Brownbook SCRUM hit at ICMA conference

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I spoke at the ICMA Conference (Classifieds EVOLVE or die) in Berlin last week. It all went very well and I was very pleased with the interaction, question and feedback, but when you speak, you never know what people are really thinking… I talked about the way we do development on Brownbook.net, how we use SCRUM / Agile development and then we looked at some issues that the audience had with their development process and how they would be handled with the SCRUM process that we use. So imagine my pleasure when I received this email yesterday:

Dear Marc,

Thank you very much for participating in the speaking programme at the General Meeting in Berlin last week.

I have waded through the delegate feedback forms and your session was rated highest overall of the entire conference, with an overall score of 91%. 93% of the delegates felt the Scrum Methodology workshop was relevant with 91% indicating they learned a great deal.   I am pleased to inform you that you were rated the top speaker of the entire conference with a whopping 94% presenter rating. A few stand out comments from the evaluations forms stated “Excellent project management system.  Presenter was knowledgeable and well spoken. “  and another comment summed it up in one word –  “Articulate.”  Congratulations!

Once again, many thanks for your contribution, and I hope to see you at the ICMA “Next Generation Classifieds” conference taking place 3- 6 November in Vienna, Austria.

Best regards,
Shay Klomp Bueters

Dear Marc,

Thank you very much for participating in the speaking programme at the General Meeting in Berlin last week.

I have waded through the delegate feedback forms and your session was rated highest overall of the entire conference, with an overall score of 91%. 93% of the delegates felt the Scrum Methodology workshop was relevant with 91% indicating they learned a great deal.   I am pleased to inform you that you were rated the top speaker of the entire conference with a whopping 94% presenter rating. A few stand out comments from the evaluations forms stated “Excellent project management system.  Presenter was knowledgeable and well spoken. “  and another comment summed it up in one word –  “Articulate.” Congratulations!

Once again, many thanks for your contribution, and I hope to see you at the ICMA “Next Generation Classifieds” conference taking place 3- 6 November in Vienna, Austria.

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Brownbook Optimization Report #4 – May 10, 2010

Hi

Brownbook gives you free resources to promote your business online and get found more in search results. Here are more top tips and simple tricks to optimise your Brownbook Business Page to get found more online.

Today’s tips:
#1 – Are you ‘all a Twitter’?
#2 – How to ‘do’ email marketing
#3 – How to sell online, instantly

#1. Are you ‘all a Twitter’?

Everyone’s getting their feathers ruffled about Twitter, but can ‘tweeting’ really help your business fly? Chris Brogan gives some great examples (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-ideas-on-using-twitter-for-business/) of how any business can use Twitter.
You know that search engines like Google favour fresh content, and when you add our twitter widget to your Brownbook Business Page you’re getting additional exposure for your tweets AND automatically updating your business page with relevant and current content without lifting a finger. Go ahead, try it, go to your Brownbook Business Page – be sure you’re logged in – and click ‘Add widgets’ in the box labelled “Customize your business page” near the top right of your page, pick Twitter and enter your twitter username. Job done.

#2. How to ‘do’ email marketing

Brownbook’s always given you great resources to promote your business online, and now we’re pleased to announce two new partnerships with two amazingly valuable tools for businesses everywhere: Benchmark Email, and Shopify. I’ll give you a quick summary of each here…

Let’s look first at Benchmark Email
I don’t need to tell you that keeping in touch with your customers is important. But at some point it becomes unmanageable to send email newsletters using your normal email software. Many ISPs place limitations on your outgoing mail to specifically prevent you from sending out larger mailings (we hit that limit with our ISP when we were trying to send 500 emails in one go, now with over 45,000 members we’d have no chance). So how do you get around this? We tried three alternative solutions and, eventually, chose Benchmark Email (in fact, that’s how you’re receiving this email now). We’re pleased to offer Brownbook members a no-cost no-committment trial of their solution, just by clicking the link on your Brownbook Business Page (see the link under “BOOST your business, try these…”), or you can just click here to find out more

#3. How to sell online, instantly

And how about Shopify… Selling products online was always a complicated business: website creation, shopping carts, merchant accounts, bank charge-backs… the list goes on. We looked around for companies claiming to make it simpler to sell stuff online and Shopify was the one that stood out (we tried it ourselves and created an online store in 2 minutes flat). With Shopify you pick a monthly payment plan (they start from $24/month for up to 100 products), upload your product details, and you’re off (the downside is you have to enter your card details to get the free trial :-(, but it’s just two clicks to cancel the trial if you decide you don’t like it – yes, we tried that too). You’ll see a link to find out more about your free trial on your Brownbook Business Page (under “BOOST your business, try these…”). Or you could just click here

That’s all for now, other than to let you know we’re working on getting some more partnerships in place that’ll let you sample some other useful tools for your business (why not tell us what you’d like, what’s your biggest challenge you need to solve?). Plus of course we’ll have more Brownbook tips and tricks for you next time.

Until then, all the best

Dave & Marc

Brownbook.net
Helps you get found online
www.brownbook.net

PS: You can follow us on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/daveingram, and http://twitter.com/marc_lyne

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Brownbook hits 34million business listings [feature in Techcrunch]

We’re pleased to announce that Brownbook now lists  over 34 MILLION businesses in over 240 countries.  Founder Marc Lyne was recently interviewed by global tech news powerhouse TechCrunch about the site, you can read the whole story on TechCrunch right here:

http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/03/18/wiki-style-business-directory-brownbook-hits-34-million-listings/

 

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A search marketing success story

It’s always great to hear good news and that businesses who take the time to add their details to Brownbook, do so well and get found online. Here is another great example: search on Google for ‘hat shop sussex‘, and top of the results is a Brownbook entry for Jenny’s Hat Hire in Chailey Green, East Sussex.

“I listed Jenny’s Hat Hire in Brownbook on 31st Jan 2010, and within the hour, it was number 1 in Google!” explains user Alex Boden.

Jenny’s Hat Hire doesn’t even have its own website. Great news. We hope the increased online exposure will bring Jenny lots of new business.

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Take live bookings and availability in your Brownbook business page

Booking Bug online booking and reservations

Booking Bug online booking and reservations

We’re proud to have teamed up with BookingBug to offer our customers live bookings and availability in their Brownbook business page.  Does your business take bookings for services?  Then check out what BookingBug can do for you, and add the BookingBug widget to your Brownbook business page now.

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Brownbook S23 now live – latest updates

S23-150x107

Brownbook S23 went live yesterday, with a raft of new features designed to help your business get found more online.  Here’s a full run-down of the changes:

ShareThis – We’ve replaced our ‘Tweet this’ link on each Business Page with a more extensive ShareThis link.  The new link lets you share the page through your Twitter feed, plus around 45 other social sites including Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and more.  Use this to pump up the social capital of your Business Page.

Add Widgets – Yes, its true, we’ve brought back a NEW and IMPROVED ‘Add Widget’ feature for all business owners.  You can read about it right here.

Include customization in ‘Latest Edits’ – Want to get on our home page?  Getting on the home page helps your Business Page get found more in search engines.  We made a minor change so that when you customize your Business Page (add units or edit units) you’ll appear in the ‘Latest Edits’ panel on the home page. Recently updated pages get more relevance in many search engines, so remember to keep your page fresh and current.

‘Edit mode’ after adding a unit – This is a minor change that places you in ‘edit’ mode when you add any unit to your Business Page.  Previously you had to click ‘edit’ after adding a unit, so we just slickened that up a little for you.

Messaging of endorsement events – A few months back we enabled a neat feature to allow you to invite and request endorsements from other business owners, creating valuable trusted links to your Business Page.  We just made a minor change to make it more obvious when you have any pending ‘invites’ or ‘requests’ that you can action.  When you have any pending endorsements you’ll now see an indication of this, just after the ‘My Account’ link right there near the top of the page.  This lets you stay on top of your endorsements and ensures you get all the links you can.

Bugs resolved – Bugs resolved in this release include: zip codes beginning with zero can now be used; the problem with registering on http://m.brownbook.net (missing checkbox) is now resolved, page views and click stats inconsistent between Business Page and Hall of Fame is now resolved.

That’s about it for now, I’ll have some more very exciting news in a few days, so come back soon.

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NEW – Add Widgets to your Business Page

I’m excited to reveal the work we’ve been doing on enabling widgets on your business pages. Previously I wrote about how we withdrew the HTML unit pending the reintroduction of it in a better form. Well here it is, let me talk you through it.

Way back when we introduced the the ability for you to add HTML units to your business pages we had the vision that you’d be able to use it to add helpful features to your page, like a Skype button, MSN widget and other weird and wonderful things. The great benefit of the HTML unit was its flexibility, but the drawback was how did you know where to get these cool widgets?

Well, now we’ve helped you out, and you can select widgets directly from a drop down, we do all the configuration for you, its simple.

Here’s a quick summary of each and how they can be used:

Skype, MSN Live Messenger, and Meebo
Consumers and businesses are working more and more in real time. As consumers if we don’t get instant answers we often move on. Adding a Skype button, an MSN Live Messenger chat window, or a Meebo chat window (Meebo supports MSN, Yahoo!, MySpace, AIM, Facebook, Gtalk, ICQ, Jabber, MyYearBook) let visitors contact you in real time, allowing you to respond to sales enquiries, product queries, technical support, booking requests, you name it. You can even show whether you’re ‘online’ at that moment. When people interact with the widget on your Business Page, their enquiries come straight into your Skype, MSN, or Meebo – there’s nothing special you need to do.

Twitter, WordPress blog, Blogger blog
Increasingly businesses are using these channels to connect and converse with customers and prospects. Add any of these widgets if you actively use any of these services. These widgets connect your Business Page to your Twitter, WordPress and Blogger, so that any tweets or blog posts you make in the normal way are also presented on your Business Page, maximizing the reach of any such activity.

Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile
More and more businesses are using Facebook and LinkedIn as marketing channels, developing loyal groups of followers. LinkedIn, particularly, is directed at professionals, whilst Facebook’s amazing social networking features are finding favor with businesses as much as consumers. You’ve already built up your LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile, so adding these widgets connects your Business Page with those profiles, automatically pulling in and displaying your profile information and updating it automatically whenever you update your LinkedIn or Facebook.

Flickr photostream, YouTube channel
Do you have photos or videos about your business on Flickr or YouTube? Maybe you want to display a slideshow of multiple photos or videos? Add one of these widgets to do just that. These widgets connect to your Flickr photostream or YouTube account and display a neat slideshow of your photo or video content. Viewers can scroll though photos and videos, and choose which to play or view. Great for showing product shots, demonstrations, or even customer testimonials.

Google Streetview
Google Street View is busy digitising street-level view images of every major town and city. Add this widget to give people a view of exactly where you’re based, let them see your shop front, or even the view across the street. This widget defaults to your business address, and you can override that to fine tune the location, plus you can change the pitch (though +90 and -90 degrees) and orientation (through 360 degrees).

BookingBug online bookings
BookingBug is a great online service for showing availability and taking bookings right there through your Business Page. You must create an account with BookingBug to use this widget (a link is provided in the widget), and once you’ve done that you can add booking and availability to your Business Page and your own website or blog.

Here’s how to get started…
The best way to understand these is to give them a try, remember its FREE in Brownbook to claim your listing and customize it, including adding widgets, so give it a go now and let me know how you get on.

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