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Newsletter #907: The “Simple Tech Tricks” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Great marketing doesn’t have to be complicated (in fact, the best marketing rarely is) and it doesn’t have to be expensive (it’s about brains, not bucks).

Technology, for example, is one of those big ideas that practical marketers often shy away from. And while a little skepticism is generally healthy, here are a few examples of how putting some simple and low-budget tech to use can deliver great results:

1. To get more pets adopted
2. To protect product quality
3. To go from local to international
4. Check it out: The Art of Manliness

1. To get more pets adopted

This summer, L.A.’s Best Friends Animal Society drove tens of thousands of pet lovers to their website and doubled their adoption rates. How? They installed a simple web cam in their shelter and let people control it, move toys through it, and zoom in and out. The camera is pretty cool, but it’s important to note: Their website isn’t fancy and it’s not going to win any design awards. But it’s easy to use, it uses some simple and affordable technology, and it’s a whole lot of fun to play with.

The lesson: It’s great when the technology looks fancy — but looks aren’t the most important thing. If it’s functional and it’s fun, you’ve done something right.

Learn more: CNN.com

2. To protect product quality

Nuts.com knows their products are susceptible to the realities of shipping. Their stuff is perishable and therefore vulnerable to delays, hot weather, and rough handling. So they added some simple features to their shopping cart to give customers a better experience and a better product. When it’s especially hot, they offer heat-resistant packaging. And when you happen to be ordering before a weekend (when your stuff is likely to sit in a shipper’s warehouse for a couple extra days), they warn you and give you the option of delaying it until Monday. It’s all standard stuff that most shopping carts can do out of the box — but most retailers don’t dig this deep to understand what the tech they’ve already paid for can do.

The lesson: You’ve probably already invested in some great tools. But did you skip the training? Do you really know all the cool stuff it can do for you and your customers?

Learn more: 37signals

3. To go from local to international

London’s Boiler Room is an extremely exclusive music venue. Even if you live in London, you’re probably not getting in. But you can still experience all the awesome acts they bring in because they’ve set up a super-simple camera that allows them to live-stream performances on the web. Sure, it’s not the same as actually being there — but it’s still pretty great, and it’s also a great reason to talk about a venue you’ll probably never actually visit.

The lesson: If you’re already delivering great experiences locally — things like entertainment, performances, or training — how could you use some simple tools to take it to a much bigger audience?

Learn more: Cool Hunting

4. Check it out: The Art of Manliness

Ok, that’s enough technology talk. Get back to learning about the essentials like saddling a horse, removing a fish hook from your hand, and doing a proper woodsman workout with this manly site.

Check it out: The Art of Manliness

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