When it comes to new internet marketing opportunities for your business, RSS just might be the answer you were looking for. Here are just some of the new opportunities it can provide you with ?
1. PODCASTING AND VIDEOCASTING
Podcasting (delivering internet audio content) and Videocasting (delivering internet video content) allow you to communicate via rich media messages, not only making your content more attractive and powerful, but also enabling a more personal "conversation" with your audiences.
Up until know, the internet was predominantly a textual channel. Adding audio and video to the mix, delivering both via RSS, goes beyond the basic capabilities provided by "traditional" internet content delivery channels. Rich media personalizes the internet experience and gives your company a distinguishable face, while at the same time providing you with a media platform to convey your message so that it is easier to understand, see and feel.
Think about ...
--> Delivering press releases in audio or video
--> Sending your customers a personal video message from the CEO
--> Doing audio interviews to expand your reach and provide more content to your visitors
--> Delivering video demonstrations of your products
--> Using video and audio to demonstrate how your customers and readers can easily resolve various issues that you are helping them with
--> Delivering important messages to your readers, customers and business partners via a more personal audio experience, instead of using impersonal e-mail communications
--> And so on ...
In addition, Podcasting and Videocasting form the basis of new business models, giving you the opportunity to expand your product base to include these formats with higher perceived value.
Customer education & support are improved as well, since you can now demonstrate key product usage points via online video providing customer support content in a format, which can easily demonstrate everything you need to convey to your customers.
2. HIGH FREQUENCY CONTENT UPDATES
High frequency content updates, even on a daily or hourly basis, are now finally possible with RSS. No more need to hold on your important messages, news and other content for a week or even a month to include it in your e-zine --- with RSS you can update your content as often as you want/need, and your subscribers won't mind.
Appcasting goes one step further, giving you the ability to deliver critical software updates and patches to your existing clients, without them having to visit your web site every week to see if the much needed update is already available or not.
4. PRODUCT NEWS, RELEASES AND UPDATES
Product news, releases and updates are now finally possible in an easy-to-consume way. Using RSS, you can provide your customers or prospects with simple tools to create their own "product feeds", through which they'll be immediately notified when new products that precisely match their interests are available.
As soon as your product portfolio changes, so does the content in the RSS feeds that your customers are subscribed to.
Just think of the following possibilities ...
--> The search tool is one of the most often used in larger web stores, giving your visitors an easy way to find the products they are interested. But the same search results can be delivered via RSS as well. Imagine your customer doing a search for one of your product categories, and then also receiving a link to the RSS feed for those very same search results, to find out immediately when a new product matching his terms is released or available for order.
--> This works for complex searches as well. If your customers are in the habit of searching for specific product categories, but only in a specific price range, you can deliver those very same results to them via RSS, but with a small twist as soon as a new product matching their terms, including the desired price, is launched, they are notified about it via RSS instantly. No need to visit your site again to do the time-consuming search; the release comes directly to them.
--> Of course, the same approach that many are already using for e-mail alerts can be used for RSS. Give your visitors a simple form using which they enter their criteria, and then give them access to an RSS feed bringing them product updates based exactly on their criteria. Why not just use e-mail? Because no one really wants more e-mail messages in their inboxes and no one wants to give away their personal information, while RSS is anonymous, doesn't require an e-mail address and is read when the customer decides he has the time.
5. PERSONALIZED CONTENT SERVICES
Personalized/customized database listings are quite similar to product updates, but relate to any kind of complex information you provide to your visitors, such as ?
--> Job listings
--> Real estate
Using RSS, your visitors can decide exactly what kind of "content" (in this case, an individual content item could be a new job listing) they are looking for and then have that content delivered directly to them, via their own personalized RSS feed.
And yet, all of these are just some examples of what you can do with RSS. The possibilities for new content delivery & business development models are quite endless.
For example, some companies are already giving their visitors the opportunity to track their FedEx, UPS and other packages via RSS feeds. Yet others are creating new services that allow you to receive critical information from an RSS feed to your mobile phone via SMS (such as getting an SMS notifying you that a new job matching your criteria is available). Yet again other sites enable you to keep track of when you need to return your library material, and even when your holds are ready and when they are about to expire, all this using RSS.
All of these are new business opportunities made possible with RSS, and each of them in a way improves lives of end-users, without placing a larger burden (more e-mail messages) on them.
Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik
Rok Hrastnik is the author of "Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS", acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide to RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts. The complete guide on RSS for marketers: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html?src=sa8