Let’s face it, these are tough times for both brick and mortar businesses as well as online businesses. Although word is out that the recession is officially over, the average incomes of families is still dropping, unemployment numbers are still high and analysts foresee that even Google might see a slight slow down in its earnings which will come out this Thursday in its earnings report. 

It’s Time to Reward Your Readers

A lot of people are desperate and millions are losing not only their jobs, but also their homes.

Stop for a minute and try to place yourself in the same position. Imagine:

  • How would you feel?
  • Where would you go?
  • What emotions would you experience?
  • What you do?

The Internet is the first natural destination because it contains both valuable information that could help people solve their problems and social media.

Two words that you ought to remember for these tough times: information and friends.

By now, everybody knows the premium price of powerfully useful information. People need more than that and a lot of people need genuine friends and not just articles or products.

You should proceed with your marketing efforts there. Add a little bit compassion in your articles, put yourself in the position of your reader whenever you write something and in short be a friend to your readers.

If You Have Some Spare Cash Give it Away – Carefully and Properly

I’m not advocating for charity, but for responsible compassion. As a businessman who lives in the third world, I wake up everyday and see real poverty that you could only imagine. I’m not even talking about food stamps here, we don’t have those. I’m talking about people having salt and rice as their meal once a day.

I try to help some of them, but I’ve learned one thing when it comes to giving – it has to come with dignity. Rather than just handing people money, you need to give them something dignified to do so that they wouldn’t depend on you and most of all, they wouldn’t lose their belief that they could do something about their plight.

In the online realm, this line of thinking is fairly new. For instance, in the popular social news aggregator  website called reddit, there is a section (or a subreddit) there called r/Assistance. Think of it as a very effective medium for cyber begging and cyber giving. At the onset, it reflected the giving nature and online community spirit of reddit. Redditors (reddit users) could freely ask for money on that section and other redditors who would like to contribute could give their money away. And then the controversy came. With r/Assistance’s success, some people have begun abusing the system. The story and the drama of r/Assistance is not yet over and I’ll leave it up to you to search on Google about what is currently transpiring there. 

How to Reward Your Readers

Personally, I reward my readers by occasionally sponsoring contests that would also help my blog with content. I ask mundane questions related to the blog niche and reward the person with the best answer with $5 dollars. It isn’t much, but hey it could buy someone a cup of coffee or something for something that they could do in 5 minutes.

Google owned Prizes.org is a reliable way to hold mini-contests such as these. It’s free to join.

The upside on your part is twofold:

  • First, you get to know the people who visit your website.
  • Second, you get to have content that is related to what you are doing online. I think of it like a Yahoo Answers with monetary incentives.

The strategy has paid off well in terms of both traffic and exposure. Moreover, I need not mention that you could also put your link on the contest page itself. I’m not so sure about the SEO value of this.

My main point is not just SEO, but on understanding that business is always about serving the customer as you would in real life.

In the case of us online businessmen, it’s always a pleasure to help out a fellow reader in however way we can.