Tune in for Episode 35 of the Business Catalyst podcast! In this episode we announce the winners of last month’s Project Challenge, talk about the newest release, and dig into what Pretty has been up to when it comes to developing Apps for the upcoming public release of Open Platform.

Listen to this month's podcast:

Simply click the play button below to stream the podcast via your browser.


Alternatively, you can download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

In this episode :

  • Review the February BC update
  • Pretty’s App development pipeline
  • Open Platform App opportunities
  • App Standards

Get Interviewed!

If you want to make your debut on an upcoming BC Podcast, contact Brent (brent@bcgurus.com)

Until next time,
Brent Weaver

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Webinar: BC App Basics

Scott B Reynolds of Thrise will be hosting webinars dedicated to building BC Apps. He’ll start with some basic concepts and then move on to more advanced topics.

Sign up here.

We will be going over the new open platform and how to start building BC apps.

Webinar: BC App Basics (session 1)

  • San Francisco: Sunday Feb 23 at 5pm
  • New York City: Sunday Feb 23 at 8pm
  • London: Monday Feb 24 at 1 am
  • Sydney: Monday Feb 24 at 12 noon

Webinar: BC App Basics (session 2)

  • San Francisco: Tuesday Feb 25 at 8am
  • New York City: Tuesday Feb 25 at 11am
  • London: Tuesday Feb 25, 4pm
  • Sydney: Wednesday Feb 26, 3am

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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BC email marketing case study

WHO ARE PRETTY? Pretty is a Business Catalyst partner with strong expertise in Digital Marketing, SEO and beautiful websites. They're big thinkers that work hard to increase website traffic, and more importantly, to convert that traffic into sales and leads. A full service agency located in Sydney and New York, Pretty consult to Business Catalyst Partners to train, support and implement custom features.

Anytime Fitness Case Study

When Anytime Fitness approached Pretty back in 2011 they were looking for fresh ideas on how to increase their market share over other leading fitness clubs like Fitness First. After a short pitch process Pretty was engaged to manage and execute the Email Marketing strategy for Anytime Fitness Australia.

"Since 2011 we've sent 1 to 2 email campaigns monthly to
250,000 subscribers. That's 5 million emails sent through Business Catalyst
email marketing. We enjoy the commission on that."
Brett Stockley (Pretty)

The developers at Pretty (Liam Dilley) built a Custom Import APP for controlling the importing of 250,000 members monthly. It's made importing contacts into BC a breeze.

Since Pretty started working with Anytime Fitness, membership has increased significantly. Social Media likes have increased over 350% and open rates have hit an all time high with recipients trusting email content, more than ever.

Pretty's Top 5 Tips to Email Marketing Content

  • 1. Make it about the customer, not you. Nobody wants to read about why we think WE ARE GREAT. They want to self-indulge in a fun article because they couldn't resist clicking. Or they want information, something they can use to better themselves or their work.
  • 2. Keep it short and punchy. There should only ever be enough content in the article to engage the customer. The end goal should always be a Click rather than a View. Write articles with this in mind.
  • 3. Build reputation. We worked hard with Anytime Fitness to build a reputation of having fun articles, information, resources and offers. When customers receive an Anytime Fitness email, they know they are getting articles worth reading. We measure our performance by unsubscribe rates.
  • 4. Measure & change. All digital marketing is fruitless without analytics. Make sure you come back and measure results. Why would you keep sending on something that doesn't work? Don't make big changes at once, start small but do often. This way you can measure trending.
  • 5. It doesn't have to be hard. We train our customers to write 3-4 articles per month. Yes this takes some time. BUT, if you post those articles as Blog posts you'll gain great SEO benefit. If you then blast those articles out to subscribers you'll get the Email Marketing benefits. If you comment those article to Social Media and sponsor the post you're taking care of your Social Media Strategy. 3-4 articles per month can reap high return.

Thank you Brett Stockley for providing a great article! If you want to learn more about Email Marketing and BC from Brett, please feel free to visit the Pretty website prettypollution.com.au.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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Brass Tacks - February webinar

Pretty has extended its commitment to helping the Business Catalyst community by offering free group consultation sessions on everything Business Catalyst. Session’s run monthly via webinar. This month is an open discussion on:

  • Recent and Upcoming CMS updates – what you need to know.
  • BCAPPS and anything else you want to talk about in an Open Discussion.

Brass Tacks covers the hard hitting questions from Beginner to Advanced, as well as general Business Catalyst news / featured releases / how to / FAQ’s / SEO / digital marketing.

  • USA (San Francisco) – Wednesday 26th February at 4pm
  • USA (New York Time) – Wednesday 26th February at 7pm
  • UK (London) – Thursday 27th February at 12 midnight
  • Australia (Sydney) – Thursday 27th February at 11am

▶ Add this event to your calendar

Hosted by Liam Dilley, a leader in the Business Catalyst community. Sponsored by Pretty, with offices in USA and Australia they’re the Business Catalyst website design experts.

Let’s get down to Brass Tacks.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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[Update] Due to some last minute optimizations, we've decided to push the release to Tuesday, 25th February.

On Monday, February 24th, a new release of Business Catalyst is scheduled to take place. The release continues the improvements on search engine optimization, anti-spam measures and admin interface performance. Additionally, a lot more smaller tweaks and bug corrections have been included in the release. Check out below what you can expect.

Canonical URL for products

A Business Catalyst e-commerce site has multiple URLs for products, depending on the number of catalogs a product is included in. This raises a problem with search engine rankings and page scores, as they are distributed amongst the various product URLs.

Our February release takes a step forward in helping partners and business owners make their e-commerce sites more SEO friendly by introducing canonical URL for products. This will allow marketers to choose a preferred URL for a each product and instruct search engines to use that. The page rank and related properties will be consolidated into the selected URL, making it more visible in search results.

By default, BC will pick the first product URL and make it canonical, insert a link rel=canonical in page head and response header to instruct browsers and search engine which is the preferred URL of the product. Customers will be able to change the canonical URL through the edit product interface from admin console or through the import engine (for bulk updates).

SPAM filters for forums

In a continuous effort to reduce spam on customer sites, we have updated our anti-spam engine to also filter forum posts. Starting with this release, we're going to apply IP blacklisting and content filtering to forum posts as well. Additionally, all existing sites settings have been updated to enable content filtering for forum posts (the engine was in place, but a lot of sites did not have it enabled).

Following the release, we will continue to monitor the level of spam getting through and consider additional measures to keep it under control.

Admin user interface updates

For this release we have continued to optimize the new admin user interface performance so that customers get a better experience when managing their site. While the process is not yet complete as there is still room for improvement, we have made some major steps towards a faster and more flexible admin user interface. The change required us to make radical updates on the admin interface structure, as well as the decommission of the old admin interface. Here are some details about the changes made:

  • Admin user interface V2 has been removed completely
  • Admin URLs now start with /Admin and we've dropped the hash convention from the URL; old admin v3 URLs will be redirected to the new pages to preserve backwards compatibility (ex: /AdminConsole/#!/Admin/AdminPage.aspx will be redirected to /Admin/AdminPage.aspx)
  • The iFrame used to display main admin content has been removed
  • The custom menu items (config.json) are still loaded using hash URLs
  • Open Admin (closed beta) applications URLs are loaded at /Admin/AppLoader.aspx?client_id={{CLIENTID}}

Other updates

  • More than 100% improvement when importing email lists on databases of more than 50,000 already imported contacts
  • More powerful passwords are now required for admin users. A password should now contain small and capital letters, a number and a special character; existing users will not be forced to change passwords
  • A new admin report has been introduced to enable site admins to see the list of failed login attempts
  • Paragraph styles support has been added in the new InContext Editing editor 

As always, we have a series of bug fixes and feature improvements that are listed on our forums, so check out the Technical release details there.

We hope you will enjoy this release and look forward to your feedback.

The Business Catalyst team



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Don't forget to attend our webinar:

Wed, February 12th: Email Marketing with Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive

To help you put your learning into practice, webinar participants will be receive a 15% discount on their next website. (*Some conditions apply, see below)

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to answer all your inquiries.

*15% discount coupon applies for new site upgrades on any yearly desired plan, for the 1st year fee. Pricing will be reset to regular pricing after 12 months from the upgrade date. Coupon validity: 31-Mar-2014, only available for the webinars’ attendees.

Thank you and hope to see you there!

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Are you ready for the Business Catalyst Open Platform? Even if you haven’t signed up to be a beta tester, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for the launch. Join Scott B Reynolds from Thrise as he discusses how to start designing a “BC App” for your own sites or the BC App Store.

This presentation on 11th February (12th in AUS) 2014 is hosted by BC Sandpile. Find the times and sign up information on bcsandpile.com.

To get early access to the BC Open Platform Program send an e-mail to the BC Partner team. This program is open to all partners (paid or free) that have created at least one paid site on Business Catalyst.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team  

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Email Marketing month on Business Catalyst!

When you are the owner of an online business, one of your key strategies should be keeping your clients informed: whether you're launching a new product they might like, an interesting sales campaign or simply telling them what you've been up to. This is where email marketing steps in and helps you deliver that message easy, efficient and fast. 

In February we will talk about email marketing and a series of articles, tutorials and webinars will follow, to analyze this topic in depth.

What is email marketing?

Electronic or email marketing is sending a commercial message to a group of people (usually your client database) using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. Email marketing covers ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, brand awareness and increase sales, push products and services.

Email marketing is usually sent to current customer databases but bought lists can also be used. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to:

  • Sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.
  • Adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers.

How does email marketing work?

  • It's a quick method to communicate your message to qualified leads: your audience, clients, users database etc.
  • Allows you to measure the success of your campaigns through custom reports that reflect open rates, click through and bounce rates.
  • Is targeted because you can advertise the correct product, to the correct audience, at the right time for them. In return email marketing builds satisfaction and trust because your clients will receive exactly what they signed up for/what they need/when they need it.
  • Through a correctly targeted email campaign you can increase your return on investment and build a solid database of recurrent clients/visitors.

Email marketing and BC

There are some great BC built-in tools that will help you maximize the success of your email marketing campaigns:

Using BC you can send three types of email campaigns, in an automated manner:

  • An individual email campaign - one campaign sent to a custom list
  • An email campaign series - dynamic email campaigns based on an event or visitor interaction with your site. For example, you can choose to trigger the campaign 3 days after the visitor signed up for a newsletter.
  • Recurring email campaigns - you can send the same email campaign on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. And you can also put a campaign on hold when needed, easily.

Send email campaign to multiple lists – this will give customers using BC’s email marketing feature more flexibility when managing mailing lists.
Customers can choose to send the campaign to all customers, one or more existing mailing lists, or to a new list. In the same time, you can exclude lists or custom reports from final recipients. And the great thing is that the system will automatically search for contacts present in multiple lists, remove any duplicates and make sure that each subscriber receives the email once.

BC email marketing templates - you can either build your custom templates from scratch or get a head start with BC’s set of cross-client compatible email templates for you and your clients to use. These templates cover a wide range of themes and can be accessed from within your Partner Portal.

Use email filtering for email campaigns - you will want to filter your lists according to categories to get the best possible results: demographics, geography, activity on the website, product purchases, subscriber validity in the mailing list etc. Using filtering the possibilities are endless, as you can always get more and more granular with your filtering criteria. 

Monitor email campaign performance - BC gives you a birds-eye view of your email campaign, including the below reports:

  • Email clients customers used to view the campaign. Example: Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, mobile phone, and so on. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.
  • Number of customers that opened the email
  • Actions customer took. Example: A customer submitted a form on your site after viewing an email campaign.

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns - embed dynamic modules such as blog posts, news items or event bookings from your BC site, right inside email newsletters. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content.

Since we're dedicating February to email marketing, stay tuned for a webinar on "Email Marketing on BC" with Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive, an email marketing case study and useful advice on creating successful email campaigns.

Register here for the webinar:

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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BC Sandpile - February meetings

BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst Partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays, 5pm (all times adjusted in relation to this time)
  • New York City: Tuesdays, 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, noon

BC Sandpile's Product Enhancement Project and Open Meeting
4th February (5th in AUS) 2013
This week we will let you know about Sandpile’s Product Enhancement Project and progress that has been made.
Details: http://thri.se/1n8CaLb

Are You Prepared For Business Catalyst Apps?
11th February (12th in AUS) 2013
Are you prepared for BC Apps? Scott B Reynolds from Thrise will show you how to plan and design your first Business Catalyst App. You should attend this event if you are currently building an app, plan to build an app, or just want to learn more about apps.
Details: http://thri.se/1fBd6dg

BC Inspiration from Two Blokes with a Postie
18th February (19th in AUS) 2013
One Year On - Eddy Chan and Mario Gudelj from Two Blokes with a Postie will be presenting some of their latest and greatest API integrations with BC.
Details: http://thri.se/1inDr0S

How To Generate A Revenue Stream From Your Existing Clients
25th February (26th in AUS) 2013
Greg Marcel from 2140 Interactive and BC Client Training, will explain how he leverages the Email Marketing Module to market new BC Modules and features to his existing client base to create consistent work and a steady revenue stream.
Details: http://thri.se/1n8C6v5

Full schedule: http://www.bcsandpile.com/_blog/Meeting_Chalkboard/
Sandpile Recordings: http://www.bcsandpile.com/business-catalyst/resources.htm

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Because we know how important is to get an extra helping hand for your Business Catalyst activity, we're launching a series of articles focused on presenting a Partner resource every month.
This month we will talk about Partner success stories.

This resource was created so that BC Partners can share their experience moving from a multiple-platform agency to a BC focused business. You’ll also get some useful advice on managing your client projects, key learnings and a see a few project showcases.

The first Partners that shared their stories with us are Sarah Powell from Blackroom Creative and Bill Sholar and Kim Green of Short Story Marketing.

Check out their stories here:
Blackroom Creative
Short Story Marketing

You can access more valuable resources from your Partner Portal dashboard -> Resources -> Sales tab.

And we’re looking forward to welcoming more inspirational BC stories. So if you feel your business went through an interesting journey since you started using BC and if you want to share your Partner success story with everyone, contact us.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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