Tag Archives: Content

How Do You Monetize a New Venture? Eleven Suggestions

Situation: An entrepreneur has created a new business offering a critical service but struggles with how to monetize it. The primary clients don’t have the resources to fund it viably. What alternative sources of funds or revenue can be found? How do you monetize a new venture?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The venture’s brand name must carry the message – the name must describe the mission.
  • One of the core messages is reciprocity. Reinforce this theme all over the site.
  • Testimonials are critical. Testimonial videos of real users personalize the experience. These drive participant acquisition and contributions.
  • Make participants feel like they are a part of a community.
    • Consider a variety of landing pages – same database but different doors of entry.
    • Encourage even more communication within specific target communities.
  • Look at MySpace vs. Facebook to guide the model:
    • MySpace was already big when Facebook launched.
    • Facebook exploded by making itself a more closed community – all exclusive colleges and Universities.
    • Monetize via donation or advertising vs. subscription. Fees could kill the opportunity. Too many other resources are available for free.
  • The key appeal is enabling people to do something that makes them feel good.
    • Post stories from those who have succeeded as a result of the platform, as well as those who have helped on the site. This will inspire others to participate.
  • How do you recruit new participants?
    • Some CEOs joined LinkedIn because of peer pressure – after enough people asked them to join, they did.
    • Install a template to encourage people to invite new participants – allow new participants to tell their story and the need that the service fulfills for them.
  • Consider adding premium content to the site, but only for those who have made contributions – monetary or in-kind.
  • Consider Fremium to Premium. In the Fremium model include a banner ad for users, like a university Training Institute.
  • Consider creating an advice network. Post questions and ask for answers from the community. Include an option to click to become a contributing participant.
  • Online there are eyeballs vs. action – the action is what matters.

Where Should You Focus – Eyeballs or Dollars? Six Thoughts

Situation: A company sells personalized content as well as a tool kit. The long-term plan is to monetize storage of personalized content. When they speak to venture capitalists, the VCs advise them to focus on just building their user base and not to worry about revenue.  What would you do? Where should you focus – eyeballs or dollars?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Take advice from venture capitalists with a grain of salt. Remember that their game is to fund companies that they like incrementally, taking a greater share of ownership of the company with each increment in funding. The more you lack revenue, the more you’re dependent upon them.
  • Gain traction by offering free content with up-sell opportunities for premium access.
  • The give-away strategy is a great model to build your initial user audience. Consider micropayment options for special features, content storage, and so forth.
  • Going slow and steady may not be the right model for this space. Company growth for a web-based platform is different from the typical bootstrap model.
  • It’s hard to get good advice for viral marketing opportunities from CEOs who have bootstrapped their companies. Look for other input. Seek the advice of CEOs who have been successful in the viral online marketing space and learn as much as you can about their business models.
  • Gaming is another opportunity – premium or virtual world sales.

How Do You Simplify Access to Knowledge? Five Factors

Interview with John Kogan, CEO, Proformative

Situation: An organization that provides an online network for senior financial executives has an immense amount of content on its web portal. To improve the user experience of their target audience, they want to simplify access to this knowledge. How do you simplify access to knowledge?

Advice from John Kogan:

  • We have a rich portal with an immense amount of content potentially valuable to senior corporate finance[K1]  executives. We have many ways to access this content – perhaps too many. Our objective is to get the highest quality answers in front of the user with the least effort on their part. Google has done a very good job of pulling the best content to the top given a million possibilities to each query. If we can do this, we become the Google of finance and accounting!
  • Most people know what they want when they come to a site. We have started by creating a clean user experience to allow them that good “line of sight” to what they want.
  • Our objective is to help the user identify the right content with the smallest number of queries. From the user perspective, exposing the wrong content is a waste of time. We want to show them high quality, compelling content which directly addresses their need.
  • To develop quality content, you must have an open mind. It’s not about what we want to say, but understanding the user’s needs and addressing these. You have to be guided by the data to tell you what’s happening on the site and what the user wants to see, and then provide them relevant information.
  • Achieving this means that we must find people who are smarter than us in these areas and gain their input. In the end, your company is no better than the ideas that you can either dream up or gather from others. We constantly seek fresh perspectives from investors, advisors, users and potential users.
  • Finally, you must take action on the data you gather. Too many companies suffer from information paralysis. The solution is Vision plus Will plus Doing it!

You can contact John Kogan at info@proformative.com

Category: Strategy, Technology

Key Words: Strategy, Technology, Content, Portal, Access, Simplify, Knowledge, Google, User, Experience, Triage, Sticky, Relevant, Ideas, Execute