While online marketers have mastered traditional Web marketing techniques such as e-mail, search engine keywords and display advertising, Web 2.0 and its underlying technologies now provide a set of tools that helps support their key goals: attracting Web site visitors, converting leads and retaining customers.
The first goal for many marketers is to attract visitors to their Web site. While technologies like AJAX, Flash and Flex tend to have a negative impact on natural search engine rankings, Web 2.0 techniques such as XML-based metadata description help optimize natural search engine rankings for sophisticated Web sites.
Another draw is to explore mobile device-optimized Web sites. Use of mobile Web is big in Japan (as much as 50% of Web site traffic) and on the rise in the US, yet most Web sites haven’t yet been optimized for mobile viewing despite the fact that doing so could lead to a possible 20%-30% increase in Web traffic.
A third Web 2.0-rooted attraction is the inclusion of high quality, streaming video. While it admittedly impacts network bandwidth consumption, it is still an effective way to attract and engage visitors. Users might spend up to 60% more time on a page with video, resulting in a rapid return on investment.
The second goal is converting visitors to customers. For this, static Web pages are giving way to more interactive experiences that leverage technologies like AJAX and Flex. Some innovative ways to use these technologies include pre-sale efforts that help in the buying process, for example, presenting what a room looks like when painted. Another way is to enable users to customize or personalize purchases, for example, allowing users to customize the color, size and soles of boots.
Another way Web 2.0 solutions convert visitors to customers is through content-driven Web sites, both company- and user-generated. Having both increases customer comfort levels, retains customers longer (because they come back to provide reviews or to read other reviews),increases the time visitors spend on the Web site, differentiates the firm and encourages customer loyalty.