Widgets can drive brand building

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Gary Baker
Gary Baker

Chances are, you've been hearing a lot about widgets lately. They offer orga­nizations an additional way to grow and distribute their brand (and boost their bot­tom line) if they take the appropriate steps to create and monetize them. Here are a few suggestions for moving further along the widget path.

Before you set out to create a money-making widget, take stock of what areas you really know and where your widget can truly add value to the consumer expe­rience. Know your niche and your compa­ny's limits, and focus on creating a widget that's truly good at one specific thing rather than a one-size-fits-all widget that tries to be everything to everyone.

Once you've determined the functional­ity your widget will provide, take a look at your current and prospective audience and figure out who your real target market is. It may not be every last one of your cur­rent customers. You may instead choose to focus on a specific age group or gender, or even focus on your users who share spe­cific interests or habits. After you've deter­mined the specific group you want to go after, look to the larger Web audience for people with the same characteristics. Then, develop a plan for reaching out to those folks in a way that meets your time and budget needs.

Next, it's time to understand the informa­tion you need to gather in order to make this widget appealing to advertisers. Are they interested in specific user demographics like age and gender, or are they more interested in buying habits — or even a combination of all three? Understanding what your advertisers will need to help them make better spending decisions will let you know the kind of data you'll want to collect.

You've heard the phrase, “you've got to spend money to make money,” and wid­gets are no exception. Unless you're a huge Internet brand, you're going to have to spend the money to get the widget out there before you'll be able to turn it into a profit center. But if you make wise choices and smart investments up front, you'll be able to recoup your initial R&D, marketing and advertising costs once the contracts with advertisers are in place.

gary@clipblast.com

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