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TECHNOLOGY

The Website That Gets Almost Everything Right

Every once in a while, a brand comes along that masters the art of selling things online. Here's one you can learn from.

Over the years, I've seen thousands of businesses with bad business models, terrible websites, and little or no concept of how to market online. Every once in a while, though, I see a brand that nails every aspect of doing business online.

The perfect example? Woot. It has a strong business model, powerful website, effective marketing, and the brand clearly understands how to utilize social media to drive business. It's no surprise Amazon acquired the site in 2010. Here's what you can learn from Woot.

 The Business Model

Woot's model is remarkably simple. The company sells one product a day, putting the item up for sale for exactly 24 hours. If the product runs out, it is replaced with another item. The simplicity of the model keeps costs down significantly and the scarcity of product creates real buzz on a daily basis.

There's no hard sell to shove products down customers' throats. Plus, the site features a forum that allows visitors to comment (positively and negatively) on each product. This democratic approach creates a feeling of trust.

Crystal Clear Calls to Action

Many online businesses make the mistake of failing to turn site visitors into purchasers. One of the biggest reasons for this is inadequate calls to action.

On Woot, the call to action—"I want one!"—couldn't be clearer. You click on the button and the purchase process begins. The secondary call to action, "check 'em out!," is similarly clear and memorable.

Compelling Content

Fresh content that is both interesting and entertaining is always a great way to get people to come back to your website. Woot does this a number of ways, including a well-written and very clever blog. For example, in honor of March Madness, Woot created March Angriness, in which visitors filled out a bracket choosing which things made them the angriest. The lesson here? A little attitude never hurts.

They Really "Get" Social Media

Woot does an extraordinary job of using social media to serve the needs of visitors, while at the same time enhancing the bottom line.

The brand has amassed over 1.6 million followers on Twitter by announcing their latest deals and by communicating directly with their followers, often providing nearly instantaneous customer service. That's 1.6 million people who have opted in to their messaging.

On Facebook, Woot has amassed over 78,600 "likes" and provides all kinds of information, including both direct sell messages and links to stories that would be of interest to Woot's target audience. As a result, the brand has built a highly loyal following.

This Isn't Rocket Science

Attention to detail, strong messaging, a commitment to great content, and an investment in social media can give any small business the opportunity to grow exponentially online.

What sites do you admire?

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IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Apr 11, 2012

JON GELBERG | Columnist | Editorial Director, PR News

Jon Gelberg is the editorial director of PR News.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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