Monday, July 16, 2007

Top 4 useful services websites should use (Neilsen)

Interestingly, three of these are commonly used (request marketing is a new one).

Newsletters' success are based on the fact most people use the web for email rather than anything else.

Discussion groups are another need - community, which is why tagging and social networks are on the rise (and will continue so). Means there needs to be more study of this area as far as SEO, as search engines also are following the tagging phenomenon.

Affiliate programs are poorly defined below, but work because they go between various niches. (See Tipping Point.) They are the corner market on your block (read: strip mall), not the super Wal-Mart on the other side of town. They stock what you want and need, not what sells well to the majority of their customers.

All of these argue, as Neilsen does in this article, that search engines may be overrated for their use. In the Long Tail, we should be utilizing more custom-based services. Interestingly, when I've chased down a couple of people who are making a success at article marketing (as well as some high-profile names in other industries), they are selling medium to high-priced coaching as well as smallish seminars to make the majority of their money. Custom work and attention, hand-holding as a service. Traditionally, custom work has always paid best (commissioned artwork, for instance, as opposed to commercial art).

Search Engines as Leeches on the Web (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox): "
# Email newsletters. Getting people to sign up for regular newsletters remains the ultimate way to maintain a relationship. As usability studies show, a newsletter has much more of an emotional impact on people than a brief visit to a website.
# Request marketing. Have users tell you what they want, and then alert them when you have it.
# Discussion groups and other community features. Find ways to recognize particularly active members and thus further connect them to your site. Such recognition might be as simple as placing gold stars on their profiles or might include more substantial loyal-user benefits.
# Affiliate programs. These are alliances with other sites that promote your services to their users in return for a referral fee if their users do business with you. The program works best if the referring site can honestly recommend the destination site to its own target audience. So, even though you have to pay them a cut, the cost isn't boundless the way it is on search engines because you're not competing with all other sites in the world for the right to be listed. If you're the best match for the referring site's audience, they'll want you -- rather than simply whoever offers the highest fee -- because your conversion rate will be better. (In an earlier column, I offer an example in which sales differed drastically depending"
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