July 31, 2008
Communication 2.0 – How an online invoicing company is engaging it’s customers – An interview with Saul Colt of Freshbooks
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Saul Colt at several conferences over the last year and on Twitter. He’s always outgoing and eager to chat, he’s also a fellow Canuck. Saul is the Head of Magic (really) at Freshbooks, an online invoicing company which “pushes the envelope”.
Freshbooks has garnered plenty of notice by influential blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable. Their community outreach through social media is impressive.
The following is an interview with Saul as part of my Communication 2.0 series of interviews with companies who are using social media the right way.
D. Who are you and what do you do?
S. My name is Saul Colt and I am the Head of Magic at FreshBooks.com. My role here is to make online invoicing and time tracking sexy and I do this by combining social media, word of mouth marketing and just good old fashioned customer love and mutual admiration.
D. What social media (ie. blogging, podcasting, micro-blogging, social bookmarking, etc.) are you using to engage your clients and promote FreshBooks? Of these online marketing tools, which do you find most effective?
S. We literally do just about everything except podcasting but we are considering throwing our hat into that ring soon. For us the most valuable tool has been Twitter. It allows us to keep us with what is going on with our customers and listen to their comments and suggestions…also it has been amazing for us to handle support questions, announce new releases and even gather up a slew of folks for a customer dinner!
D. How are you measuring your success from new media marketing?
S. We measure our success buy following unsolicited blog posts, twitter posts, hits to our web site and of course sales and conversions.
D. Are you cautious about allowing your customers to post about your company? How do you handle criticism online?
S. FreshBooks users are the greatest, most passionate people in the world and we never worry about how they will represent the company. We genuinely love our customers and I think that shows in how our customers evangelize for us. That being said we do have the very rare negative comment and we never shy away from those. We respond to (or try to ) every comment, good or bad and in a thoughtful manner try to correct the situation. It is never worth getting into an argument so you just have to be respectful and treat someone the same way you would if you were both in the same room.
D. What is one piece of advice for a traditional marketing company trying to embrace Web 2.0?
S. People are talking about you on places like twitter so you really should get in there and correct any incorrect statements and make some friends at the same time!
D. Thanks Saul.