Sales Increase With Web 2.0
Director, Strategic Marketing
Web 2.0 is here to stay. The technologies of the perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosting services are in their beginning stages yet have the power to transform organizations. A very intriguing aspect of Web 2.0 is that it can be used to allow companies to get closer to their customers during the selling cycle. So despite the fact that it has appealed to a young crowd, Web 2.0 may make its greatest impact in the business world by helping to increase sales. More specifically, if Web 2.0 is used strategically, effective lead generation can occur.
Traditional means of lead generation include speaking at seminars, hosting an event, cold calling, providing free reports and creating press. While these are still valid ways to obtain potential customers, these can now be complemented with Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds or wikis. A blog, for example, allows potential customers to come to a corporate site and learn more about the product or service. It can, also, help generate a community of people with the same interests. As shoppers come back to the website, further knowledge is gained and more purchases can be made. Currently 35% of software marketers, in a recent study, rated blogs as an effective tool in fostering interest in their product.
After people listen to a speaker or attend an event, they often seek more information by going to the company's website. Sophisticated corporations disseminate detailed information through free reports which can either be downloaded or viewed from the site. Reports can now be delivered through podcasting. By either listening to an audio clip or watching a video versus reading a piece of literature, potential customers are more engaged and can learn through a more interesting format.
Many companies still cold-call attendees of a past event with a hard sales pitch. The salesperson is considered to be successful if he or she obtains permission to mail a report or article touting the company's product or service. This can be expensive and time consuming and, often, irritates a viable customer. If the company, however, has a podcast on their website, users can check out the material at their leisure and learn more at their own pace, at their chosen time.
RSS (Really Simply Syndication) feeds, another Web 2.0 technology, can be used in pushing company information to the desktops of a possible customer. By allowing interested parties to subscribe to RSS feeds from various sites, the latest headlines are compiled in one place and content of interest can be accessed through a single click. Using RSS is an opportunity to send marketing messages to drive recipients into a purchasing decision. Since recipients requested this type of information through a subscription, both push and pull marketing tactics are being used easily and cheaply.
When cultivating qualified leads, companies need to have a strong handle on the customer characteristics as well as the competition's strengths and weaknesses. This type of information is useful for several roles including Product Management, Public Relations, and Sales. Coordinated decision-making can occur if this data is collected and then shared through a wiki. Additionally, when this collaborative software tool which allows users to edit, create and link web pages is used, the wisdom of many comes into play. Suddenly, an organization can have the knowledge to better target its audience whether it's through improved product features, a hard hitting press release or fine-tuned selling tactics.
Tapping into all of the Web 2.0 technologies can give a company a leading edge. In the same way that the personal computer revolutionized the way that companies do business, Web 2.0 is poised to make equally radical and impacting shifts. Already, companies such as Disney, IBM and Volkswagen are incorporating Web 2.0 to their business. These simple tools that allow collaboration can be a means to increase sales when used effectively with traditional forms of lead generation.
About the author
- M. Rath (firstname.lastname@example.org) is on the Board of Directors for Beaver Creek Consulting Corp. She has over 15 years of experience in Strategic Marketing which includes Product Management, Marketing Communications and Sales.
Last Update: 20080118