Monday, April 1, 2013

Using Google Calendar for Event Communication

If you're a business that would like to communicate events, seminars, and sales easily from your website you may want to give Google Calendar a try. Anyone who has a Google account has a calendar. I use my Google calendar to bring in other calendars in total or by event. There's even a sync API that imports directly into Outlook so everything on every device is up to date.

It's easy to include a Google calendar on your website with the available imbed code and they've even included an RSS feed for your customers who prefer news via a news feed. Each time you add something to your calendar it automatically appears on your website and gets generated to your RSS feed. You can create different calendars and share your calendars all differently---perhaps you'd like to have a calendar available for staff only or a select group of customers.

Once embedded on your website your calendar can be viewed by customers in monthly, weekly, or agenda formats. Printing in monthly format is cumbersome if your event titles are wordy---the calendar is best when the event title is one or two catchy words and includes a supplemental description when the user desires more information. In the agenda format the descriptions themselves can be printed.

You can include attachments from Google Docs with any event. For example, if you're having a monthly staff meeting and want to include an agenda, you first create your Google Doc agenda and then attach it to the event you create in your calendar. Docs can include pictures if need be---it's a great tool.

This is all provided free---the only caveat is that Google has been notorious for dropping well liked features that it offers free, like the recently dumped Google Reader, which might leave people scrambling for replacements that may or may not be as good. But if you're willing to take that risk---this may be  the best possible way to communicate your business events with staff and customers alike.    

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