Build a Community with Wikis, Weblogs, and other Forums

Weblogs (blogs), wikis, forums (bulletin boards), email discussions, and online chats are all options. There are many options, including Weblogs (blogs), Wikis, Forums (bulletin boards), Email Discussions, and Online Chats. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

Forums allow any registered user to start a topic, and others can respond. Wikis will enable the community to add, edit, and delete content as part of a collaborative effort. (HTM0_ Wikipedia is a well-known and large example of wikis that are done well.

Blogs allow bloggers to control the conversation by posting the topic, while customers and others can respond via comments or trackback. The original posting can only be modified by the author. BzzAgent opens its doors to visitors through its Belog blog. These topics include the hiring process, where the new employee introduces herself and writes about her first day with the company. Marqui not only has its blog but also runs a program where other bloggers are invited to write about it.

AbsoluteWrite, AWAI, and AbsoluteWrite use forums. Both forums cover writing discussions, where writers give each other advice, feedback, and market information. The AWAI forums are populated by students who take its courses. They often share their drafts, ask for study buddies, and discuss assignments.

Each of these communities has success stories. But how can you decide which tools are best for your business?

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This Week’s Problem

Creating a community of customers

We are the new version of an old analytical instrument company. We have a small group of customers, mostly chemists or other scientists. I like the idea that a web-based platform can be used to exchange information and develop relationships with clients and prospects. But I’m not sure if a blog format, forum format, or wiki format would be better, given the size of the community. How do you decide which format to choose for your community?

Previous Dilemma

Combining marketing tools

I am a manager in a high-tech company that creates marketing materials for hundreds of business products. What are the best marketing tools to use in a sales cycle, particularly when selling other businesses? How can a company determine the best format for collateral to use in a particular activity or when targeting specific decision-makers?

Summary of Advice Received

Before you decide which marketing tool is best, remember that B2B marketing is successful when businesspeople buy because they believe that the perceived Value will be applicable to them. They also trust that it is coming from a reliable company. The four points that this mantra emphasizes are reflected in our responses:

  1. Earn your Trust.
  2. Show Value
  3. Establish relevancy.
  4. Demonstrate stability.

After you have understood this concept, decide how it fits into each of your projects. This will help you determine which format of collateral works best. You’ll see a chart below that is based on the information provided by our readers. It lists specific marketing vehicles for different situations. We hope that this chart will help you make a decision!

1. Earn Trust

These four steps will help you build Trust in your customers’ eyes.

  • Know your customer.
  • Be sure to use a reliable source.
  • Speak with integrity.
  • Create a community.

Understanding your customers’ problems will help you to solve them. Trust is built when you allow your customers to close the gap. Why should they trust what you have to say? Credibility is key. You can demonstrate your industry knowledge by offering the expertise of your company or industry experts.

Spam and phishing have left a hole in the marketing armor. Companies with integrity are able to show their honesty through both their words and actions. This column is dependent on the MarketingProfs Community. The answers provided to readers by just two authors would be very limited. You can get multiple perspectives by involving the entire community.

2. Show Value

Be sure to focus your marketing efforts on your customers and not yourself. Your customers aren’t interested in the stock price. Your customers don’t mind if you hire someone new. They don’t mind if you get a large client. Such things are only of interest to your stockholders.

You can solve a customer’s problem. You can help your customers by saving them time, keeping them informed, and educating them.

3. Establish relevancy

Know thy client continues to be the mantra. How do you think your darts game will go if you play with a blindfold on? Knowing your target and their interests will increase your chances of scoring well.

It may be a good idea to sell tea if you are selling a product that is related to coffee. You’ll have a better chance of success if you sell coffee grinders and mugs as well as coffee makers or even a coffee book. If you try to market soda to the same audience, you will be in serious trouble unless your store is a coffee and soda shop.

Lesson: The marketing vehicle must be relevant to users’ needs and wants. Decide how you will solve their problems.

4. Demonstrate stability

Stability has become a concern after many Internet-related companies crash and as more companies continue to merge. Who wants to purchase a product if the manufacturer is going out of business? And who will be there to assist with repairs if something goes wrong? In the same way that a company builds Trust, its actions can demonstrate its stability.

Implementing Strategy

The hard part is now. How can a marketer put this four-pronged approach into practice? Pay attention to which marketing tool is most suitable. Marketing materials that incorporate this mantra in the sales cycle are successful.

The steps in a business-to-business sales cycle can help you move from prospect to customer. The table below aligns each step of the sales cycle to a marketing activity. Each marketing campaign must include at least one of the four points in our mantra.

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