More often than not web content management vendors are trying to offer ways to manage social media, user-generated content and web 2.0 technologies in the context of their CMS's.
EPiServer's (news, site) Relate+ is built on top of their CMS 5 web content management system and provides a common framework for incorporating social media features, community building and e-mail marketing into websites.
The product was released just in time before the upcoming grand opening of the U.S. office.
How You Can Relate to Relate+
Two of EPiServer’s platforms are part of the Relate+ package:
- EPiServer Community designed for building online communities like VisitSweden. Before, EPiServer Community existed as a standalone platform and wasn’t connected with the CMS platform.
- EPiServer Mail that allows to create customized e-mail marketing campaigns and target them to any audience you have set up.
EPiServer Relate+ Features
We must admit the feature set is pretty impressive. Even though, there are still some possible improvements that could be made to the tool like integration with the workflow engine that is currently not available out-of-the-box. But a SharePoint connector is readily available as an optional add-on and search functionality is pretty extensive.
One of the advantages of the new product is the fact that it comes with a pre-built package of templates, which design was inspired by Facebook newsfeed/profile layouts and can be modified to suit specific needs.
My Page and Clubs
Part of the standard template package, this feature has the most common community-related attributes like Inbox, Wall, Mini feed and tags.
Sample Relate+ My Page
Users can also create/join/leave “clubs” where you can set up a variety of different modules from calendar of events and tagging, to image galleries and member management.
Moderation of User-Generated Content
While workflow is not part of this offering, moderation can be done by specific groups of users. Authorized users can also manage Abuse Reports and remove flagged content accordingly.
Relate+ Abuse Reports
Multimedia and Tagging
Images, video and other types of multimedia can be presented in galleries. Tagging makes it easier to find multimedia on the topic you’re looking for. Amazon S3 module for external storage in the cloud is available for those with large amounts of data.
Content Creation and Editing
Any content on the community page can be managed through EPiServer CMS 5 interface as well as via the inline editing functionality.
E-mail Marketing in Relate+
Using the existing EPiServer module, Relate+ users can send out targeted e-mail campaigns such as newsletters to their communities.
EPiServer E-mail Marketing Campaign Targeting
Traditional metrics like open rates, delivery reports and other statistics are part of the package. The company says it continues to work on improving reports in the statistics.
EPiServer Relate+ Pricing
The starting price for EPiServer Relate+ Public edition is US$ 23,000. That includes a member package for 10,000 members in the community and the template package to get you up and running.
EPiServer in the Windy City
Yes, as we’ve talked about before, the company is still planning to enter the U.S. market. We’re hearing that the opening of EPiServer Chicago office is now planned for April 2009. A lot of knowledge is being shipped from the Nordic to get things going.
EPiServer is still looking to hire more people to meet the local needs and the increased interest to the product in the U.S. market.
So far, there’s one employee hired in the U.S. under the title of “Country Manager,” who will be building and running the U.S. operations in addition to expanding the existing partner network. The person’s name is yet to be revealed, and we’ll update you as soon as we know more.