March 19th webinar on Web Apps

This month, we'll meet Wednesday, March 19, for a webinar focused on using BC web apps.

Tarik Essadki from Creativaholic Group and Author at BC Tweaks will showcase a special project where his team built a Micro-CMS alike and a Micro-Site for another BC Partner using only Web Apps with a combination of other modules.

This demo will showcase some very interesting insights on how to combine different modules and features in BC to create a very robust, complex and yet simple functionality to produce a seamless experience for Business Owners and their team.

Don't forget to register here:

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.
Thank you and hope to see you in this month’s webinar.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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Take note that the normal Sandpile time may have changed for you. All times are adjusted in relation to San Francisco, US.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays, 5pm
  • New York City: Tuesdays, 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, midnight
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, 11am

Fundamentals of Javascript with Mark Lassoff - 11th March (12th in AUS) 2013
Author and Javascript expert Mark Lassoff will examine what Javascript's capabilities are relative to the new HTML5 paradigm and show you how to get started with basic coding. Attendees will be provided with a complementary digital copy of Lassoff's best selling book.
Details: http://thri.se/1kHEuw6

Best Practices for Email Marketing - 18th March (19th in AUS) 2013
This meeting is devoted to finding out how partners manage some of the best practices for email marketing within BC, and how they work towards best practice. For example, is there a better way to handle updating subscriber options other than a basic 'unsubscribe'?
Details: http://thri.se/1kHEts0

The UX Checklist: 10 Steps to Better Design - 25th March (26th in AUS) 2013
Do you have a system to make your websites user-friendly? For your next web project try using a User Experience (UX) checklist. Information Architecture & User Experience Consultant Mary Kennedy will review 10 simple, yet effective, tactics to ensure better user experiences.
Details: http://thri.se/1kHEsEz

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

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Webinars you've missed in February

In February Scott B Reynolds from Thrise presented several times on how to design and develop BC Apps. In his first webinar he discussed how to prepare and design a BC App before touching any code. To help make the process easier Scott gave away his BC App UI Kit. This kit is a Photoshop file allowing BC Partners to save time by quickly laying out app designs before opening a code editor.

In his second webinar Scott walked through the steps necessary to build a BC App, including where to start, how to create and adjust menu items, working with app landing pages, and how to use BC’s SDK.

Webinar Recordings:

BC App Resources:

And during the February Brass Tacks session, Brett Stockley and Liam Dilley from Pretty talked about upcoming changes in the product and how these will improve your BC activity, BC Apps and answered Partners' questions.

Brass Tacks February recording

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.

Enjoy&stay tuned for more interesting webinars in March!

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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B2B Email Marketing - Guest Article

This month, we're ending email marketing month with a guest article on B2B Email Marketing powered by Innovaxis, a BC Partner with a solid experience in marketing services, email campaigns, PR, website development, social media, channel development and more. 

They are sharing their key learning in the B2B email marketing field: 


B2B Email Marketing: Love It or Hate It?

Most business owners and executives get between 50-200 emails a day. This makes it very difficult to get their attention with an email campaign. However, if done effectively, and as part of an overall sales and marketing campaign, email campaigns can generate quality leads. Otherwise, email campaigns can be a complete waste of time, result in prospects sending your email to the spam folder or even get your company’s email domain blacklisted.

List Acquisition

Some businesses out there use Data.com and NetProspex because both services offer full contact information, including email for $0.60 to $1.00 per name and you own the list. Renting lists doesn’t work because you won’t get any of the tracking: who opened the email, how often, what they clicked on, did they unsubscribe, etc. From our experience, up to 30% of the addresses you acquire will bounce – people move around a lot these days.

The more targeted list, and the message, the better. We’ve sent email campaigns to plant managers of refineries nationwide, CFOs of mid-sized manufacturers in the Upper Midwest and superintendents of every school district in the Chicagoland area – with messages that would only appeal to these groups so they know we specifically want to talk to them and are not spamming everyone and their brother.

Email Construction

This subject has been covered many times before, so I’ll keep my tips brief:

  • Use an email template reflects the design language of the site
  • Include 2-3 “hooks”: something interesting/educational, a download (e.g. video, guide, whitepaper) and something promotional (e.g. an offer, event invitation)
  • Like your web pages, don’t include so much content that it scrolls – people don’t like to scroll, they click so also include links back to your website for more information
  • Break up paragraphs of text with headings, bullets and small images
  • Make sure your email title and first 100-150 characters of the email body are compelling – this is what determines if someone will open it, delete it or junk it
  • Avoid spam triggers, including “free”, “exclusive offer” and even “click here&rdquo
  • Avoid newsletters: newsletters are about you and people want to read about something that directly pertains to them
  • Send from a person’s name (info@ and sales@ go mostly to junk) but don’t use their main email address as the number of bounces and out-of-office notices can overload your inbox and some will mark the email as spam so you can never get an email to them after that (and you may want to email them directly, outside of a campaign, at a later date)

Drip Marketing

Unless you’re promoting something hot that practically sells itself, one-off email campaigns don’t work. You need to get emails out to your target market every month – more than this can feel spammy and increase unsubscribes. And realize that it’s unlikely that someone will receive the email, grab the phone and place an order. Best case: a few may respond with some kind of interest. More common: some will hold onto it and return to it later, when it’s a better time. We’ve had people respond with genuine interest to an email six months to a year later. And rather than sitting back and waiting for someone to respond, you’ll want to make sure you…

Follow Up

The best use of an email campaign is to warm up your target market for a call. It’s even better when you precede the email campaign with a promotional marketing campaign or direct mail piece. Something sent in the mail is more likely to be seen than an email and can generate response rates of 20-50%. The best email open rate we’ve seen in recent years is around 40% - it’s usually 7-15% for prospecting emails and 10-25% for campaigns to clients, former clients and other people that already know you. This means that 60-90%+ of your target market will never open any given email you send, so you don’t want to have all your eggs in that basket. For those that do open your email, we often see very few click-throughs and responses.

If you want your email campaign to generate leads, you need to follow up with recipients by phone within 1-2 days of sending it, or there is virtually no chance they’ll remember seeing it. We target those that opened the email multiple times but did not contact you – this is no guarantee they’re interested, but they are more likely than someone that didn’t open it at all. You need someone to do this follow up who genuinely likes talking to people, doesn’t get discouraged when hung up upon and who can think on their feet. This is usually an inside sales person and/or marketing coordinator.

The follow-up will be easier if there is a juicy promotion or a “no-brainer” type offer – for example, we offer prospective clients a free, comprehensive website audit that focuses on content, SEO and usability. If they’re interested, this “qualified lead” can be given to outside sales. It’s our experience that outside sales, especially seasoned veterans, will not do this lead qualification (a.k.a. “bird-dogging”) – they already have a sales pipeline in place and will look down on calling people that simply opened up an email.

Love or Hate

Don’t expect much from your email campaigns if you whip them together quickly, just send them out once or twice and don’t follow them up. If you take the time and incorporate your email campaigns as part of an overall sales and marketing effort, they can play a central role in lead generation and increased sales for you and your clients. Let us know if I can help you in any way.


Thank you Innovaxis for this great article! For more valuable tips and tricks on email marketing and other topics, feel free to get in touch with Sean Parnell from the Innovaxis Marketing team.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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After you’ve finished your beautiful website design in Muse, now make it stand out and start increasing your site's impact by adding an online store, blogs, email marketing, event bookings, a customer database and more - with Business Catalyst.

In this video you'll learn how you can set up Muse and BC to work together so you can take advantage of all the features of a full BC ecommerce solution and still do all your design work in Muse.



Let your clients build targeted recipient lists and send personalized email marketing campaigns with just a few clicks. Set up pre-configured email newsletter templates for clients to select and customize on the fly. Read more about upgrading a basic site to take advantage of more possibilities.

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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.

player

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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