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Small Wonders

Widgets encourage customers to engage with you.

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This story appears in the August 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Expectant parents can log on to maternity clothing retailer Due Maternity's website and download a clock that will tick away the minutes until their bundle of joy is due. Mac users needing divine inspiration can head over to Logos Bible Software and install easy-access Bible verses.

These are just two examples of the growing use of widgets--small software programs that perform a specific function--as marketing tools. "We think about widgets in two different categories," says Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing at Gigya Inc., a widget development and distribution company. "There are utility widgets, like calendars or other tools, [that] you put on a start page or desktop [and] are strictly useful. The other group is social media widgets, which are more likely to be placed on a profile page in a social network or on a blog." Either way, widgets can be valuable marketing tools, giving brands an effective way to engage with customers and prospects.

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