How to build a social classifieds business

Develop a tiered classifieds business — social on the outside, premium on the inside

There are some nice ways that n0tice can be used to create deal flow for publishers. By fostering an open and social environment close to your domain you can then draw in new paying customers directly on your domain.

The following is a step-by-step guide on developing a marketing funnel for your larger opportunities by casting a net with a social classifieds system.

The premise is simple:

  • Encourage people to post openly on a noticeboard that you manage, with your brand and your look and feel.
  • Automatically feed Featured posts from your noticeboard onto your own web site to give them greater presence.
  • Earn 85% of the revenue generated from Featured posts on your noticeboard.
  • Reach out to your new customers and upsell them to a more robust package you may have available on your web site today.

You don’t need any coding or even any HTML skills here. We’ll talk about how to set up this model for a WordPress site, but any web site that can display an RSS widget will be able to do this, too. We’ve also assumed that you either have a noticeboard on n0tice.com or that you have read the “How to create a noticeboard” page.

STEP 1: SETUP AN OFFERS NOTICEBOARD

  1. Read the “How to create a noticeboard” guide.
  2. Go to the ‘Layout’ tab in your noticeboard admin panel. Change the Layout to ‘Offers’. Click ‘Save’.

STEP 2: ADD OFFERS TO YOUR OWN WEB SITE

We’ll demonstrate how to do this using WordPress, but the concepts can be reapplied to any web site. If you are using WordPress, be sure that you can add a RSS Widget. The default RSS widget that comes with WordPress is fine. There are some other useful RSS plugins out there, such as RSSImporter.

  1. Go to your WordPress Admin Panel. Under the ‘Appearance’ menu item, click ‘Widgets’.
  2. Drag your RSS widget into the appropriate location on your Sidebar. We’ll feed posts from n0tice into this Widget next. See Step 3 below.
  3. Drag an arbitrary Text widget to appear just below it. Create a simple “Your Ad Here” link in this box.

STEP 3: GET YOUR OFFERS FEED

Now we need to choose what to feed from your noticeboard onto your web site. You might start by feeding all Offers posted to your noticeboard in order to demonstrate to new customers what they will be getting. We’ll demonstrate that here.

But you will ultimately want to take only the paid Offers, as you have limited shelf space on your web site and need to protect that limited shelf space in order to maintain high rates. Actually, you may want to take only the paid Offers that your sales team has actually starred on the noticeboard after closing a deal for the upsell.

  1. Choose the appropriate feed:
    1. All content from your noticeboard: http://n0ticeapis.com/2/search?format=rss&noticeboard=YOUR-NOTICEBOARD-NAME
    2. Offers only: http://n0ticeapis.com/2/search?format=rss&noticeboard=YOUR-NOTICEBOARD-NAME&type=offer
    3. Offers which your team has starred: http://n0ticeapis.com/2/search?format=rss&noticeboard=YOUR-NOTICEBOARD-NAME&type=offer&votedInterestingBy=USERNAME1,USERNAME2
  2. Copy the feed URL you want to use
  3. Go back to your WordPress admin panel. Go to the ‘Widgets’ panel (under ‘Appearance’).
  4. Open your RSS Widget.
  5. Paste the feed URL into your widget.

If you want to get creative you can pull data out of n0tice in many different ways. Here is the documentation that will help you create the feed you need: http://n0tice.org/developers/api-documentation/

Also, you may want to adjust the look and feel of your RSS widget a bit, depending on what options are available to you. Give it the appropriate header title, and make sure the Text widget below says something relevant.

STEP 4: PROMOTE IT

The easy part is done. You have a tiered system, and you haven’t had to write a line of code.

The hard part is getting user adoption. There are many useful viral features across n0tice that will help your noticeboard find its way to people. And there are many active n0tice users that will want to spread interesting posts both across and outside of the n0tice network. But as with any new product or service you will need to come up with some creative ways to make it meaningful to people.

Here are a handful of suggestions for making this solution really work well for you:

  • Look across the n0tice.com web site for Offers that are relevant to you, and ‘Repost’ them to your noticeboard. This will make it feel active and alive for first-time users of your noticeboard.
  • Run contests and encourage people to vote for interesting Offers on n0tice.com. Showcase those offers on your web site.
  • Build a presence for your brand editorially on your noticeboard, and use that presence to establish a stronger Classifieds proposition.
  • When your sales team closes a deal to upsell presence on your web site, mark the Offer on n0tice.com with a star. Then automatically feed only the items starred by your team through your RSS widget. No code. No production headaches. And the customer still benefits from the social distribution across n0tice.com.
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