Can you tell us about the exciting new features coming to Raven Tools?
The biggest feature we will be releasing within the next few weeks is our real-time social media monitor and stream. It has been a dream of mine to provide a minimalist stream that combines mentions from social monitoring searches, and also include wall posts and tweets from your own Facebook and Twitter accounts. Our Social Stream will not only do that, it will also make it easy to reply to mentions, add them to our Contact Manager and assign mentions to other team members.
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The other feature I’m excited about is our Research Assistant. We are in the process of significantly upgrading it to more fully utilize MajesticSEO and SEOmoz Link Intelligence API data. For a lot of people in the industry, this will end up being their dream research tool.
Looking forward into the future – and by future, I mean 3-6 months out – we have a couple of features I don’t mind mentioning. We are working on a completely redesigned browser toolbar. It’s being specifically made for Chrome and uses some advanced hooks that only Chrome provides. Firefox has the same hooks in their roadmap, so we will also upgrade the Firefox toolbar once their technology catches up. The other thing we’re working on is a better way to manage link prospecting and social media relationships, but that’s all I’m going to say about that ;)
Is there an addition that excites you the most and why?
Link Clips probably excites me the most. We launched Link Clips last month, and that feature has been a dream of mine for some time. The idea of Link Clips was borrowed from the PR world, and involves our advanced link monitoring system grabbing high resolution screenshots of pages where you have created an active link. The system then automatically processes the image for presentation by cropping it and then inserting a callout around the link. We include the thumbnails in our PDF reports, and if you click on any of the thumbnails in the report, it will bring up a high resolution version of the Link Clip in your browser window. So far our customers and their clients love it!
Everyone has a favorite feature in Raven; can you tell us yours?
As you can imagine, I have a lot of favorite features. Aside from our Link Manager and Report Wizard, I really like our Google Analytics integration. We have taken the most relevant site analytics views from Google Analytics and made them available with a click of the button. It is simply the quickest and easiest way to see how your site is performing, especially if you add Goal and E-Commerce modules to our Dashboard. You can quickly jump from one website to another, and within minutes be aware of how all of your online properties are performing. I use it everyday!
Is there a feature that is not utilized enough by Raven users?
We aggregate all of the websites that you do research on or make related (link or contact) records with into one tool called the Website Directory. The tool allows you to search for websites across your entire Raven account, and you can filter them by rank, quality, number of active links and whether or not they sell links (if that’s your thing). The ideal usage of the tool is for finding sites you have successfully built links on in the past, like for past clients. Then you can harness the existing relationship to get links and mentions for your current client. I think that tool and Contextual Messaging are two of the least utilized tools in the system, but are tools that can be incredibly useful.
Raven has grown so fast. What has the process been like for your team?
It has been growing fast! It has been both exciting and challenging. Some of our biggest difficulties have been around scaling. Unlike other SaaS tools in this space, we allow unlimited website campaigns for all accounts. That means we deal with a lot of data, and our customers find all kinds of new and interesting ways to use our service. We want them to do that, because that means our service is useful to them, and it also gives us the chance to learn more about what their true needs are.
For us, fast growth has meant having to become much smarter in a shorter amount of time. Smarter in how we scale, and smarter in how we process and deliver data in the user interface. We have made great progress, but we still have a ways to go. We are currently working on ways to make Raven faster outside of the United States. Our ultimate goal is to make every part of the service as fast as using a desktop app, globally.
A Big Thanks to Jon
I just want to say thank you to Jon for taking time to answer my questions. Jon hinted about new great features coming to Raven at the Blue Glass conference in Tampa so he was the first person I contacted for an interview. I am really excited to play with the new social media tools. If you do not use Raven Tools I suggest you check them out. You can find Jon on Twitter @RavenJon.