Building the Raven Tools roadmap

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Building the Raven Tools roadmap

“You can have whatever you want in life if you help people get what they want.”

I can’t remember who said that. But I’m sure he or she was quite successful in life.

At our core, Raven Tools is about helping you get what you want — results, new business, happy clients, more money, etc.

To date, Raven’s strengths have been managing campaigns, metrics and reporting. We’ll continue improving in each of these areas.

But these days, the theme commonly heard around Raven is “close the loop,” meaning fill out all the things that will help our customers be more successful.

For 2013, that means adding two big elements to Raven’s roadmap:

  • Auditing/proposal development
  • Goals, benchmarks and baselines

We believe these new elements combine with our existing management, metrics and reporting to make Raven an invaluable resource for any online marketer.

Let’s take a look at each area of the roadmap in more detail.

Auditing and proposal development

Learn more about Raven's Competitor analysis
Everybody needs new work. It could be new business for an agency, or new projects for an in-house team. If you’re not moving forward, someone is catching up.

Audit and proposal tools will help you identify opportunities and prepare proposals you can present to your client or boss.

The first addition is Site Auditor, which Raven will release this month. It crawls sites to identify errors for visibility, links, pages, etc. and includes an easy-to-read report you can share with cients.

Raven is scoping out similar functions for social media. For example, we plan to add the ability for you to compare social media accounts side by side to see fans, followers, top shared URLs and more.

Goals, benchmarks and baselines

Raven Metrics are how you measure your success
Everyone who uses Raven is chasing results of some kind, whether it’s sales, fans, authority, etc.

Those results take on a whole new meaning when you are able to compare them to a goal, benchmark or baseline. Here’s how we view each:

  • A goal is something you are trying to achieve, usually within a set time period. For example, you may want to increase organic traffic 50% by Dec. 31.
  • A benchmark is a comparison versus a similar period. For example, a comparison of organic traffic versus last week, last month or last year.
  • A baseline is a comparison versus a specific date. For example, what is the organic traffic compared to the date you started working on SEO.

Ideally, we would like to have all three for every metric in Raven. Realistically, we’ll have to start with a handful of metrics. Let us know in the comments below the most important metrics for you to set goals, benchmarks and baselines.

Campaign management

Manage Social Media with Raven Tools
This is Raven’s current strength. We were once an agency, like many of our clients. We started the company by building tools for our own work and then made a business from them.

Campaign management will always be a strength. The next evolution of Raven is not just building tools to do work better but tools that work better together. For example, Competitor Manager should work with social media campaigns as well as SEO campaigns. Raven has started this process already. An example is our CRM, which integrates fully with Link Manager and Social Stream.

We want to do the same with data. Having multiple sources of data is a strength. Combinging data in unique ways so you don’t have to build spreadsheets is a differentiator. There are tons of ways Raven could combine data points. Again, let us know in the comments what you would most like to see.

Anybody who manages a team will be happy to hear we’re planning management views for many tools. Managers should be able to see who on their team is peforming well — or not so well. Similarly, managers should be able to see who on the team did what work, e.g. posting to a client Twitter account.

Metrics

Learn to measure marketing success
It doesn’t matter unless you can measure it. That statement is especially true of online marketing.

Raven was one of the first SEO platforms to integrate Google Analytics. Likewise, we have tons of data about authority, links, content, social media, etc.

Our new SEO performance reports, which focus on organic traffic, debuted this month. The Link Referral report gave link builders an entirely new way to dice referral traffic.

Social media performance reports are in the works.

Here are some questions we want to answer:

  • How can we combine that data so that you and other users don’t have to?
  • What data are we not using from our many sources?
  • How do we let users select data points or filter data?
  • Should we add other data sources?

Reporting

Raven-reporting
No single function in Raven pays for itself like reporting. We’ve heard time and time again from customers that Raven’s reporting saves hours  (sometimes days) of work.

Raven recently added reports to Research Central and an improved Links module in Report Wizard. The new Site Auditor will have a killer summary report you can share.

Reporting can always be better.

Raven’s product team is working on a new approach that will make reports better looking and more functional.

Great reports balance comprehensive data, user flexibility and design. That’s what we’re working toward.

What did we miss?

The Raven community is great about sharing product ideas. As always, we want your feedback to improve the roadmap.

What else can Raven do to make your job easier? Let us know. The comments are yours.

Photo Credit: Atli Harðarson via Compfight cc

Brannan is Raven's chief marketing officer. He posts occasionally, mostly ramblings. And he is not a fan of exclamation points.

More about Brannan Atkinson | @RavenGiant

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