From the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

In Demand

When the Spiridellis brothers, Gregg, 33, and Evan, 30, produced their animated political film This Land to promote their online entertainment company, JibJab Media Inc.-they had no idea it would spread like wildfire on the internet.

But the film's success came at a price for the Santa Monica, California-based company. Phone calls, e-mails and national media appearances ate up the entrepreneurs' work time. Their server crashed, and they were looking at steep fees for download traffic.

"You can't always predict something like this, but it's important to have systems in place," says Bobbi Schlesinger, president of Freeman Public Relations in Clifton, New Jersey. When the volume of response rises, she recommends the following:

  • Hire temp help so real people are answering phones. Respond to voice-mail promptly.
  • List an e-mail address on your website. Set up a feedback form so customers can communicate with you and the information ends up in a database-ready format.
  • Use auto-responders as a last resort; personal e-mails are most effective.

Still dealing with the fallout, JibJab has augmented its contact list and received offers to produce other projects. And its number of registrants has grown to more than 400,000.

Quick Pick
Sometimes, finding the information you need can seem like an impossible task. Enter two services designed to help you track down even the most elusive information. FactChasers is made up of a team of journalists, researchers, authors and military experts that can track down market trends, studies, competitive intelligence and other hard-to-find info. Fees start at $60 per hour, $220 for a half-day or $400 per day; the information is delivered privately to you.

If you don't need to keep the facts under wraps, a cheaper option is Google Answers. Ask your question, and tell them what you're willing to pay for the info, starting as low as $2.50. Hundreds of researchers are standing by to get you an answer, usually within 24 hours. Answers are posted in an open format, however, so everyone else can read them, too.


For every dollar of revenue from online sales,
$4.51
worth of potential revenue is lost due to abandoned shopping carts.
Statistic Source: DoubleClick


Almost
27%
of U.S. online shoppers return to their abandoned shopping carts to complete their purchases.
Statistic Source: DoubleClick


Gwen Moran is a consultant and writer specializing in marketing.