Business Catalyst Partner Showcase Mike Sallander, Chicago Digital Mike Sallander, Chicago Digital

On the BC platform

What do your clients like about using BC?

Our clients appreciate that Business Catalyst makes managing and marketing their websites easy, affordable, and effective. They see BC as the hassle-free way to grow a thriving online business.

Chicago Digital is a small business itself, but we deliver powerful results and BC helps us do that. Our clients like that we can relate to their challenges and they know that we wouldn’t sell them on any solutions that we wouldn’t use ourselves. The comprehensive functionality of BC, with a simple user-interface and easy-to-use tools, allows us to position our clients and their online businesses to flourish.

How is developing on BC different from your previous development process?

Simply put, BC is the most efficient, cost-effective way to develop a website. By partnering with Adobe and leveraging their state-of-the-art technological prowess, we’re free to devote our time and focus to our customers. This allows us to deliver a highly customized, cutting-edge website on time and on budget.

Before Business Catalyst, the development of a website was a needlessly cumbersome process in some ways. Time and resources spent on server setups, back-end coding, maintenance, and other development steps made it difficult for small businesses to rationalize the cost of running an online business. Consequently, they had a tougher time competing with bigger websites.

With easier web development through BC, we aren’t just building a website for our clients, we are taking the time to strategize and implement a successful plan.

What are the strengths of BC compared to other systems?

Developing using BC is faster, less expensive, and more reliable than conventional alternatives. Having industry heavyweight Adobe behind BC allows us to level the playing field and compete with larger, more established companies.

The cloud-based model and amazing ease of website replication (literally seconds) are impressive and useful features. For developers, there is no need to reinvent the wheel – deploying best practices and applying customizations where needed to build effective websites that can be deployed quickly.

With a standardized platform and an all-in-one system, each party involved in the creation of a website enjoys the ease of development, design, and maintenance. So all that time and money saved directly benefits our clients.

Chicago Digital

On Being a BC Partner

What are your favorite aspects of the Partner Program, and why?

Through the Partner Program, we were equipped with excellent tools and resources when getting our agency off the ground.

In addition, our clients know that an Adobe partnership prevents a business from escaping accountability, so they feel even more comfortable enlisting our services. With thousands of online marketing agencies to choose from, it can be really difficult to separate the great from the not-so-great. So in many ways, the Partner Program grants us additional credibility. Our customers know that we have the support of a great company and that we use the best resources to propel their businesses forward.

Looking back, how do you feel about your decision to become a BC Partner?

At Chicago Digital, we are not only online business strategists – we pride ourselves in our ability to identify great opportunities and commit to directions that make sense for us and for our clients. Becoming a Business Catalyst Partner was a defining moment for our company, but while it was a pivotal decision, it was one of the easiest to make.

The Business Catalyst platform and tools directly support some of the most important facets of growing an online business. Chicago Digital offers comprehensive solutions and tools, but first we listen to and educate our clients so that we create a result that is tailored to fit their needs exactly, and one that positions them to run a successful business online. This approach and model parallels that of BC, so it’s an easy and compatible partnership, one that I’m sure we’ll never regret.

How has BC helped you grow your design business?

Customer experience and success are paramount at Chicago Digital; our ability to deliver great, measurable results using BC has helped us thrive.

It is not uncommon for some web designers and developers to lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down in segmented pieces of the whole website development and marketing puzzle. As a result, the client’s business suffers, and time and money is wasted.

Chicago Digital creates a clear vision for our clients and Business Catalyst’s integrated system, complete with excellent capabilities in e-commerce, crm, cms, reporting, and email (and many other tools) allows us to deliver on the high expectations we set for ourselves and our work.

Shortly after starting Chicago Digital, we made the decision to only develop websites using Business Catalyst. For this reason I can confidently say: Our standardization and focus on Business Catalyst is one of the key ingredients that have taken us from a start-up to an agency.

Show us some of your work on BC

Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce

The goal of this site is to be the central hub of information for the Wicker Park Bucktown community in Chicago, IL. A key requirement of the project was to utilize a content management system (CMS) that would enable nontechnical chamber staff to manage the website. Previously, site visitors and admin users had to go to multiple places to accomplish what can now be done in one place.

Business Catalyst has streamlined the experience for both the Chamber and community members. Now, staff can easily create neighborhood and chamber calendars that receive payments and handle RSVPs. They can also process new member applications, keep chamber members informed on the latest news, create neighborhood itineraries, manage member directories, add new commercial properties, and feature local business’ in their community blog. Leveraging web apps in Business Catalyst, the Chamber site promotes exclusive offers to members and public offers to non-members.

Chicks Flicks

We had a lot of fun building this movie rating website. Chicago Digital brought this client idea to life by taking care of everything from branding to site development. What makes this site different is it gives visitors an idea if they will like the movie or not at a glance, by using a variety of visual rating systems.

The site also encourages community interaction from the “flock”. The “flock” can submit chick ratings to currently rated movies, create wish lists, suggest movies to be rated, and access advanced search capabilities.

Business Catalyst was an excellent fit for this project as it gave our client the ability to easily manage hundreds of movie ratings. A movie input form was built that could be accessed from a tablet. Once submitted, the movie ratings would automatically populate in the appropriate places of the website. Chicks Flicks also uses the CRM functionality to manage members of the “flock” and their email marketing to promote the website.

BC Academe

The BC Academe teaches people around the world how to develop on Business Catalyst. The BC Academe brings the classroom experience online through the use of live instructor led courses that lead students step by step in creating websites. Their hands on approach to teaching and reviewing empower them to issue certifications, giving confidence to the industry that these skills have been achieved.

The entire website and student portal was built using Secure Zones and Web Apps within Business Catalyst. All course registrations are handled using Events Module, Web Apps, Secure Zones, and Web Forms in Business Catalyst. From the student portal users can: access and submit weekly assignments, sign up for live webinars, download past webinars, participate in a student forum, and communicate with the instructors via online tickets and live chat. The portal handles multiple courses and overlapping occurrences of the same course that need access to different material.

Since Business Catalyst is an all-in-one system, it makes it easier to track everything that is going on at the BC Academe, from student assignment submissions, webinar attendance, sales of courses, e-mail list contacts, and more.

Thank you, Mike! You can find out more about Chicago Digital and what their clients had to say about their work at www.chicagodigital.com.

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