Friday, 7 December 2007

Small Businesses & Web 2.0

Alan Meckler posted yesterday about the over-hyping of Web 2.0 citing a good story on about how small business owners need to have clear ROI before engaging in blogging, wikis, social networking, etc.

The report covered in the article says that these small business owners are twice as likely to care about e-mail newsletters and having quizzes and calculators on their site rather than blogs or wikis or social networking.

I will need to read the report to see if the businesses rely on internet marketing or if their web site and internet marketing are not core.

We're forming our 2008 marketing plan at Advisen and determining exactly where some Web 2.0 products could help. Our goals are to deliver great content to new and existing readers and to drive them to consider the premium product as well to deliver a higher level of customer service by informing our clients about new information and analysis that is relevant to their book of business. We want to do this with technology versus more staff.

Advisen's #1 marketing tool is a series of vertical e-mail newsletters and Advisen has had great marketing success with topical surveys so we have some of the "web 1.0" bases covered.

In terms of web 2.0, I started this blog in large part to learn how blogging has helped other businesses and to show our team that it is not too difficult. We launched one in 2004 that covered the Spitzer investigations into the insurance industry and I'm very pleased to see that our developers have installed new software and that we will launch a new blog soon, likely to cover the developing subprime story for commercial insurance professionals.

I'm particularly delighted that they built the blog into the navigation like our newsletter so that with the first release of the blog we will not only show in natural search engine resuls but also drive interest in our premium subscription offering.

If I've learned anything from Alan it's that you can't be all things to all people, small businesses can become bigger businesses by publishing vertical content. We are betting that social media can generate additional vertical content and help achieve our goals for growth and a higher level of service to premium customers.

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