Ah, the wisdom of the crowd. It can help companies (attracting new customers) — and it can also hurt them (those pesky negative reviews on sites like Yelp). So how can your business harness the power of the crowd for good? Dozens of business owners and executives and marketing experts offer the following top seven suggestions for how to effectively use crowdsourcing.
1. Use the crowd to expand your graphic and Web design pool/options. "Crowdsourcing graphic [and Web] design work can help a business get a wider variety of looks than simply working with one designer," says Kevin Jordan, the owner of Redpoint Marketing Consultants.
You can even use your customers and followers to help with specific design projects.
"This year, SCOTTEVEST crowdsourced our holiday card," says Scott Jordan, founder and CEO, SCOTTEVEST. "We reached out to our customers and followers via newsletters and social media channels to crowdsource our 2013 holiday card. We offered $500 cash or $1,000 in SCOTTEVEST products to whoever could Photoshop the best holiday card for us," he says.
"This was beneficial in many ways. We encouraged entrants to look through our website for photos to use in the card, getting them more familiar and aware of our broad product selection, and we came up with a LOT of content from the entries to post throughout the week," Jordan says. Not only did crowdsourcing help SCOTTEVEST create a great holiday card, the process endeared the company to its customers.
2. Crowdsource your marketing/advertising photography. "We use a photo collection tool that allows customers to upload their own photos of themselves wearing SCOTTEVEST products onto the product page of our website," says Jordan. "This makes them feel like one of our models, as we then feature them on the product page to show off that item," he says.
"It also makes potential customers more comfortable with our products, seeing them in average sizes on real people," Jordan says. Moreover, the company "save[s] money on photo shoots and models while our current and potential customers get to be a part of the brand."
3. Crowdsource new product development."Crowdsourcing (and Kickstarter) is a lean startup founder's dream because it allows you to do development and build a fan base before ever investing in a physical product," says Ricky Choi, cofounder, Nice Laundry, which sells and recycles socks.
"We wanted validation that people would actually buy what we were selling. Additionally, we were able to establish exactly what demand looked like: We knew how many socks people wanted and the distribution of the various patterns we offered," Choi says. The result? "The campaign broke a fashion Kickstarter opening day record and generated over $120,000 in four weeks from over 2,000 customers, proving there was something special about our idea."
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