Thank you for being our customer

It’s 8:02pm and my wife and I just put our kids to bed. Now I’m trying to figure out how to announce the new website that we’re launching at eNeighbors. It got me thinking about the beginning, when we started the company 11 years ago. And I couldn’t help but be filled with gratitude for everyone who helped make eNeighbors what it is today.

The list of people that have directly contributed to eNeighbors in one way or another is amazingly long, and for privacy reasons, I won’t list any names here, but you know who you are. And of course, without our customers, we would be nothing. So perhaps, most of all, I want to say thank you, to you – our customer.

It comes down to this – because you buy deals on eNeighbors, I can pay myself, and my employees. And we can continue to do the work that we love to do.

So, from the bottom of my heart, really, and truly, thank you.

In our Kansas City area neighborhoods – the only city where our eDeals program is offered – you have purchased over 50,000 deals from local businesses that offer service to the home – like lawn care, window washing, and carpet cleaning. And because you and many of your neighbors bought deals, we were able to negotiate bulk discounts with local service providers – saving everyone money, while helping local providers acquire new customers.

Your purchases represent over $4,000,000 in revenue for local service providers and an equal amount in savings just by buying together and scheduling together, one neighborhood at a time.

The success of eDeals in saving homeowners money and helping local providers grow their businesses, all while allowing us to grow our own business, has inspired us to build a new website dedicated to featuring money-saving deals from local service providers.

The new site will feature many of the deals from the service providers you’ve come to love. The user experience is greatly improved, however, especially on mobile devices.

Our “soft launch” is set for September 1st. An email with a link to the new site will be sent to all customers. More to come soon.

It’s time to get back to work…see you then.

eNeighbors for free?

Neighborhoods now have the opportunity to offset the cost of their website by selling the sponsorship position on their public sign in page.

If you have a sponsor interested in advertising on your website, simply email us at ads@eneighbors.com with the following:

  1. Advertiser Contact Information
  2. Headline – maximum 25 characters
  3. Description Line 1 – maximum 35 characters
  4. Description Line 2 – maximum 35 characters
  5. Website URL: maximum 1024 characters

A sample ad is shown below:

Site Sponsor Example

For those neighborhoods that do not currently have a sponsor listed on your homepage, you may begin selling your space immediately. For those that currently have a sponsor listed, you will have to wait until the end of that sponsor’s current agreement before you can sell the position.

Below is an example of the sponsorship postion on the public sign in page:

Villas of St. Andrews

eNewsletter & Local Advertising

It’s been a long time everyone… we’ve been hard at work with heads down these past couple months but wanted to let you all know about some new changes we’ve rolled out.

1. eNewsletter – NEW & IMPROVED!
If you are currently an eNeighbors user then you probably have already seen the new newsletter in your inbox this week. We have some great new features for you:

  • News and Events now have more date info
  • Events that require you to RSVP will now include the registration link
  • Groups now shows how many members are in the group
  • Classifieds now shows when they were posted as well as the photo
  • Added a Community Feedback link for easier access to communicate with your HOA board and property manager

2. Local Advertising
The other big deal that we’ve been working on is the new Sponsors section in the eNewsletter. We now offer the ability to advertise your business in eNeighbors neighborhoods.

For only $50 a month, you can place your ad in the newsletters that get emailed to our eNeighbors residents.

Here’s an example of the ad

For more details including discounted pricing options, a list of our neighborhoods, and the ad specs, please visit our Sponsors page.

If your neighborhood is not signed up with eNeighbors, find out how you can get your neighborhood online.

Short End of the Ad Stick

My take on Eric Picard’s article on local advertising over on ClickZ:

1. Display advertising (i.e., print ads) in the local newspaper is still the best ad/marketing vehicle for a small business to reach its audience.

Article quote:

I’m fairly certain the numbers used by J.P. Morgan’s analysts include classified ad revenue. Classifieds have been decimated in local ad spend, but display ads in local newspapers are probably just as strong as they have ever been, despite shrinking circulation. This is mainly because there are no alternatives for local businesses, including local affiliates of national brands (e.g., local auto dealers, quick-service restaurant franchises, national retailer locations, etc.), to reach their local audiences. Much of this has to do with creative production and the lack of online inventory that can be targeted locally.

2. Online audience targeting is still not good enough for small businesses to shift their ad dollars online.

Article quote:

Local newspaper ad spend on display ads is very unlikely to move online for the next few years. The reason is similar to why television didn’t drop for some time despite shrinking audiences. There just isn’t an alternative to reach the target audience that a small local business, even a local affiliate of a national brand, can take advantage of.

3. Still no infrastructure for small businesses to get “true” local service positioning.

Article quote:

Local search has mainly solidified around mapping, which is great at taking advantage of people searching for a product in a local area but not for driving awareness of a sale or trying to create demand. And without a sales force and creative production resources to serve the local markets, it’s highly unlikely that much of the local inventory available within the online space will ever get sold to local businesses. The infrastructure is really set up for supporting national advertisers with localized creative.


Greg Sterling also comments.

How’s Your Inbox, Lately?

Some interesting data over on eMarketer today talking about e-mail advertising and the expected growth in spending from $1.2 billion in 2007 to $2 billion in 2012. Additionally, JupiterResearch indicates that about one fourth of all email is now opt-in.

What I find interesting is some of the feedback from users about why they decide to no longer opt in to emails from certain companies. One of the primary reasons was that the content was no longer relevant. Is there an echo in here?

This is great news for us here at eNeighbors since the primary traffic driver of our service is the automated e-mail newsletters of weekly content from your neighborhood site (it’s like Facebook’s news feed without all the crap).

The content in these newsletters can’t be more relevant since it’s an aggregated conversation from your neighbors about things that are happening literally on your street.

We recognize that while most people want to stay informed about their local happenings (especially in their own neighborhood) there are only so many hours in the day. We’ve seen that the weekly recap of info is a great way to keep up on what’s going on. And that’s why we are working on some new features and enhancements to the eNewsletters. Stay tuned.

Local Search: The Future of eCommerce

How much do you buy online? Depending on your social situation (single, married, kids, etc.), the amount of actual online purchasing can vary greatly. But how often do you research a purchase online regardless of whether you are planning to purchase online or offline?

When it comes to local search, Greg Sterling has some great comments on SEL today. Greg’s comment in his opening statement are of particular interest to me as it relates to eNeighbors. Since our target audience is homeowners in a managed community, the home services are a perfect fit for us to be able to recommend and advertise to our users, but Greg’s comment about products (which I assume to mean pretty much anything) tell me that every transaction whether on or offline starts at the local level since that’s where we all live.

In other words, we all live in a local community no matter where we are. This local community which houses our friends and family is the largest influence on our buying habits. Our local habitat dictates our entertainment options, our habits, hobbies, etc. You get the idea.

I think the real insight here is this — to sell a product (any product) how much more effective would that sales process be if it were approached from a local level? Obviously, it would be exponetially more effective. It would be like a door-to-door salesman for the entire world. In the past, this approach has not been very cost-effective for obvious reasons, but with the recent adoption of the web’s social networking features, this type of sales approach is now possible.

So, once again I’m advocating the use of a bottom-up approach to local search. In this case, as it directly relates to local commerce. Ironically, the internet may be the vehicle to bring back the feeling of community and localness.