This is the first part in a “2 part series” this week on Adobe Business Catalyst (ABC). In this article we’re going to be going through exploring the functionality available and then why clients will thank you for introducing this system to them, then in the next part, we’re going to be exploring ways of using that functionality to service clients.
Adobe Business Catalyst is an all-in-one business tool which I have been using since early 2008. It’s the system I use for this website and it’s also my email marketing system, customer relationship management system, eCommerce store, affiliate programme site and much much more… The reason why I like using Adobe Business Catalyst is because it keeps my business simple, and under one roof. I don’t need to go here, there and everywhere to get the functionality I need for my online business, and this is why it is such a unique and popular product amongst my clients, because it allows them to pay a single fee for one system which does everything they need it to. So in this post today we’re going to look at how Adobe Business Catalyst can help you to help your clients streamline their business.
What Is Adobe Business Catalyst?
"Build and publish stunning websites quickly using dynamic, built-in modules. The Adobe® Business Catalyst® service is a unified hosting platform that enables you to work in your preferred editing environment to create sites that meet client requirements, without any server-side coding." Adobe.
First off, if you want to sell this system to your clients, and earn passive income you’ll need to become a partner. Once you’re a partner, your console is free for life. If you would like a discount off the cost of partnering with Business Catalyst contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, submit my contact form or leave your email on a comment and I’ll send you a special code you need to quote to get a discount.
*UPDATE - Partnering with Adobe Business Catalyst is now free, and you can click here to learn more.
Now let’s go through all the functionality Adobe Business Catalyst offers, it’s good to take a birds-eye view of this because it will then allow you to see where you can pick and package different tools and functions and then turn those into a service. Remember this system is powerful and diverse, and has a lot of potential. I’m going to go through the key functions with you below briefly, but I also recommend you check out this features link on the Adobe site which goes through them in more detail.
So the functions include:
Content management. You can use this for creating and managing websites, campaigns, promotional pages and offers. You can have multiple templates and designs and domains – all in one place.
Site analytics. The site analytics is not as robust as Google Analytics, but it does offer an excellent overview in real-time of what’s happening on the site, particularly the dashboard which you are greeted with after you log in. You have the option of running both and installing Google Analytics onto the site too.
Web forms. These are golden for collecting information, you can have multiple web forms, which can go to various different email addresses using something called “Workflows” and they can be embedded on the Adobe site or off of the Adobe site. For example, the web form on this WordPress blog is driven by Business Catalyst so no matter where my sites are – the back end of my business is still all in one place.
Social media sharing. Social media sharing is now integrated with ABC so you can use API keys with Facebook for example to use their commenting system.
FTP and file manager. There is a file manager and FTP service so you can upload documents and various other files into the system and keep them in there like a library or as a storage facility.
Hosted email accounts. You can set up email accounts in the system (I prefer to use Google Apps though), and they have a webmail function for remote access.
Dynamic menu builder. You can have unlimited dynamic menus across multiple sites if you wish.
Blogging engine. There is a blogging engine, it’s not as diverse as a specialised blogging system like WordPress, but it works and it can be customised to look exactly like your site. All within the system.
Customer database. The customer database is awesome, records of all your customer history is stored in here, including what web forms they have competed, mailing lists they are subscribed to, products they have purchased, comments they’ve made and much much more… You can add notes, create follow-ups and keep your customer history and details tidy and in one place.
Email marketing. The email marketing system will allow for design templates or plain text emails, it will also allow you to create a one off campaign to one or multiple mailing lists, or you can create ongoing loyalty campaigns with periodic emails going out to your lists on auto-pilot. In addition to this, there’s a force opt-in, meaning it’s easy to migrate subscribers into the system without them having to opt-in twice. In addition to the functionality, you can also embed the HTML forms outside of ABC, like my email marketing subscribe box here, which is linked directly to my ABC account.
Community forums. The system has a built in forum function so you can use this for open discussions, or secure ones behind a secure zone.
Secure Zones. All consoles come with an SSL certificate so you can create forms, take payments and secure content via https://
Built-in modules. A host of built in modules and other functionality means you can build bespoke systems and sites for customers. These modules include site wide search, photo galleries, rotating adverts, FAQ database, event management and bookings and more. To fully explore these modules I highly recommend you set up a FREE trial account, you can do that by clicking here, and then take a look around.
E-commerce platform. This eCommerce platform covers everything you need to operate an online store or even just sell a few products online. It’s got built-in discount codes, affiliate programmes, payment gateways, gift vouchers, recurring orders and subscriptions and more…
Business reporting You can create and design various different reports, using either the built-in reporting templates or by creating a template of your own from various criteria.
Event bookings. Great for anyone holding ‘live’ or online events, you arrange and promote events, have people sign up and also send out automatic emails before and after the event is happening.
Custom web apps. Using custom web apps is probably one of the most diverse ways to build a database of any kind, really fast. You don’t need any coding knowledge and you can create bespoke databases with various types of content, meaning it allows us to provide a very individual, uniquely designed tailor-made service to clients online.
(That Clients Will Thank You For)
ABC is really a no-brainer, even if we take a fraction of the functionality used in this system, and then compare it to any combination of other systems with the same functionality, for price, and convenience, ABC comes out on top every time. The system does require you to work in certain parameters though, so make sure you understand what your client’s exact functionality requirements are in the various systems to make sure ABC is a good fit.
ABC – 1 system, includes all the functionality for under $40 a month (cheaper if bought a year or 2 years in advance).
Now let’s take a few popular choices of service which are included in this price and see how they compare.
- Generic Hosting – $2.49 a month (smallest package)
- 1Shopping Cart Ultimate (which includes similar functionality) – $249.00 a month
- Aweber email marketing – $19.00 a month (restricted to 500 subscribers, ABC no restrictions)
- Kajabi Membership Site Software Starter – $99 a month (restricted to 3 zones, ABC no restrictions)
So, if this is a client and I am doing a consultation for their online business, I have just saved them over $330 a month, and won potentially a project for setting them up in the system, and then ongoing business helping them maintain it, sending out their newsletters, managing their CRM, paying their affiliate commissions, you name it, we can service it. I specialise in Adobe Business Catalyst which means I don’t need to learn multiple systems to provide my client with a whole service, I need one, really excellent one that does everything, and one I can master, which is of very high quality (and you can’t beat Adobe in my opinion) and comes with a super-affordable price tag meaning clients can invest that additional money into marketing their business using my services as opposed to incurring it as an expense.
Check it out on a FREE ACCOUNT.
So, now that we’ve gone through the functionality I suggest that you sign up for a FREE account so you can check it out yourself and start thinking about how your clients could benefit from such a multitude of extremely useful functions, which are all in one place.
Coming Up Next!
In the next post, which is “part 2″ of this series, I am going to be taking you through some business models you can use to help support clients using this system, plus! In this week’s VISA Trip in The VA Passport members area this week, I’ll be showing you how to set up a high quality website service using ABC with minimal coding knowledge, so you can secure your clients into this system and receive rave reviews on it without needing to be a website designer or developer.