Earlier this year something quietly took place that has the potential to inexorably alter the way SMB's communicate with their customer base. For the small sum of $100 million dollars Google bought a little known company called FeedBurner.
If this is all new to you then let's start at the beginning and talk briefly about a little thing that has been around since 1999 called an RSS feed. Although there are several valid meanings to this acronym the most common, and useful for this discussion, is Really Simple Syndication.
The purpose of an RSS feed is to summarize, or even contain the entire content, of a web feed. A web feed in turn could be anything that gets published on the web, be it in a blog, a website, a podcast, etc. Or in other words an RSS feed is another way to share data.
SMB's can take advantage of this new way to share data in several ways:
First of all it allows even the smallest of companies to have the largest of audiences if they have good content to publish.
Secondly the basic RSS service is free and other than the time and effort to write marketing material the potential cost savings over traditional printed marketing materials is astronomical.
Thirdly RSS information is disseminated around the world almost immediately and will reside on the web in perpetuity. These RSS feeds once distributed can also bring increased traffic to your website.
Finally as a reader of RSS feeds an SMB can stay on top of current market trends. This could give the RSS user an edge over a competitor who perhaps waits for the market news from the slower but more traditional media outlets.
If you are like me you may be reading this and thinking to yourself you will give this a try some day in the future when it becomes more wide spread. Well here are some things you should know because the future is now.
RSS readers now come standard with all new copies of Windows Vista.
RSS headline animators that summarize and link to your latest stories can easily be placed on your website for no charge.
Hundreds of millions of RSS feeds are indexed and distributed automatically every day by Google News.
RSS feeds can be automated with free software from FeedBurner or right from your blog on sites like Blogger.com.
So if your SMB has not yet started using an RSS feed for the company blog or website content then this is one technology that truly is ready for your SMB Now!