Earlier this summer, while out at Adobe in July, I worked with the BC team to [re]discover the value proposition of Business Catalyst. We zero'd back in on "Online Businesses, not Websites."
The statement is powerful for any web designer to come to grips with in the small to medium business space. The last two releases have begun to key into this value proposition. Adobe will continue to deliver.
But for us, it's too easy to fall back into the rut of saying "I'm a web designer," because people get that. They know who that person is.
Getting into "Online Business Builder" mentality and language-use can take more time, more discipline, more study, more exploration.
My San Jose partner conference presentation last month touched on this idea. It was just a brief toe dip into this exciting pool.
Several partners came up afterwards saying things like, "you changed my perspective on what I'm doing" or "BC is bigger than I thought."
Talking to you about this subject makes me imagine we are studied Japanese Samurai...perched on a cliff drinking hot tea...discussing war theory and philosophy before heading to battle.
The theory is that websites alone are dead. Gone are the days of the 5-page online brochure. Dead as nails are the "welcome to my website..." intro headlines. We are above these trivial executions of our craft.
Climbing above the wastelands of "free" websites come our ONLINE BUSINESS solutions.
Solutions worth investing in. When presented right, our prospective clients get it. They spend good money for them.
But if all you know how to do is design websites, then you too are to be left in the dust. Join that wasteland or learn the theory, strategy, and tactics of the Online Business partners.
Originally when BC came out, "Online Businesses" was just getting these 5 systems in one dashboard. Anyone with website development experience for small businesses knows having these 5 systems in one hosted solution is hugely valuable by itself.
It won't take us forward.
Discovered in July was the need to get these 5 systems connected to do game changing workflows not possible in other platforms. Instead of making any of the individual silo's compete against other specialized software, we explored how these tools can work together to solve unique pains.
Our clients manage tons of content in their sites AND they send out lots of emails. Until last month, those two things were silo'ed. Blogs, Web Apps, E-commerce could not influence what content was delivered to your clients' lists. The data was in BC, but it was not accessible.
Now it is.
Armed with unlimited list view templates, you can now create these types of effective tools for your clients:
Part of having the "Online Business" conversation with your clients and prospects is getting the chance to talk about these features as they relate to potential strategies for that business.
Asking, "How can we use this to solve real pains you have right now?"
Here are two big business owner pains that are solved:
You can generate a set of rules to run a "Customer Report" in BC. You can save this report and then send emails to this list. Before each email is sent, BC re-grabs the list based on your saved report data.
Lets expand on a couple of workflows from above:
Once we had new capabilities in Email Marketing to include dynamic content and to dynamically segment and exclude people on our lists, what else would solve big pains?
In San Jose, the idea of "Recurring" campaigns came up. This feature is not yet road-mapped, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came out before the end of the year.
Right now in BC, you have one-off and loyalty campaigns. Which made sense when email content wasn't dynamically driven. When you had to actually write in all of the content to individual emails, recurring didn't make sense. You wouldn't want to send your clients the same email over and over.
Now that has changed.
What if you could create a single "weekly" email for a real estate client that each week it automatically sent loading data from your listings web app.
Or a monthly newsletter for a client that took the most recent blog post content and turned it into a "newsletter" look and added registration links for the next two webinars your client was holding.
Or create a 7 part intro loyalty series, but if the customer purchases a product on your website, then they will stop getting the loyalty series and instead be added to your "daily deals" emails.
Even using the term "added" to a list doesn't make sense because your lists aren't really lists. They are just sets of rules you created to either send emails to people or not send.
You get the idea.
Getting access to more data in BC to send "smart" campaigns is going to continue. In the most recent releases there is a new feature that allows list segmentation during the email campaign creation process. Other things on Adobe's radar:
I have been studying Online Business, Traffic, and Conversion for several years now. I will begin to use these new features in BC to do really effective online marketing for my own site and my clients'.
What workflows have you opened due to the new functionality?
As a platform, we can now do things that other tools can't. There are possibilities with Business Catalyst with these email features, reporting, and unlimited list layouts that you cannot do in other software. These workflows will change how we drive traffic and convert traffic into REAL BUSINESS for Online Businesses we build.
Join me in having this conversation with the BC partner community.
What Online Business strategies and tactics are you using or thinking about now with BC?
What could Adobe unlock in BC with existing data to do additional workflows?