Microsoft Business Center has added Microsoft Listings and Microsoft Connections to the new suite of business apps Microsoft made available to masses recently.
Microsoft Listings is actually a great tool allowing you to manage all your business information from one place. Once you all your business info (phone number, website, address, hours of operation) you can then send all this info to business online listing services like Bing, Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
I am sure there are more to come in time. I would imagine sites like Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Expedia and Priceline will be included for sites listed as Hotel or Travel down the road. This is Microsoft first real attempt to build a small business marketing tool I am sure more features are to come soon. I would like to see them pull in page analytics from Facebook and Google but that will remain to be seen.
Microsoft Connections is an attempt to take market share away from the big mail marketing sites like mail chimp. Microsoft describes connections as “Email Marketing made easy Our easy-to-create, professional-looking email campaigns make it easy to showcase your business and drive up sales.”
Microsoft Connections lets you build mailing lists and send a marketing campaign to users on your mailing list. These are both crucial parts of companies like Hubspot and Salesforce that Microsoft has never had and are trying to break into that market along with Outlook Customer Manager. I think that Microsoft Connections is a great tool for email marketing but again needs a lot of work. Right now it’s very limited with no analytical data like who opened the email, click rate or conversion rate.
I think Microsoft is on their way to being a full feature CRM (Customer Resource Manager) they just need more time to develop the product and push out more new features that users want and need as part of their daily workflow.