The following links have been collected from all over the Internet. They represent the best-of-the-best resources for product managers and product marketing professionals.
Originally published in the weekly “The Accidental Product Manager” newsletter (get your free subscription by clicking here), these links are reproduced once again here for your use.
As with all things on the Internet, links are constantly coming and going with little or no warning. Please contact Blue Elephant Consulting if you find that any of these links no longer works.
— Dr. Jim Anderson
Stacy Kozak and her class of aspiring business leaders at a local community center in the Portland area have been kind enough to do some research and have discovered a couple of useful links.
- Use these resources to not only figure out who your customers are, but how to attract new customers and provide excellent customer service to keep your current customers coming back.
- Here are 10 great ways you can begin to leverage social media for your marketing efforts.
Did you know that you could save $20 to $80 per year in the cost of ink if you use the Century Gothic font for printing instead of Arial?
The reason for this is because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print. It turns out that you could be buying new printer cartridges less often if you wrote in, say, Century Gothic rather than Arial. If you print PowerPoint slides on your home printer, this could mean more money in your pocket…
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a bit psycho about how my text gets formatted — I want the person reading it to see it just exactly the way that I wrote it.
This doesn’t always happen! Now if you want to format text to use, for example, in an email, consider usingformatit.com which allows you to choose the desired column width. It’s no-cost and it is easy to use…
Have you bought a new computer and dreaded having to install all of your open source programs again: software like Firefox, Audacity, Adobe Reader, iTunes, etc.?
It’s quite a time-consuming chore, since you have to find the download link at each of the sites and then download and install each piece of software individually.
Now you can install the most popular freebies from one site, Ninite (ninite.com). Ninite installs the most popular software fast (based on the ones you choose from their menu) with default settings and says “no” to browser toolbars and other junk.
Ninite checks your PC’s language and 64-bit support to install the latest, best version of each program. It runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 and works in the background unattended and 100% hands-free.
All it does is automatically download and install the apps you select. There’s no Ninite software to install…
How effective are all of those PowerPoint decks that you’ve been putting together?The NYTimes has an article about the U.S. military’s use (or misuse) of PowerPoint. The article is titled “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint” and it covers much that product managers (should) already know, but it’s a good read anyway…
For those product managers who tweet about their products, Hootsuite is a desktop tool that you might want to check out.
You can pre-set your tweets and publish to any or all of your product’s social media accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.. It can save you a ton of time. There’s also an iPhone app…
Does your product Tweet? If you’ve gone to the effort of setting up a Twitter account for your product and if you are sending out Tweets, then have you taken the final step?
However, if like me you are cheap either by nature or by global economy it turns out that you now have a free Internet based alternative: ScreenToaster.
TrackThePack.com is a no-cost service that will let you forward your package tracking email to them and the service will then monitor and map the progress of your shipment.
For awhile there has been a web site that does a great job of providing one-stop-shopping for finding a great collection of useful web sites.
If you use online evaluation forms or surveys to get product or feature feedback from your customers, you might want to check out LimeSurvey.org
It’s an open source Linux program that does everything that the popular SurveyMonkey web based tool does, but with no limits and for no cost. Very easy to use and quite powerful.
Building a Better Product E-Newsletter
|Every so often a product manager gets tapped on the shoulder and told by some Senior Management person (generally in sales): hey, how about if we start a newsletter for our customer? Arrgh, yet one more task for you to do every week / month / quarter. Hey, if you are going to have to do this, then you may as well make it count. The folks over at the ChiefMarketer Network have a story tell about a newsletter that wasn’t doing very well and what simple changes they made to get it up to snuff…|
5 Fantastic Facebook Fan Page Ideas to Learn From
|Dang that social media thing — just when product managers were starting to get the hang of building brands and creating traditional media advertising campaigns, along comes Facebook and changes all the rules. If you are going to try to create a Facebook page for your product, then you’d better make sure that you do it right. Matt Silverman has 5 suggestions that will get you started in the right direction…|
The Brand Show
|If building a brand is what you’d like to be doing, then doesn’t it make sense to get some advice on how to do it well? The Brand Show is a blog / podcast that is dedicated to just one thing: building your product’s brand. The guys doing it have a nice style and since this is something that you learn bit by bit, checking out this web site and it’s podcast is a great way to come up to speed on brand building…|
Find A Place To Meet
|As the global economy starts to pick up, more and more of us are going to be on the road meeting with suppliers, vendors, partners, etc. If we’re both in a town that we don’t have an office in, it
can be a challenge to find a place to meet. This app (desktop and iPhone) allows you to enter addresses telling where both parties are starting out from and then provides a list of possible meeting locations that are half-way in-between.
Remember All Of Your Passwords
|Is it just me or is it becoming harder and harder to keep all of those passwords that we use everyday straight? Roboform is a free tool (paid version available) that remembers your passwords for you
so that you don’t have to. I know that I can sleep better at night now knowing that it’s no longer up to me to keep everything stored in my head…!
Business Video Sharing, Hosting and Promotion
|If you’re trying to promote your product and yet this global recession thing has your marketing budget whittled down to just some loose change, maybe posting a video online is the trick. But where to post it? Everyone knows about YouTube, but there’s a lot of junk there that you might not want your product associated with. There’s another option: Ecorp TV. These guys focus exclusively on business-related videos. Depending on your product, this might just be the ticket…|
W3C mobileOK Checker
|So you’ve finally got your product’s information on your company’s web site updated and now it looks great. Umm, you did remember those mobile users, right? Take the time to check out how your web site works with mobile users by using this tool to check out how mobile users “see” your product’s web site. It can be an eye-opening experience…|
Track/Manage Miles & Points
|If you’re like me, you belong to every frequent flier program out there and you do a lousy job of keeping track of how many miles you have with what airline (not to mention hotels and car rental firms). As the global economy improves and we start to travel more, use this free online service to keep track of how many points you have and when they are getting ready to expire…|
Product Launches Should be a Big Deal
|Nancy Duarte runs a company that deals with helping people communicate clearly. She took Steve Ballmer’s launch presentation for Windows 7 and picked it apart. The end result is an amazing lesson on what too many of us actually say when we are talking about a new product. It’s color coded so it’s an easy read…|
Lose The Fax Machine
|Still using the office fax machine? I mean come-on, that is so 1990’s. Go all digital and do it online using drop.io. With drop.io it’s a few keystokes and a click, No more fax machines! This service is experimental, and has a few quirks, but it is quite powerful…|
Inc Magazine’s Business Valuation Guide
|Use the interactive chart to learn about the average valuation for private companies in your industry and to calculate a rough estimate using your business’ key numbers.|
|Website grader is a free SEO tool that measures the marketing effectiveness of a website.|
|Bizstats is the home of free, accurate business statistics — it is well organized and very easy to access.|
Public Legal Forums
|This is the Internet’s largest collection of free legal forms — over 2,000 different forms and still growing!|
Bright Idea Labs
|Keep track of all of your brilliant ideas in your very own private idea lab.|
|Penelope Trunk has a lot going on and she shares just about all of it in her blog — careful, you could get sucked in to her life of drama. However, she’s done a lot of traveling and as the global economy starts to pick up once again we’ll all be joining her. She’s got 5 solid suggestions for us live by when we’re living out of a
|As more and more of our products migrate to the web, or at least some part of what we are offering to our customers becomes web-based, the question of what to charge for a subscription starts to come up. The good folks over at Forrester research have done a study of what happens when something that you used to offer for free on the web starts to cost money. Just a hint: it’s not pretty!|
|Have you ever run across a web page that contains great info that you’d like to share with others? You click on the “print” button and then about 15 sheets of paper come zooming out of the printer each containing a different part of the page that you wanted.
This site takes care of this problem by allowing you to select what parts of the page you print. It’s the one to use when you are tired of printing web pages only to find your printout is full of ads, empty space and other junk you don’t want. PrintWhatYouLike is a free online editor that lets you format any web page for printing in seconds.
|‘Tis the season and all that. If you’re tired of searching all over the web looking for who’s having what discount on the cool electronics gear that you’ve been lusting after (or want to give as
a gift), then this is the site for you. They do the searching and daily post where the good deals are — a much simpler system.
|Find The Facts That You Need In Order To
Make Your Point
|The next time that you’re pulling together a business case or preparing to deliver a presentation, this is the site that you need to visit in order to find the facts and stats needed to boost your credibility. From data on news to geography to business, this is where you’ll find the link to what you need.|
Stunningly Awful Demos: Five Things Not To Do in a Demo
|This is a tongue-in-cheek article that talks about the 5 things that you can do that will ensure that your next product demo for a customer goes over like a lead balloon.
Peter Cohan is a consultant who helps companies improve their demos for a living and so he really knows what he’s talking about. The one that hurt me the most was his “Death by Corporate Overview…” jab – I’ve done that one so many times that I can’t count ’em anymore. Read the article so that you know What NOT to do next time!
Procedure List + Monday Refocus Form
|As we do tasks do over and over again, especially the little ones, we end up optimizing how we do them. However, if we only do the task say once a year, we can forget the little details. Or maybe we’re trying to get someone else to do the task for us, but it’s really important that they do it just the way that we do it.
Here’s your solution: an easy to print out procedure list in lovely 300ppi PNG format. Print it out, fill it out, and then use it to document HOW you do something the right way. P.S. I use this to remember the steps that I need to go through every 3 months in order to change my network password — it’s complicated, I don’t do it very often, and I’ve been locked out twice!
A Secret for Contending with Colleagues
|Got co-workers who you just can’t stand? Have you tried to bridge the gap, offer an olive branch, and just gotten the cold shoulder. You’re not going to like this, but maybe the problem is you.
Or rather, not you but your expectations. Considering just how much social interaction a product manager does during a given day, Peter Bregman’s insights might be just what the doctor ordered. I don’t like to be the cause of a problem, but even more than that I want to figure out how to get people to do what I need them to do and this article lays out one way to make this happen…
A Free Outlook Plugin That Can Help You Handle Your Email
|If like me you use Microsoft’s Outlook at work, then you’ll be interested in this free plugin. Whenever you select an email, Xobni displays information on the person who sent it to you: a photo (if available), what time of day they send you things, how much they send to you, etc.
I was quite surprised when I discovered that it
- ProductCamp NYC Presentation
“Your Product Management Career: How To Make It To The Next Level”
This is a slide deck with an audio track created by Dr. Jim Anderson providing that hard-to-get product manager career advice on how can you get to “there” if you are already “here”.
- ProductCamp NYC Presentation
“Product Pricing: Cost Plus Is Wrong, So What’s Right?”
This is a slide deck presentation by Dr. Jim Anderson with an audio track that explains why the way that most product pricing is done is wrong and what the correct way to do it is…
- Survey Monkey
Create web-based surveys that you send to your customers or
prospects. A free account can handle up to 100 responses
and for $19.95 / month you can do much more.
- Occam’s Razer Blog
The place to go when you get serious about diving into
all of the data that your product’s website has been
collecting. Avinash Kaushik knows his stuff very well.
- Google PageRank Checker
How does your company / product web site stack up as far
as findability go on the web? This site will give you a
single number that you can use as a baseline before
starting any promotion. Check out your competition’s web
site as a part of your CI program.
- Review Of 10 Online Photo Editors
Is your company too cheap to buy PhotoShop for you? Don’t
fear – you can still make memorable PowerPoint images
using these FREE online tools.
Ditch the flash drive. Install a small utility on Windows /
Mac / Linux boxes and then use the free 2G of storage to
drag and drop files between all connected boxes.