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Envato: web strategies

The Envato business model is an incredibly clever one.Envato’s

It uses a social media approach to online communities, to help technologically inclined creatives to sell their creations and to learn how to improve their skills.  Here are some tips from founders Collis & Cyan on how to create an online community out of a successful business idea.

Conversations help build communities

While Envato buys a reasonable amount of online ad space to attract newbies, the real traffic comes from online creative communities. Members contribute to word-of-mouth marketing in forums, blogs and on Twitter, and in turn, Envato’s site managers regularly promote their members’ new activities through the same channels. “You want to engage your audience in a way that is related to what they’re interested in,” Collis suggests. “You need to provide value and make the community something they would join anyway, even if your product didn’t exist.”

Email marketing sustains interest

“We have a sizeable list of 150,000 subscribers who want Marketplace news,” Collis says. “Email is a great way to remind them of the various things we do.”

Twitter is a fast way to share links

Anyone who regularly uses Twitter is familiar with the shortened link format. Done well, it’s a great way to curate the web, quickly and efficiently alerting audiences of new content and new conversations.

Social media should be social

It’s good to share relevant content, though it’s even better if your audience does it for you. “People like to share tutorials they’ve found useful,” Collis notes. “It’s a major source of traffic, though it’s not always easy to convert.”

Blogs can help showcase new work

Strike a balance with the non-commercial info your audience really wants and the announcements you want to share. “When you hit that balance you get lots of comments saying, ‘Wow, I realise it’s marketing but it’s actually useful. I’m going to join.’ That’s always rewarding.” Collis says.

Search traffic takes time to build – “The internet is a marathon, rather than a sprint,” Collis asserts. “The longer you’re in it and the more relevant content you produce, the more likely you’ll continue to build traffic.”

Envato website breakdown

Envato’s homepage
A quick one-stop shop for Envato products, such as its marketplaces, networks and tutorials, and other resources. There is also company information and introductions to the people behind the brand.

Active Den

Active Den members can buy and sell Adobe Flash and Flex files such as site templates, animations, video players and other tools. Users can also produce and sell high quality files by joining the authoring program.

Tuts+

Envato offers users a range of tutorials on topics such as WordPress, Photoshop, CG and Vector. Users can sign up for subscriptions, which give them access to exclusive tutorials and regular downloads.

Blog Action Day

Launched by Collis and Cyan in 2007, this annual event sees bloggers everywhere write about the same topic to initiate discussion about issues such as poverty and climate change. It’s now run by Change.org.

Facebook

One of the ways in which Envato connects with its user community is via social networking platforms, linking them to various tutorials and products, which members can then use for their own work.
 

Twitter

Committed to regularly engaging with its members, Envato often posts to its 5,000+ followers on Twitter to quickly spread news and information about its tools, products and offers.

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