Posts filed under ‘ebusiness’

Customer input from the social web.

Several months ago, I looked at some corporate initiatives to use social networking tools to interact with customers and learn what they have to say about a company’s products and services. I thought they were a bit pricy for midsize companies and predicted we would see lower cost options in the near future. The future is here.

SuggestionBox.com is currently in beta. It offers a simple, easy to use, online tool that makes it easy for customers to communicate their opinions, wants and needs and empowers companies to take action.

The pricing is right for midsize companies at $50/month or $495/year with a 30 day free trial and money back guarantee. The feature set is pretty basic on the “suggester” side. Anyone can make a suggestion or rate suggestions made by others. The company can respond to suggesters with a thank you or request for clarification. And each suggestion can be marked as implemented, coming soon, under review or filed away.

in a comment to my earlier post, an IdeaStorm manager suggested the power of their solution was on the back end. This may be so, but at $5 per user, this power requires a significantly larger investment.

Vivek Bhaskaran, CEO of Survey Analytics, developers of QuestionPro and IdeaScale commented on one of my earlier posts. He said, “I think the model of charging per user (or per idea) is NOT how we plan on marching down. We’ll have flat fee of anywhere between Free (yes), $15/Month and $199/Month.”

Here are some examples of who/how IdeaScale is being used:

www.askthespeaker.org (Politics)
www.choicehotels.ideascale.com (Large Biz)
www.buglabs.ideascale.com (Small Biz)

August 18, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments

10 business problems you can solve on the internet.

Most of my clients own or manage midsize companies. Some are tech-savvy, others not so much. None are able to spend a great deal of time worrying about the details of their marketing programs, especially the design and operation of their company websites.

A few years ago, I developed a presentation that looks at web strategy from the 30 thousand foot level. It asks a simple question: What is the most important business problem you can solve on the internet? This slide show walks you through the process I use in strategic planning sessions or workshops for CEOs and marketing teams.

In an hour, the execs have a strategy they can communicate to techies and creatives.

May 30, 2008 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Keep your company’s message fresh.

Small to midsize companies struggle to keep their message fresh and their websites up to date. So do marketing coaches and other service providers. Fortunately, there are free tools that make it easy to get the word out. There may be dozens, but I want to talk about FeedBurner.

This morning, I wondered of I could use my blog posts to drive fresh content to the home page of my website. I had used FeedBurner to set up an RSS feed, so readers could subscribe to my blog. I wondered if they might have a way to deliver the feed to my website.

Five minutes of research tops and I found the answer. They call it BuzzBoost. In effect, it turns a portion of a webpage into an RSS reader. You click a few buttons, complete a couple data fields, and SAVE. When the BuzzBoost page refreshes, it gives you a little bit of html code to copy into your webpage. Here’s a link to my home page so you can see the result of my efforts.

Here’s how I did it…

Continue Reading May 8, 2008 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Dedicated surfer scores PR win for Comcast.

I have often encouraged CEOs and senior managers of midsize businesses to find someone in their life to be a dedicated surfer, someone who can keep an eye on the social web for good or bad comments about their companies or their competitors.

Comcast (not a client) has apparently adopted this approach in its efforts to climb out of the customer service cellar. Only time will tell if customer service scores will improve, but here’s an example of a single contact that resulted in major publicity for Comcast and a company in Philadelphia called iFractal.

clipped from seattletimes.nwsource.com

Stormy times for Comcast

The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Most afternoons, the Internet in Sarah Chambers’ office at iFractal in Philadelphia crashes and leaves her cyber-stranded without e-mail or online communication with clients.

When it happened for the zillionth time a few days ago, Chambers tried something new, once her Web connection reappeared. She shot Comcast a curt public online message on the social-networking site Twitter:

“My Internet goes out every day at 3:30. Why would that be?”

Frank Eliason, a Comcast manager with the daunting assignment of monitoring the nation’s blogosphere for venomous posts aimed at the company, answered right away: “That should not be. We should have that looked at. Send an e-mail with account info to We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com.”

  blog it

May 1, 2008 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

Walking the aisles of a virtual trade show.

There are things I like about going to a trade show: Looking at one nondescript booth after another and wondering what the heck business these people are in. Being invited to enter yet another prize drawing so the marketing manager can show the boss how many “leads” were collected at the event. Asking a question and watching the exhausted booth person search for answers that weren’t on the well rehearsed script.

Things I don’t like: The travel. (Just shoot me.) Walking the endless rows of nondescript booths wondering what the heck business these people are in. (It’s a love/hate thing.) Paying $12 for a steamed hot dog and a 3/4 oz bag of chips.

But I digress…

Continue Reading April 21, 2008 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Does a company blog make sense?

Can blogging take the place of a company website? My take is that blogging can be an incredible waste of time, it can also be a useful marketing tool. I use my blog the way marketers used to use printed brochures… to support my message. I also have a “proper” website. I use them both to support my networking efforts as a marketing/internet strategy coach.

Midsize businesses can use blogging if they are able to afford the time and effort to create meaningful content.

Continue Reading April 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

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