Thursday, August 18, 2011

HubSpot: A Growing Resource for Growing Businesses

HubSpot has already gained a deservedly positive reputation as an enabler of online business success. The company's all-in-one marketing solution is already helping thousands of businesses to engage with customers and prospects and to grow every day. And HubSpot is the largest and most popular online "app store" for marketing solutions.

Now, HubSpot itself is growing. Fueled by $32 million in investment from companies such as Google Ventures, and Sequoia Capital, HubSpot in June 2011 announced acquisition of Performable. That company's solution enables performance analysis of sales and marketing efforts, including e-mail and "the mobile, social cloud." And on August 18, 2011, HubSpot has announced that it's acquiring Oneforty, creators of a directory of social media business applications and the social media marketing tool Socialbase.

These acquisitions are great news, for the companies involved and for all of their respective customers. Decision makers at growing businesses need and want the resources and abilities offered by HubSpot, Performable and Oneforty. To be able to acquire all of these from a proven, committed and growing solution supplier should make life easier and better for almost any marketer. And the combined strengths of these providers' offerings should result in new services and solutions for those seeking to succeed at social marketing and social media and network management.

Congratulations to the founders and teams at HubSpot and its recently acquired allies. Customers and prospects should be excited – and competitors should be even more nervous. Make sure to keep following the evolution of modern marketing solutions, here and at Comparz!

Note: A version of this content originally appeared at More information is available at that site.

Schedulicity: Client Scheduling and Social Outreach, Made Easy

Is it worth $20 a month to you to make it ridiculously easy for you to empower your clients to schedule appointments with you? And for you to engage with them online in ways that make them happier and make you more money?

Those were rhetorical questions that nonetheless have two answers. The first is "of course it is." The second is "heck, yes, which is why you should already be using Schedulicity."

Schedulicity is a one-stop online shop that enables you to enable anyone to book an appointment with you, whatever business you're in. And the folks at Schedulicity have taken basic calendar management and scheduling and added all kinds of nifty social networking features, so that you can use the service to build and enhance all of your client relationships – even from a tablet or a smartphone.

You can let users reach and schedule appointment with you via, your own Web site, your Facebook page and/or via Twitter. And Schedulicity lets each client see and manage a "personal account" page showing past and upcoming appointments and reminders. And it's all free for your clients.

You, meanwhile, can use Schedulicity to manage your schedule, handle cancellations and rescheduling and even promote upcoming classes, workshops or special deals. Schedulicity even includes features that help you to manage "daily deals" with companies such as Groupon and Living Social. You can, for example, control the number of discounted appointments you want on any particular day.

If you can use an online calendar and/or Facebook and/or Twitter, you can sign up for and start using Schedulicity, probably in about the time it's taken you to read this far. (If your business is more than you, Schedulicity will cost you $39 per month for you and as many as 19 colleagues.) And you will then have access to all of the information and most of the tools you're likely to need to manage your schedules AND your client relationships. Keep track of their preferences (and even their birthdays). Tell them about upcoming special deals. Do pretty sophisticated e-mail marketing with easy-to-use templates. And more.

Schedulicity gives your business the power to deliver "better-than-most-big-companies" scheduling and client care, even if your business is only you. And the company behind it has scheduled more than five million appointments, so they've gotten pretty good at making and keeping the service robust, reliable and simple.

If you deal with clients who need to schedule appointments with you, for anything from accounting services to yoga classes, throw away the sticky notes and that overflowing bound calendar, and sign up for Schedulicity. (Of course they offer a free, no-credit-card-required trial.) It's a win for you and for your clients.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Four Essential Elements of Every Successful Webinar

Webinars can help your business to engage, inform, persuade and invite customers, partners and prospects. When done right, Webinars build awareness, positive perception and positioning of your company as a thought leader and trusted advisor. And you only need four things to get each and every Webinar right.

An audience – which means you've got to create compelling content for the Webinar itself (see below) and to help to promote the event. A great Web site landing page that makes people want to register and attend – and makes it brain-dead simple to do so. Oh, and a key message or theme that “grabs” that audience. (Hint: one key message per event, please.)

Compelling content – not what you want to say, but what your audience wants and needs to hear, and can use to benefit their organizations. One 5-minute credible success story featuring one of your customers is more compelling (and better positioning for you) than an hour about your newest features. (Hint: Don't forget transcripts of the audio, downloadable-on-demand archive recordings and copies of slides – all opportunities to increase perceived value and reinforce that key message.)

The right platform – with pricing starting at free and broad ranges of features, there's bound to be one that meets your needs. At minimum, you'll need easy set-up, recording options and tools for Q&A and audience tracking. (Hint: visit for Web conferencing user and expert reviews and a Decision Guide.)

A practical plan – a complete, well-organized strategy for all of the above. Identifying the key message and desired audience. Engaging with and attracting that audience. Developing, acquiring and coordinating the content needed. Identifying, selecting and deploying the right platform. Scripting, rehearsing, moderating and delivering the event. Following up in ways that maximize business benefit and audience satisfaction, and set the stage for doing it even better the next time. (Hint: write this first.)

For more helpful tips, see the Web conferencing blog posts at and check out the Webcasts and Roundtables at Then start having perfect Webinars of your own!