Grasshopper Group Rolls Out Spreadable, A New Way to Create Buzz at the Brand Level

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customize their messaging through their own Spreadable dashboards, tailoring messages for different social media and even integrating discount codes if they want. For example is someone wants to share details about Grasshopper’s phone system via Twitter, the company has created a short tweet that says: “Entrepreneur? Check out the virtual phone system and save $25! – via @grasshopper,” The e-mail message that refers Grasshopper via Spreadable, by contrast, is longer and contains more details on pricing and product features.

The messaging feature in Spreadable gives companies more control over how their product is being talked about online, says Kay. It’s an area that businesses have been trying to get a handle on since social networking sites like Twitter have become massive forums for product and brand discussions, without the involvement of companies themselves.

Spreadable also provides analytics for its referral product, so businesses can easily see which social media outlets and messages are the most effective. Currently, Spreadable enables businesses to see which social networks referral traffic is coming from. Soon, the product will enable customers to drill down deeper to see which of these referrals are converting most effectively into business transactions, the geographies they are coming from, which pages within the site are getting the most referrals, and even the name and e-mail address of the person doing the referring. These heightened analytics will enable companies to better focus their marketing efforts on the geographies and pages generating the most buzz, Kay says. The information could also encourage companies to establish stronger relationships with their customers who are doing the most effective referring.

Grasshopper Group has a waiting list for the Spreadable beta product, which is free for now. The company is planning to soon start charging somewhere between $35 and $50 per month, though all of its products start with a free 30-day trial. “Based on how much people make on a customer, it should pay for itself,” Kay says.

Grasshopper Group’s first product was the Grasshopper virtual phone system, which enables small businesses to set up enterprise-level phone greetings and extensions, and forward incoming calls to existing phone lines. Its second release, Chargify, is a recurring billing system that better enables companies to automate charging customers for subscription-based services. It came about when the startup saw the manpower that was required to develop a recurring billing method and figured other entrepreneurs were having the same problem, Kay says.

Spreadable comes from much the same inspiration, says Kay. He says the company started developing the sharing tool for its own use about a year ago, to better spread the word about its products—and was so pleased with the results that it decided to create it for external customers.

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