New Community Forums

Hello everyone, your friendly forum moderator here.  I'm very happy to share with you something we've been working on and thinking about for some time.

Today, along with the release of our latest version, we've also completely reworked the Community Forums. The old forums are still available and will continue to be for a few weeks (after which they will become "read only"), however we ask that you start posting new threads in the new forums. If there are particular old posts which were missed and need to be answered or you think are particularly valuable in terms of information, please *bump* them and we'll consider moving them over. While a valuable resource, the old forums have become a bit long in the tooth to moderate and often people will bump threads that are years old and have nothing to do with their current issue. This makes it hard to have a conversation and also provides lots of conflicting information.

Our new forum listing is more than doubled and much more specific in name, which should make them that much more browse-able. Additionally, new forums exist for discussions that obviously needed to happen, but weren't necessarily pertinent to any specific system area. Some examples of these are:

  • HTML/CSS/JS Forum - The idea here is to provide a place to talk shop, show off tutorials you find interesting, provide resources for awesome new libraries, etc.
  • Marketplace - Partners are finding themselves in more and more situations that involve  taking on work that beyond their areas of expertise. Luckily we have a great community of partners with expertise in a myriad of competencies.
  • API & Third Party Integration - We find more and more people wanting to extend BC or complement it with another service. Up till now, there really wasn't any area to discuss this fully and we really want to foster more conversations about methodology and availability of solutions.
  • General Discussion - This is an area to talk about... well we're not really sure. To begin, we plan on having a thread of Show & Tell so you can show off your work.
  • Newbie Corner - No question is a stupid question here, if you feel truly lost in the BC well of knowledge post here and someone can help you along. This will be a great spot for free partners to get their wings and old partners to offer a helping hand.

We want you to talk shop, to have conversations about the reasons behind your design concepts, show off your slick AJAX hackery, etc.

We hope our new layout will enable a more conversational approach to the forums, while maintaining them as the educational resource they have become. We will continue to moderate the forums and jump in as necessary when we can provide an answer unique to our abilities. And don't forget our BC secret agents who prefer to remain anonymous.

However, at the end of the day its all about enabling you and providing a way to pass along your experience. I would like to personally thank Liam, Matthew, Vincent , and all of the other regulars I am forgetting for contributing so much to our community.


Justin Price - Adobe BC Forum Moderator

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Here at BC, we make extensive use of email campaigns to keep in touch with our community.

From fortnightly and monthly newsletters through to on-going loyalty campaigns for new users, email newsletters help us keep our 1,000s of Partners in the loop and up to date with helpful hints and tips for building Online Businesses with BC.

Combined with a range of other mediums, email marketing remains a crucial element of BC's online strategy, with our Business Success newsletter sending to our wider community of over 10,000 web designers and developers each month.

In this article, we'll share some tips we've picked up over time that we hope will help you fine-tune your own email campaigns and better communicate with your customers.

Where do I subscribe?

Subscribe Box

Before you even get started:

How do your visitors sign up to receive your newsletter?

Having a healthy list of opted-in recipients is your first step to a successful email campaign, so make sure your subscribe box is easily found and takes no more than a few seconds to fill out.

Another great way to encourage subscriptions is to add the option to any web forms your visitors may be using. This includes "Contact Us" forms through to the checkout form if you run an online shop.

Frequency vs. Value

While it's always good to keep the flow of communication alive, it's also important that you endeavor to provide high value content to your readers.

By all means send a weekly email to your customers, but ensure that it doesn't cross the line into "spam" territory.

Spam Folder

The best way to test this is to ask yourself a simple question: "As a reader, why does this matter to me?" If you're stuck for an answer, then maybe you should go back to the drawing board and rethink your content strategy.

It's difficult to define "value", as it's all about your unique set of subscribers. If you're a web designer providing a weekly update to your clients however, this may include articles on effectively running an Online Business, guides to marketing through social media, or information on post-sales services you offer that will help them succeed online.

Penning a Potent Subject Line

Never underestimate the power of a killer subject line.

At the end of the day, without a clear understanding of what the email contains, it's unlikely that your readers will even open the campaign, let alone see your carefully crafted content.

Keep your subject line to-the-point and make sure that even on face value, it's easy to understand what your newsletter is all about.

If your campaign is part of a series, it's a good idea to include the series name and issue number in the subject line, so the reader has an idea of it's context.

Hint: If you have a customer database of a reasonable size, try your hand at A / B testing. Simply slice your list down the middle, then send each half the same campaign, but with different subject lines. Leave it a few days, then compare the open rates of the two subject lines to determine which was more effective.

Monitor, Review, Repeat

Subscribe Box

Your best friend in improving the effectiveness of your email campaigns is performance monitoring.

Figures to watch out for are your open rate, click rate, and if you're a BC user, your action rate.

If you're aiming for increased visits to a page on your website, but are seeing poor click-through rates, perhaps rethink the placing of your calls to action. Again, A / B testing is a great way to test what works and what doesn't.

The next time you go to send a newsletter, you'll have a better understanding of what attracts your reader's attention and what they're clicking on.

What's Next?

Crafting a successful email campaign is all about finding that unique formula that works for you and your business.

The best way to fine-tune your newsletters is to constantly try, test and revise your methods, taking in knowledge from the wealth of resources available online. Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

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Last month, we looked at Automating Customer Service using BC. This month we're looking at how to "Generate New Leads" as a strategy for your Online Business. Check out what we had to say last October, as part of our 6 Online Business Strategies.

Help Your Clients Qualify and Generate New Leads

Do your clients have a strategy or a process for generating new leads and passing them on to their sales team? Do they sell a highly customized or intangible product that can't simply be given a price and sold online?

Business Owners today are using web forms and quotes to automate the process of qualifying and generating leads. They're using workflows to alert the sales team via email and SMS, cutting the time the customer is waiting for their enquiry to be followed-up.

Here are some great examples of lead generation and capture on BC:

SimpleFlame - lead generation from a rebranded partner...

For our partners, you can optimize your own lead generation process by following this great example created by SimpleFlame. By placing effective calls to action at the base of the page they are funneling visitors to their contact page. The contact page uses a customized web form to capture additional information, including company details, cell phone number and most importantly, the type of job that the prospect is interested in engaging Simpleflame to quote and complete.

Every time this form is submitted, a workflow is triggered, alerting the sales team via email and SMS. If you or your client have large sales teams, you can use Customer Service Ticketing to delegate the enquiries to the team member with the least load. For more information on setting up CST, visit the:

House Of Bamboo - capturing leads using web forms...

Created by Click2It, this Online Business uses two highly customized contact forms to capture and qualify leads. You'll notice that the contact form collects information regarding the current project the prospect is working on. This is important for businesses who offer services that can't be sold online because the quoting process is too complex. Collecting this additional information gives the sales team a better understanding of the lead, allowing them to generate quotes and take a more personalized approach.

House of Bamboo also has a seperate business contact form, helping seperate sales leads from business or career enquiries.

Selling the 'Generate New Leads' Strategy To Your Clients

A familiar theme exists in the two sites we've looked at - they both effectively direct prospects to customized web forms, generating and qualifying new leads. These forms capture additional information about the lead which greatly helps the sales team in approaching them.

Sell this as a strategy to your clients where you can help them generate new leads by wisely placing calls to action, implementing customized contact forms and triggering workflows which automatically notify the sales team via emails and text messages.

In the next post, we'll be looking at how BC Partners have built sites that Build Customer Loyalty for their Clients. 

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In the last post, we looked at some great examples of Blogs and Email Marketing on BC. This time, we're looking at how to "Automate Your Customer Service" as a strategy for your Online Business. Check out what we had to say last October, as part of our 6 Online Business Strategies.

Help Your Clients Serve Their Customers

Does your client find themselves on the phone all day? Do their customers complain that they can't be contacted after hours?

Today, Business Owners are using self-help portals to automate their customer service allowing them to work on the business, not the phones. They're using web-forms to qualify enquiries before directing them to the right person to answer them, and they're directing customers to FAQs, how-to's and do-it-yourself articles. All this cuts down the live help load.

Here are some great examples of automated customer service on BC:

Spitfire - great service from a rebranded partner...

For our rebranding partners, you can turn your free partner site into a self-help portal for your own clients by following this fantastic example created by MDX Interactive. Once an existing customer logs in, they are provided with links to a knowledge base of self-help tutorials, video training, forums and the unbranded Online Business Wiki. Setting up a secure support zone for your client's customers will help ease the demand for time-consuming Live Help.

Bogan Bingo - automating booking enquiries...

Created by Renaissance Funk, this fun Online Business is managing booking enquiries using web forms. You'll notice that the form collects details such as Venue, Date and No. of Guests, alerting the business owner of the enquiry and allowing them to quote a price based on these fields. You can set up a similar system up for your client using Web Forms, triggering a Workflow that notifies them when a new enquiry is made.

Food Matters - serving customers with an FAQ...

Always Interactive has helped Food Matters answer customer queries by building an extensive FAQ that provides all the relevent information in one place. For example, clicking "Can I call to place an order over the phone?" provides customers with a direct phone number they can call. FAQs are a great way of organizing the most important information for your client's customers in one, easy to navigate page.

Selling the 'Automate Your Customer Service' Strategy To Your Clients

Although employing different tactics, there's a familiar theme present in all three sites we've looked at - they all succeed providing customers with the information they need in an automated and efficient manner. This strategy is about taking the stress and distraction away from the business owner by streamlining the customer service process and allowing them to focus on running their business

Help your clients automate their customer service by implementing features such as FAQ's, Enquiry Forms and building Self-Help Portals for their customers.

In the next post, we'll be looking at how BC Partners have built sites that Generate New Leads for their Clients. 

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bardia housman

Saying goodbye Russell..

I had a call from one of customers, LoDingo yesterday. They sell a huge range of digital audio products. If you are thinking of travelling any time soon, then I strongly recommend visiting their online store to buy a digital audio tour of the country you are visiting. But this post is not meant to be an advertisement for LoDingo.

As one of our longest serving customers, I've received numerous emails and phone calls from these guys. They're constantly discussing ways to improve our system which ultimately improves how they run their online business. Yesterday I was told that one of their team members Russell was moving on. I just wanted to take a moment and send a big cheerio to Russell, who over the years, through his constant feedback has done a lot to improve our product. I wish him all the best for his future endeavors.
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