5 Things I Learned from a Freshbooks Presentation on Making Love to Customers

Mike McDerment, Freshbooks’ CEO, was the first speaker at the AIM conference.

His presentation called “How to Make Love to your Customer” was a great start to get the attendees thinking about creative internet marketing strategies.

Freshbooks is a great example of a product/service filling an important need. It offers simple invoicing for small businesses/consultants so that we can focus on the more exciting parts of our businesses.

Here are 5 points I took from the presentation

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Social Media is great for Unexpected Publicity

A Freshbooks blog post about a new Triscuits flavour led to an article in a New Zealand newspaper. (True and complicated story!)

Also, a follower of @freshbooks on Twitter got stood up and tweeted about it. The guys at Freshbooks didn’t think that was right, so they decided to send her flowers. She wrote a blog post about her experience complete with a picture of the flowers and the note.

Social Media is great for Customer Relations

The Freshbooks team has also embraced social media in an all-encompassing way. Even optimizing their webpage for social media users, rather than SEO.

Michael told us stories about how social media interaction with customers paid dividends in goodwill & buzz. And if you follow Freshbooks on Twitter, make no mistake, you are being listened to.

Go the extra mile, it is not very crowded

One of Freshbooks’ selling points is whenever you call them you will get an actual human being answering right away. Pretty cool and very rare.

I also received an example invoice in the mail about a week after I signed up. It was very cool to see my name on such a professional-looking document. Knowing clients will see something like this, with very minimal effort and money spent on my part, makes me very happy!

Make it as easy possible for customers to work with you or use your site

If if it is hard to work with you or your website, you will be missing out on a lot of business.

The night after the presentation, I signed up for an account. I was astounded at how easy and non-threatening the sign up process was! (Threatening would be a long list of inputs with the dreaded red stars for required fields)

All they wanted to start was my company name, email address, and a name for my freshbooks-specific site. Then they coaxed the rest of my info out in the next few pages. It was a great experience and I hope we can use some of those principles for Waldii’s sign up process!

Build your site for the User not Google

Mike showed the transformation from the typical copy intensive website into a more social version which focuses more on features, and what people say about Freshbooks.

The site also does a good job on putting the focus on the key things they want the customers to do: “trying it for free” and “take the tour.” It seems obvious but a lot of websites don’t get the idea of pushing the focus to actions you want your user to do… GO TO MY CONSULTING PAGE! lol

Customer testimonials are also featured prominently all over the home page.

It is obviously still important to be strong on Google and they are number one for a search on “online invoicing.”

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Freshbooks’ way of business represents a total focus on the customer’s needs. This is the best way to run a business, because it encourages referrals (most of their new customers are referrals) and gets people talking. e.g. this post!

If you are not focusing on the needs of your customers, your business won’t be around for very long.

Social Media and Twitter are Officially on the Map

Check out this amazing post from PR 2.0, on what the race to a million followers meant for Twitter, and thus social media.

For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about…

Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a race of being the first person/entity to have 1 million followers on Twitter. Then a bunch of other celebrities joined the race, including Oprah (I couldn’t resist following her… Haven’t seen many of her tweets though.)

Colin Solis also talks about how Ashton Kutcher used Twitter as a way to develop awareness for malaria and get more donations from twitter users.

It really opened my eyes to how social media can benefit the world by bringing people together for amazing causes.

Although I should have known this by know. e.g. Obama’s campaign, the Donate for Dachshunds campaign in Halifax, and Colin Hebb using facebook for his quest for $2,000 for Revolution 2009.

Relatively long post, but worth the read!

CPRS Session with Bessy Nikolaou

I recently attended a CPRS PD session on Social Media. It was really informative and it was presented in an elegant and easily understandable way.

Bessy did a great job of starting with the basics and organized the presentation into easily digestible points that her audience could understand.

It started off with some wicked stats and videos! Basically computers are getting VERY powerful and China will have more English speakers than the U.S. soon.

There was also a video explaining social media in the simplest terms possible. I also posted it on my consulting page, because it is so amazing!

Here are a key few points or observations I took away from the presentation:

  1. Social media is a communication tool, just like TV, newspapers or any other media. To be successful, you need the same research, strategy, and tactics used for any other PR campaign.
  2. Old media involved pushing your message where you think your audience is. New media is about pulling your audience to the message.
  3. Social media is an authentic and transparent medium. You must be prepared to monitor the discussion about your organization and be totally accountable for your actions.
  4. Social media releases are just guest blog posts!
  5. Social media is an amazing way to connect with people. A prodigal son or daughter coming back to their city needs only Twitter, Facebook, and some time to feel right at home again.

The session gave me some great fundamental knowledge of social media that will help me use it more effectively and efficiently. I feel a hundred times more ready to tackle any project!

I tweet with Shaq, and more ways I’m using Twitter

Actually he tweets with me (I follow him, he doesn’t seem to care as much about my day) but that is not the point.

I am a huge fan of Shaq (since the Orlando days) and I really enjoy him ruminating about himself getting old, and being pissed he lost a game on his birthday.
I don’t really like the pic he posted of him giving the peace sign while he was in the bathroom, though. Here it is, in case you are curious. lol

I’ve also found a new “news reader” called Ohpan. It is in the beta stage, but I got in because I also tweet with Michael Arrington, the founder of Techcrunch. It is a really cool and futuristic looking tool, and I will let everyone know when it is out of the beta stage.

Since I don’t have a lot of friends on Twitter, I am using it as a way to keep connected with people in the social media industry and also as a constant reminder that these people have cool websites that I should keep in touch with.

I was a little skeptical about Twitter at first.  But when you use it in your own way, it can offer what you need and more. I’m just scratching the surface on its capabilities, but I’m anxious to learn all I can.

I encourage anyone with the slightest bit of interest in social media or communications to join Twitter, and you can start following me by clicking here.