Small companies want to seem bigger and more successful than they really are. They’re very good at making a little money go a long way and the web really helps. A research project carried out this year in partnership between Brunel University and Howtodobusiness.com has talked to early adopters about how they have been using web 2.0 techniques to punch above their weight.
Web 2.0 means using interactive on-line techniques such as those in the diagram to engage more closely with your customers while re-publishing your ideas in more than 1 place and combining information from more than one source in one place – what we call aggregation.
Our early adopters recognise that marketing is about creating a good story that connects you with your customers and telling it in the right places. They seem to have grasped the 3 key facts about the internet
You need to appear to be everywhere to your customers
You need to create your promotional materials using the terms that people instinctively use to find you
The more you systematically network yourself, the more channels to market you create.
The most interesting group are those who have applied these techniques to running “normal” businesses – lawyers, technical authors and financial advisers.
They are accomplished face to face networkers but they use written materials – books, factsheets, training materials – judiciously positioned and widely available to boost credibility.
They use keywords systematically and have learned techniques like RSS (really simple syndication) to create material once and then link it to multiple places on the web.
Finally they collaborate to get referrals. Testimonials and advocates are much more convincing to the potential customer than anything you might say yourself. The trust to allow this to happen comes from conversation – both on-line and off-line.
But the most interesting thing of all is how individuals – often 1 man bands in their second or third careers – use web 2.0 online collaboration to bootstrap their own knowledge – a process denied to their corporate counterparts by the IT department and the rigours of corporate behaviour. This lets them stay small and flexible so they can avoid going back to the official world that they’ve left.