Crowdsourcing. It’s one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around in new marketing discussions. What is it? The simplest explanation is crowdsourcing is when you collaborate with your audience on a task for your business. A good example of this is Dell’s IdeaStorm website. This platform allows users to submit new product ideas and suggestions for improving Dell’s current products. To date, Dell has used 366 of these user-submitted ideas, and they don’t pay their users a cent!
So, now that you understand what crowdsourcing is, how can you use it for your small business? Here are 5 easy ways to enjoy the benefits of collaborating with your audience.
- Generate ideas for better/new products—As I mentioned earlier, Dell uses crowdsourcing to better their products and to solicit ideas for new ones. You can easily do the same. Social media is the perfect tool for crowdsourcing. Ask your Twitter followers for feedback on your products. Create a website like the IdeaStorm website. Ask your blog readers for suggestions for new product ideas. The possibilities are endless.
- Ask a simple question—None of us are experts in everything. That’s where crowdsourcing can come in handy. Have a question about advertising for your business? Ask it on LinkedIn, Yahoo! Answers, or Twitter. Need some expertise on an employee management matter? The web is full of experts who can pitch some advice your way.
- Get low-cost designs—99designs and other similar websites let you harness the power of crowdsourcing for all your design needs. Perfect for the small business looking for a logo or website design on a tight budget, these sites allow you to post a design project to thousands of designers. You set a cash prize for the winning design, and the community of designers will submit design proposals to you. You could have hundreds of designs to choose from, ensuring you find the perfect design for your needs.
- Find the perfect price point—If you’re launching a new product or service, finding the right price tag for it can be an exercise in guesswork. But with the power of crowdsourcing, you can ask your audience how much they would pay for your new product or service. Averaging out the submitted price points is a great place to start your pricing research.
- Spread your marketing message—Viral marketing is all about enlisting the power of word of mouth to spread your message from one person to another. Make a list of viral ideas that could work for your business (e.g. a controversial blog post, a contest, a unique widget, etc.).
How have you used crowdsourcing for your business? Share your experiences in the replies.