Comments, Content and Conversations: Zoho Campaigns has a new feature!

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Darrell is really excited. She just sent out her bimonthly newsletter and she can’t wait for the results of the campaign to come in. This email newsletter is very different from the newsletters that she usually sends out. The current edition speaks about the new menu and the weekend chef’s specials that she introduced at her restaurant a few days back. Her mailing list includes not just her regular customers but also those one-time visitors who left their email addresses in her Guest Book.

This is also the first time that Darrell is trying out Recipient Comments in her email template. She is eager to see how this turns out.

Shortly after the campaign is sent out, she is pleasantly surprised to see the comments pouring in directly to her Zoho Campaigns account. Most people seemed to love the menu, many wanted more dishes and some of them were already asking her to book a table for them. The feedback was quick and almost instant.

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Are Small Business Incubators the Future?

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iStock_000021656315XSmallI’ve been to Las Vegas once in my life. A group of friends and I made the trip in November 2009 to celebrate a close friend’s bachelor party. Yes, we had a good time. No, it wasn’t anything like the cliché “Vegas baby Vegas,” experience we’ve come to expect thanks to Hollywood.

Either way, the Vegas strip is an incredible spectacle. People are everywhere. Buildings stretch to the sky like a stack of chips on a heater. Roller coasters weave and duck right above the sidewalks and you can eat your weight at any of the mile-long buffets.

Think about the image you have of Las Vegas. Casinos, hotels, money, expensive food and live shows. Doesn’t exactly describe a mecca or hub for entrepreneurs and small business owners working to establish their product in a city overrun with people in search of nothing but brand names, or who are even aware Las Vegas exists beyond the four-mile-long strip.

As much as the casinos and hotel feed the city’s economy, most people on the strip are not citizens. They are tourists in town for two to five days and then gone faster than Lady Luck at the craps or blackjack table. Local businesses aren’t making money off tourists. They have to appeal to the citizens of Las Vegas in a location that appeals specifically to them. That’s why I found this recent story so fascinating.

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Tailoring your Zoho Discussions-powered Online Community – Part I

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Building an online community for your service or product is one of the most effective ways to promote customer confidence, loyalty and repeat business. It is of course fundamental that when you create a community, you align your brand’s value and identity with your online community. Zoho Discussions offers several ways in which you can customize your community, so that it matches what you want to do with it. Keeping a consistent look-and-feel and visual experience from your customers as they go from your website to your customer support forums is one of the most-requested things customers ask for.

Zoho Discussions offers extensive rebranding options, which enables you to create a rich user experience and fully align your online community with the other elements of your web presence. So we explore that here.
We’ll go into more advanced settings in Part II and Part III of this post.

Visual Experience

You can customize anything and everything in the online community that you create with Zoho Discussions. Basic changes to logo, colors, header and footer are available through an easy-to-use control panel. Advanced
customizations including your own custom CSS are also available. And for the ultimate custom experience, we also offer Zoho Discussions as a “white label” product.

Topic Types

Different communities have different kinds of postings – questions, ideas, problems, etc. With Zoho Discussions, you can easily create a Q&A forum, or an Idea board or a customer support community, etc. by customizing the topic type of your portal according to what you need.

Custom Widgets

Widgets are a great way to provide more useful and context sensitive information for your community to look at. Zoho Discussions offers a number of ready-made widgets, which enable you to share important announcements, promote top contributors, drive traffic to the most popular topics and more.

Alternatively, you have the ability to create custom widgets – HTML & Link Widgets – with which you can embed any HTML object to promote / advertise your product and share your product links, so that your users
can make the most use of it.

Customizing the UI is just one of the ways in which you can tailor your online community and make it a part of your brand’s online experience. In the next post about Zoho Discussions, we’ll discuss integrating it with
your own sign-on system and providing a smooth experience for your users.

You can read more about customizing Zoho Discussions here . And as always, feel free to send your comments in our online forums (powered by Zoho Discussions, of course!) or by e-mailing us

Happy Discussing!