
Going Smaller With Lead Generation This 2018?
There are only a few days left before 2017 finally comes to a close. You might have noticed that there are a lot of articles-more so than usual anyway--about incoming marketing trends and methods for 2018, some of which may include B2B marketing and lead generation.
12/28/2017 11:36 AM
Selecting Online Content Marketing Service Providers Made Easy
Content marketing rules the roost today which many online content marketing service providers avoid and face failures. Get to know the four truths about a content marketing agency. Explore more now!
12/28/2017 09:51 AM
Why Is Custom WordPress Development So Important?
WordPress is one of the most popular open source content management systems and is widely used for building feature-rich and easy to manage websites and blogs. Its user-friendliness, scalability, and flexibility have made it the hot favorite platform of millions of business owners as well as website developers. Cost-effectiveness is another reason why WordPress is so popular for website development these days.
12/27/2017 09:57 AM
5 Common Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make
Most online entrepreneurs sabotage their success because they don't follow through with a daily action plan. Don't let inactivity destroy your online marketing success.
12/26/2017 08:05 AM
Internet Marketing - Why You Should Be Focusing On An Audience Instead Of Money
Trying to make money online may help you pay a few bills, but building an audience will allow you to enjoy financial freedom. Read on...
12/21/2017 09:06 AM
Your 2018 Digital Marketing Resolution Guide
It's that time of the year again... As we reflect on 2017's hits (and sometimes misses!), we long with enthusiasm for 2018 and the new challenges it will bring our way. What lies ahead for us marketers and brand experts in these upcoming months? How will we step ahead of the curve, in order to reach and engage with tomorrow's consumer?
12/21/2017 08:06 AM
What Is A Niche Market? 7 Things To Consider
Are you considering having a website or blog to make some money online? That's an awesome decision and there's quite a bit to it if you really want to pay some bills and put food on the table and some gas in the car. The first thing to do is to choose a niche for your new website prior to entering the online marketplace. Your site will be in a "niche market" and there are a few things to consider.
12/20/2017 12:23 PM
Improve User Experience With AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
AMP can make your WordPress website load faster on smartphones, resulting in a great user experience, increased traffic and improved search rankings. This post highlights how you can create AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in WordPress.
12/19/2017 10:58 AM
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is advertising messages delivered through online channels such as websites, mobile apps, search engines, social media and emails. It helps a brand generate interest in their products among their consumers.
12/19/2017 09:35 AM
Millennials' Shopping Habits Are Hinged On Online Influencers
Actress Sofia Vergara or makeup vlogger Yuya? Athlete David Beckham or Minecraft master DanTDM? Millennials would choose the YouTubers hands down as their key persons of influence. A new study from affiliate marketing company Affilinet shows that millennial shoppers are more likely to buy a product that has been promoted by a YouTuber, blogger or Instagrammer than a TV celebrity.
12/16/2017 10:16 AM
What You Want When Choosing an Internet Marketing Firm
You will soon find that managing your online marketing, your search engine optimization campaign and managing your social media can be quite a time consuming task, taking you or one of your valuable resources away from other important duties that need completing. It is often best to hire the services of internet marketing firms who can handle your entire online presence, ensuring that you are pushed to the forefront of search results, helping you reach your audience and driving more traffic to your site to help you achieve online success.
12/14/2017 12:35 PM
4 Amazing Inbound Lead Generation Strategies
Want to know about some relevant inbound lead generation techniques? Do nothing, read on and dish out some meaningful information right away!
12/14/2017 08:23 AM
How To Make Money Online Today - The Basic Process
Have you thought about trying to find a way to stay home and earn a living from your home base and be your own boss? Couldn't that help with any number of things like child care, gas expense, rush hour driving hazards, and more. Well there are many work at home jobs available today and you can simply ask Google search "Your Skill - work from home" and find many. There is another way that can be so much more rewarding and many are finding financial independence by it. Learning the process of how money is made on the internet and also how to create your own online website property and business has many accepting that challenge and in return creating a stay at home situation for themselves and there are many earning a full time income and more. This article shows the basic process of how to make money online today.
12/14/2017 08:22 AM
Why to Maintain a Virtual Presence With an ORM Company
A negative comment or feedback on an online business profile is likely to sabotage its image in the market. For any leading enterprise, its image is of utmost importance. In the world of digitalization, people are becoming more cautious prior to acquiring help from the third parties.
12/13/2017 09:30 AM
Top Basic Guides for App Store Optimization
Whenever you are going to choose the proper tricks to generate traffics on the contents, you can surf the internet easily. When this actually comes to the success of the digital marketing and even finding new clients through the web, keyword optimisation is one of the most significant tools you can bet on.
12/12/2017 08:18 AM
How The Majority of Us Search Online And Why It Matters To Your Business
One would think from current headlines that the entire world has thrown their old laptop/desktop into the recycle bin, but that is not what user statistics actually reveal. Google says their platform is now used for searches about 60% of the time from mobile devices in the US. However, this is not the end of the story.
12/11/2017 04:13 PM
Farming in the Digital Age
The internet can be used by businesses to promote company products. Farmers have learned that a website with a blog can be used to inform customers and to reach new people by visually telling the story of their farms and their products.
12/11/2017 03:28 PM
Performance of Digital Marketing in Egypt in 2017
On a journey to fully discover the digital sphere in Egypt, we explore all avenues and to conduct a set of consecutive studies and reports. It can be safely estimated that there are more than 50 million internet users in Egypt; this means about 55% penetration rate to the population in Egypt. 36% of the total Egyptian population is Facebook users "33 Million Facebook users in Egypt".
12/11/2017 10:18 AM
Facebook and Google Comparison Including Benefits
Learn the differences between Facebook and Google. Which advertising medium is right for you? Which one has the easiest ad placement and is a more effective marketing platform for your products?
12/11/2017 08:08 AM
Deck Out Your Business Website and Social Media in Holiday Style
This is a great time to highlight your website, your branding and social media with festive Holiday displays. There are all kinds of things you can do, with the Holidays. Create nice new banners, decorate your website in a Holiday motif and maybe run a Holiday contest? Also, don't forget to reach out to all clients, new and former ones to wish them the best during this joyous time. Be sure to put on your Holiday marketing hats and not let the time go by.
12/08/2017 02:46 PM
Digital Marketing: Basic Strategies Every Beginner Must Know
Digital marketing refers to the usage of online advertising tools to project products and services to potential customers. Digital Marketing has become a key component of the marketing strategy of most companies today, because as much as a third of the world's population now spends time online. Digital marketing provides advantages that were previously unprecedented. With over 2 billion people having an active online presence, online marketing provides an incredible outreach. Also, most social platforms provide their services for free, making them very cost-effective. People also tend to prefer an online marketing approach because of its personal touch and interactive nature. With these features, online advertising provides opportunities that traditional marketing hardly can; and even if it could, it would be a financial and logistical nightmare.
12/07/2017 09:57 PM
5 Ways To Make Money With Your Website
I guess that many will always be tempted by Get Rich Quick ads but let us not be tempted anymore. Once you learn the ins and outs of making money online you'll see a phony offer a mile away. As a matter of fact you'll learn how to earn online and have the opportunity to help others in some way through your website and internet knowledge and generate a nice income along the way. In this article we'll look at 5 ways to make money with your website and look at some of the ways to make a real income online.


home | site map |