Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Ian Khan, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Release Management , Agile Computing, CRM

Release Management : Article

The Social Web: The Game Has Shifted

Creating an effective online member acquisition strategy

Marketers historically have paid close attention to site traffic, time on site and page view metrics. Success on today's Internet, the social web, is not guaranteed by any of these numbers. The game has shifted, and most savvy marketers are waking up to the fact that new key performance indicators are more relevant:

  • Quality of site traffic takes precedence over quantity of site traffic
  • Interactions on your site are far more important than just time on site
  • Sharing content from your site leads to effective word of mouth marketing, unlike passive page views

The critical foundation underlying these new success metrics is knowledge of your users.

Create a Compelling Reason to Register - The "Give to Get" Paradigm
This give-to-get scenario is a catalyst that prompts and ensures successful user registration because the user perceives the benefits of membership to be worth the time it takes to register. A compelling why is arguably the single most important factor in getting a visitor to become a member. Think about this as a value exchange or a "give to get" relationship. You are asking users to give you something of value - information on themselves and in return you are going to provide something of value such as premium access, promotions, free newsletters or other value-added benefits.

Once you identify the value proposition, display it everywhere: place it beside your registration form, incorporate the reasons into your online advertising rotation, ensure that a user cannot spend more than 30 seconds on your site without knowing why they should become a member.

Member Acquisition Strategies - Benefits to Offer Your Members
This list of potential benefits to offer members is by no means exhaustive, but some options to offer include:

  • Access to premium content: Allow your members to view enhanced content such as in-depth features, multimedia, podcasts, case studies and marketing briefs.
  • Access to enhanced customization: By creating an account and pulling in profile data you will be able to build personalized features on your site such as recommended reading and suggested products to purchase.
  • Access to your online community: Promote the community you have created by allowing your members to interact with each other through personalized profiles, photo sharing, forums and user-generated content.
  • Free newsletters: Keep your registered users abreast of new product releases, current articles, and organizational updates.
  • Coupons and promotions: Offer coupons and special promotions such as free shipping, daily discounts, contests and sweepstakes only to registered users of your site.
  • Insider scoop: Allow your registered users to test beta products, be the first to hear about new products, events and tour dates.

Expand Your Membership Through Online Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Once you have some momentum, take it to the next level by leveraging your members' social networks. Through the addition of social sharing functionality your members will be able to share experiences from your site directly with their friends and online communities, extending your brand reach at minimal cost. For example:

  • Commenting on an article or posting a review
  • Promotional campaigns that provide incentives for members to win a prize when they invite friends to become members
  • Loyalty programs that upgrade the membership level when friends they have invited become members
  • E-commerce related triggers encouraging sharing of a purchase on completion of the process
  • Mobile campaigns that send messages out to promote both membership and additional downloads of the mobile application

Optimizing the Registration Process
Make the registration process as simple and painless as possible. The answer to growing your members is to provide the key combination of a compelling why coupled with an incredibly simple registration process. There are best practices to simplifying the registration process:

  • Shorten the registration form. Take a hard look at your current forms and determine what user profile information you really need. Most sites see an immediate uptick in registration rates when forms are simplified and only present relevant questions.
  • Adopt a progressive disclosure model. Request a minimal set of data from the user at the initial registration point, and then at future touch points ask for more information to build a complete user profile over time. For example, if you offer coupons on your site, perhaps you initially only request a name and email address to download the coupon, but to access a second more personalized coupon requires the addition of a zip code.
  • Leverage your user's existing identities. Offer login through a Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or other accounts to reduce friction and speed up the process. This method also enables you to instantly collect accurate and rich profile data from your users.

Offering Registration with an Existing Identity
The rapid spread of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the ubiquity of Internet email accounts through Google, Yahoo or Microsoft Windows Live, has increased the likelihood that the majority of your site visitors already have at least one preferred online identity. Offering registration or login through these identities has been proven to not only increase registration rates, but to increase the quality and reliability of the user data.

In order to increase ROI on the Internet today, marketers have to reconsider the registration entryway and value proposition. Optimizing these two factors will lead to higher member acquisition rates and increased ROI. When converting visitors to members, marketers gain more insight into their users and uncover new marketing opportunities. Providing compelling reasons to become a member, coupled with a streamlined registration process, will drive member acquisition and improved online revenue.

More Stories By Larry Drebes

Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, founded the company in 2005 to address the challenge of managing user identity on the Internet. In its early days, Janrain drove the development of the majority of the open source OpenID protocol libraries that continue to be used today by organizations such as Google and Yahoo, and was a founding member of the OpenID Foundation, a non-profit governance organization for the industry.

Prior to Janrain, Larry was a co-founder of Silicon Valley start-ups, a web-based service, and Four11 Corporation. At Four11 Corporation, Larry led the development of its RocketMail product, one of the first Internet based email systems. Four11 was acquired by Yahoo in 1997 and its RocketMail product became YahooMail.

Earlier in his career, Larry did software development for Raynet, McDonnell Douglas and A.G. Edwards.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.