Crowdsourcing is a relatively new idea that small businesses can use to solve a problem or improve their business. This process takes a task usually done by individuals to a group of people or community for their input.  Here are some benefits and ideas to implement crowdsourcing for your business.

The benefits of Crowdsourcing:

  • The process helps you find out exactly what your local clientele wants and/or needs.
  • Provides you with a list of people who may be interested in your products/services or opportunity.
  • Provide a formal way to gather feedback from neighbors and clients that will help you tailor your products, services, marketing, and customer care to the very people who frequent your business.
  • Keeps your marketing cost down. Ask people who frequent your business in person, and utilize free websites like Craigslist that let you post to one of several different categories, depending on your needs. The website is also localized by city, so you can find people close by to provide input you need. Social networks like Facebook are also an efficient way of reaching more people quickly. Keep in mind, though, that you want to engage your target market and not the whole world.

Here are some disadvantages to keep in mind:

  • It may take you a long time to assess the quality of each submission.
  • The quality may not be professional.
  • It will take longer to screen candidates and assess the data.

Crowdsourcing initiatives:

  • Provide your community/network with voting ballots they can use to vote on their favorite products/services. This will help you assess your current product/services.
  • Run a poster contest that asks participants to create an image that best innovates one of your products/services or highlights a new one they would like to see. Then invite the rest of your community to vote on the ideas to select a winner. This can help you develop new products/services.
  • Ask your community to create and vote on a motto that promotes your branding. This will help you promote your brand and improve customer care.
  • Invite your community to submit and vote on a “how to” video for a product/service that you offer. This is a great way to generate videos of your products/services and provide visual testimonials at the same time.

When crowdsourcing, you must offer some sort of incentive like a voucher or discount for participating or a prize to a winner(s). You’re also showing that you value your community and customer opinions and appreciate the time they are taking to help you.

What are your thoughts on crowdsourcing? What have been your experiences with it?  Share with us in the comments section below!