bardia housman

Email Marketing v2 continued..

Back in July I wrote about a major enhancement we were making to Business Catalyst's Email Marketing feature. With the new release now entrenched in BC and being used on a daily basis by our customers, I wanted to highlight what this really means for a business owner. If you are a newbie or even a veteran in the email marketing space, you'll know that the only metrics available to you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns are things like: how many people received your newsletter, how many opened it, which links where clicked on and so forth. Our new approach goes beyond open rates and bounces and measures customer actions. Actions are those things that customers do on your website that have a bottom-line impact, e.g. customer purchased $200 from your online shop (as a result of your email newsletter), or customer booked into your upcoming event (as a result of your email newsletter) and so forth.

Below is a campaign we sent out to a segment of our customer base at the beginning of September. The results are both fascinating and demonstrative of how clearly we are able to measure the effectiveness of our campaign.

After we sent this campaign we filled 12 out of the 14 spots of an online training course we are holding, and we received a number of other enquiries on other matters. The results speak for themselves. Campaign successful! I certainly believe this heralds a new era in email marketing.

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bardia housman

Business Catalyst running Business Catalyst

This past weekend was all about BarCamp and as a new attendee, I can only give the experience two thumbs up. There was a real mix of entrepreneurs both seasoned and those starting up and the level of discussions was non short of passionate. We did our presentation at 10:30am and as Brett mentions in his post, we got a great reception to the product. One of the questions we got asked during our session was whether we run our online business through Business Catalyst. And of course the answer is unequivocally 'yes'.

But it made me think. What is it that we actually use BC for and what would we do it if there was no BC. At a basic level we use Business Catalyst to host our website and run our corporate email. We use it for all our email marketing campaigns. We use it to do our customer service and manage SLAs. We use the recurring billing system to send out invoices to our customers and automate the collection of payments from them. We use it as our contact management aka CRM system. And the list goes on.

What's scary is if we had to buy each of these components from separate providers and manage them as one cohesive system. I'd even go as far as saying that I think we'd need to hire a junior person to shovel our information from one system to another to undertake all the sales, service and marketing activities that our business needs. But then there is the cost factor. But we can leave that for another time!


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bardia housman

Email Marketing v2?

Today we put the final touches on our new revamped email marketing reporting framework  which we will be adding to Business Catalyst. To give some background, email marketing has been a part of our plaform for a few years now and the reporting is definitely due for a facelift. But in that time we've launched our Goals Framework which acts like a brain for all Business Catalyst customers. The new reporting framework will provide customers with information previously near impossible or too time consuming to collect. Email marketing is a commodity and you can expect reports such as: open rates, bounces, popular links, subscriptions and unsubscriptions from almost any provider. Now imagine without having to add a single line of code to your Business Catalyst website, you get stats like:

Of those who opened the email:

  • 10% bought product x, 22% bought product y
  • 23% filled in your "December Sales Enquiry Form"
  • 5% subscribed to your other monthly newsletter
  • 22% made a comment on your blog
  • Average sale price via the online shop was $344
  • and the list goes on..

I'm pretty excited about this improvement and what it'll mean for our customers and partners. I know it'll turn the email marketing game upside down!

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Brett Welch | BC

BC Interface Makeover - first look

As promised, here's a sneak peek of our upcoming interface change.

Keep in mind this is still in the early stages, so things may change. That said, the general structure (tabbed navigation, menu location, action box and so forth) will not change much from here :)

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Brett Welch | BC

BC Tip: Fullscreen Ahoy!

It's been a while since I posted a useful little tip, so I figured it's about time :)

When you're editing a web page - or any content using our WYSIWYG editor for that matter - you can enter full screen mode simply by clicking inside the editor and pressing F11.

Try it out - you'll find that suddenly having all that real estate to work in quite liberating!

When you're done and you want your screen back, simply press F11 to return to the normal view.
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Brett Welch | BC

New BC interface coming soon

How exciting! A new look and feel for the interface...  it was definitely due for an update. Here's the official announcement:

"It's been in the works for a while now, but we're getting ready to start unveiling BC's new look! We started on this project at the beginning of the year, aiming to:
  • Increase user friendliness
  • Make the interface more intuitive and faster to navigate
  • Update to a more modern look and feel
After much consultation and consideration we've come up with a new interface that achieves the goals above while respecting the workflow of current users. In fact, we think all the expert users will love the changes too! In the next few weeks or so we'll start giving you a sneak peek..."

I've seen some initial mock ups and the new interface looks really sweet. The work flow remains largely the same, but the new interface should both save time and be easier for new users to pick up.

Soon I'll post a picture!

Until then...

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Brett Welch | BC

Say Hello To Mario!

It seems only yesterday that I introduced Shane and welcomed him to the Business Catalyst Family.

And now once again, I'm proud to announce another great addition to the team and introduce him to you all.

We've spent the last week or two training him on the system, and while there is still much to learn I think he's ready to start answering your support queries. So as of this week, you would have started receiving some emails from our newest Support Engineer, Mario.

Mario has a long history of providing great customer service in various companies around Australia, with experience in a range of industries. We're confident that at Business Catalyst, he'll continue to do just that!

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Brett Welch | BC

Curly Urly pt II - dynamic pages and argument passing

 A few months back I wrote a post called "Curly Urly". In that post I described in a high level sort of way how you can send extra information to a page to do some interesting things, like pre-populate a web form field or jump to a section in the page.

Lately we've been getting a few support emails on this again, and it seems more detail is needed - so I've written a bit more here - Curly Urly part 2!

BC has a module you can use in your web pages that that allows you to capture information that you have appended to a URL. That module is { module_url }
What does this mean? Well say you want to prepopulate a bookings web form with a package name of some sort.

Let's make the URL of the page

So I have a range of packages who's details are on other, different pages. When someone clicks on the links I need to know which package they were looking at, and prepopulate the web form with the package that they actually want to book.

So I can put the package name in the URL, like this:
And for other packages it might look like this:

You get the idea.

Now this is where { module_url } comes in - it allows me to retrieve what comes after "package=".
You use it by putting the module in the HTML of your page, including what you have put before the "=" sign.

So in this case, I would put { module_url,package } to retrieve either Platinum, Gold or Silver.

Below are some steps to use this module.

1. Insert a link to your page with the form on it manually using the link manager, and then modify the link to add "arguments" to the URL. So when you are done, the link would be like this:
2. Then go to the page with the actual form on it. Then, in a text box on the form (or in javascript even) you put { module_url, <parameter> }. In this example you would put { module_url,package }. This will then be replaced by the text that comes after the "=" sign - in this case it would be replaced by "Platinum".

Thats it!

How you use this module isn't limited to web forms though. You can use this module in many many ways - it's only limited to your imagination....

Have fun!

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Brett Welch | BC

Important Changes To Our Training

From next week, all training sessions will be conducted using Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. This means that you'll need a microphone and speakers - or preferably a headset that combines the two like this one:

Why are we making this change? Well we need to support our partners and customers from all over the globe, and landline based telephony just wasn't cutting it anymore. Secondly we'll soon be able to record audio and visuals so that in the future we can save training sessions for review at a later date.

So over the weekend, here's what I think you should do:

  1. Run out and grab a headset - It shouldn't cost much.
  2. Test it out using Skype with a friend - now you can call friends and family using Skype, free.
  3. Book in to our Q&A session on either Tuesday or Thursday.
  4. Relax and recharge for next week!
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Brett Welch | BC

Updated & New Help Has Arrived!

Last year we buried ourselves in reams of paper rewriting our help materials to create an extensive training manual. It took a few months (you'll notice how quiet this blog went towards the end of last year!) but we finally got it out.

However, the relentless pace of progress caught up all too quickly, and the manual needed updating almost the day it came out!

So once more we locked someone in a room to update the manual and add new sections to it (this time it was Barry's turn mwahaha...). We've done a whole bunch of other help related stuff too, like...

New Training Manual
You can download the manual from the web admin - just click in the top right corner here:

and then here:

Note that you can download individual sections too.

An Online Version Of The Training Manual
The entire manual can be read online! Here's a link you can bookmark - Read the training manual

Updated Contextual Help
Click on the help tab anywhere in the system and you'll get help in context to what you are looking at right now. This help section really needed some TLC - so we've totally rebuilt it incorporating the new training manual.

Help Search (Search forums, articles and the manual)
This one was certainly a long-awaited, much requested feature! Now you can search the help manual plus all the forums and knowledge articles in the system.

Unfortunately my search for meaning came up with no results....

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