Friday, November 18, 2011

Merging or "Absorbing" Contacts & Accounts

If an Account has two or more contacts in it, but they have been created as separate accounts instead of 1 account with 2 contacts, how do you correct this error?  Or, what if there are duplicate records (i.e. two "Nick Carter's" in the database) each with some history and/or tasks recorded on them.  Can you consolidate?

Yes.

Under the green Contacts box in any Account View you will see "Absorb..."  It's next to the option to Add New contacts.  This function will find another contact and absorb it under the current Account.  The first step is to search for that contact by name. 

When the matching results are shown, pick the contact you intend to absorb.  Next, you're presented with two options:
 - "Contact Only" will absorb only the contact information.  This is applicable in a case where one contact perhaps leaves one company and goes to work for a different one in your database.  You can move that contact from one Account to another.
 - "Entire Account" is used when you are truly going to merge the two accounts together.  With this option, all history, tasks, projects, e-billing, transaction, and any other data related to the account will also merge. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dissimilar Values

Why do I see "Dissimilar Values" warnings? 

In short: because your values are dissimilar.  But what does that mean, and why do I care?

First: What does it mean?  It means that the value you typed into this field is dissimilar from all other records in your database.  For example, if you typed "Purch." into the Department field, you may be warned because all of your other records are labeled as "Purchasing" without abbreviation.

Secondly: Why should you care?  This warning is applied on key fields where users could make use of segmentation - grouping of contacts into one list for marketing or sales purposes - using our Query tool.  For example, using the illustration above, if you want to send a mailer to all people in the Purchasing departments of their respective companies, then entering the value "Purch." would actually prevent this contact from being included in the Query where Department IS "Purchasing".

Finally: When should I ignore it?  There are only two circumstance when you can ignore this warning.  First, if you are new to AddressTwo and entering data into these fields for the first time, you may find that you simply don't have enough to compare it to.  Dissimilar simply means that no other contact would match this one.  That would only be true on the first instance of using this value.  Second, if you're absolutely certain that you wish to create a new segment then you indeed should ignore the warning. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Transactions and Commissions

A relatively new plugin to AddressTwo allows you to track "transactions" and also apply a "commission" to that transaction.  How do you use these tools?  Let's start with some definitions:

A transaction is a special class of historic entry that includes a dollar amount.  You will add a transaction from the Account View by clicking the dollar-sign icon (below).
A Commission profile can then be established for this sale.  Commissions are assigned by a "profile" -- a preset of commissions, fixed amounts, or combination of the two -- that will be calculated against the total amount of the transaction.  For example, let's assume that in your sales process, the Account Manager receives 30% commission, and if there is any Prospecting Rep assigned to that account, they receive a flat $50 bonus for each closed sale.  Going to Admin >> Commission Profiles you will find (if the plugin has been activated) a screen that will look like this:
In the example above, we named this "Demo Profile."  Now, once added, any time a transaction is recorded on an account you can select "Demo Profile" from the drop-down and 30% of the transaction will be given to the Account Manager on the account as commission as well as a flat $50 to the Prospecting Rep. You can create multiple commission profiles for your various sales situations.  Admin >> Commission Reports will detail the payouts to users when you're ready for payroll.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Embed Video in an Email

Just released today: a new feature that allows you to embed YouTube videos in your email. Just watch this video to see how:

 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Open MailTo links with GMail in Chrome

Update:

Old post below:

I don’t know why Google’s chrome browser does not know how to open Gmail for email, but it’s not just you. Google notifier will work for IE and Foxfire has the option to choose Gmail as the default email.
If you want to use chrome and make it open Gmail for mailto: links, you have to set it up yourself.

This is the extension that integrates Gmail into the Chrome browser.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dgkkmcknielgdhebimdnfahpipajcpjn

This is the “Default Maker” that makes Mailto Links point to chrome.

http://gmaildefault.codeplex.com/

With the two of them, you should get MailTo Links to open Gmail.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adding Address Two as a trusted internet site in Internet Explorer.

To prevent a few annoying security messages you can add Address Two as a trusted site.

1. In internet explorer, go to tools, internet options.









2. Click the security tab, select trusted sties and click the sites button.













3. Be sure to uncheck the “require server verification” checkbox and add
http://addresstwo.com in the address box and click add.






Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spam Filters and the "art" of good Email Design & Content

AddressTwo's campaign manager follows all the best practices and industry standards to ensure a positive relationship with Email Service Providers (ESP's) like Gmail, AOL, GoDaddy, et. al.  This prevents the blacklisting of our IP Addresses and permits us to send emails "from you" (as explained here).  Nevertheless, some users occasionally experience the dreaded junk-box relegation.  Why does this happen and how can we prevent it?

First of all, please let me say that it is not a "setting" we can turn off.  We've received a hand full of inquiries over the years that read: "can you please change my account so that my emails go to inboxes and not the junk mail box?"  If this were a setting, we'd LOVE to toggle it.  The fact is, the decision to put your email in the junk box is not ours, but is up to each individual recipient's ESP.  In fact, the same message could reach one recipient's inbox while it gets put into another's junk box.  This inconsistency is evidence of the reality that junk mail designations are case-by-case and, therefore, tricky to avoid.

That said, there are some things that you can do to keep your email out of the junk box.  It's a simple matter of controlling the content so that your email does not look like "spam."  Imagine this: when you do receive unwanted spam in your email, what are the common characteristics of it?  If you avoid those, you can avoid the junk box.  Simply put, junk mail filters were programmed to look at these characteristics. 

Here is what a junk mail filter is asking about each message it receives:
  • Does this email have a lot of exclamation points, all caps, and bold text?  People don't typically write letters like that.  People write ads like that.  If your email is filled with exclamatory statements, it's likely to get flagged as spam.  
  • Does this email have a lot of red-flag words like "free" or "exclusive offer?"  Once again, people don't write ordinary messages chock-full of these terms.  If the density of such words (the number of times the appear as compared to the overall length of the message) is too high, it can get flagged as spam.
  • Does this email have a large amount of embedded images and colors?  Are you noticing a trend: people don't compose simple letters this way, people compose ads this way.  When a spam filter sees HTML with pretty images and ornately designed color schemes, it knows that it's likely a promotional email (and they'd be right).
  • Does this email have a lot of hyperlinks?  I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.  People don't write emails to people like this. They write ads like this.  
So, write like a human. Keep images, color, and other style-points to a minimum.  Avoid exclamatory language and attention grabbers like bold or all caps.

Don't believe me?  Try this.  Open an email account from some free ESP like yahoo or gmail.  Write an email to yourself and break all of the above rules.  Subject: "Great FREE Offers!" and in the body, abuse all these rules.  See if your own Outlook doesn't filter it as spam even though the message never hit a bulk-email server like AddressTwo.

Who Does the Email Come FROM?

We get this question from time-to-time regarding our Campaign Manager. Who does the email appear to come "from"? Does it send via my own Outlook, gmail, or whatever email program you may use, or does it come from AddressTwo?

The answer is both yes, and no.

No, the Campaign Manager emails that are sent will not be sent using your email service provider, nor will they channel through your own Outlook or Gmail, or what-have-you. In order to track the recipients, their opens/views, and their clicks, as well as provide an automated unsubscribe feature, we need to send the emails using our own server.

However, the answer is "Yes" it does come FROM you. The email will appear to every recipient as though it is from you. The sender will be your name and return email address as you set it up in the "Sender Profile" section of the Campaign Manager. And, as expected, any reply to that email will come directly to you just as any ordinary email. In no way will the email be sent "from" AddressTwo in any way that a recipient could determine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Change the background color of a table in your email template.

First put your cursor in the table you want to change.



Then find the table in the html tree (gray bar at the bottom) .




You will know the selected table by the white squares in the outline. Then click the background color tool box.





Finally, you can select the color or type in the hex code.







This will change the background of a table.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Required fields in Address Two Contact forms

Here is a simple JavaScript field validation that you can use on your address two contact forms. You will need an Address Two contact form and a little HTML know how.

Step 1 - give the form a Name(A2Form) and add the onsubmit call.
Change:

<form action="http://www.addresstwo.com/cf/function_addaccount.asp" method="post" style="padding: 0px;" target="_top">

To:

<form name="A2Form" onsubmit="return validateForm()" action="http://www.addresstwo.com/cf/function_addaccount.asp" method="post" style="padding: 0px;" target="_top">


Step 2 -add the validation script into the <head> section of your page.

<script type="text/javascript">
function validateForm() {
// repeat the following for each required field
     var x = document.forms["A2Form"]["FieldNameHere"].value;
     if (x == null || x == "") {
     alert("message here - Field Required ");
     return false;
     }
// end repeating code for each required field
}
</script>


Special Note: Validating Checkboxes
Checkboxes and radio buttons are a special breed of input that you cannot validate based simply on the value attribute.  Instead, the code for a required checkbox input would look like this:

     var x = document.forms["A2Form"]["FieldNameHere"].checked;
     if (x != true) {
     alert("message here - Field Required ");
     return false;
     }


You can see this script in action at http://www.w3schools.com/js/js_form_validation.asp

Happy Validating!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sending email before you are logged out

If you have ever seen an error when sending Campaign Emails, specifically an error that looks like something/email_newtriggercampaign and some line number, you may have been logged out for inactivity.

You can usually see under campaigns, manage, Sent items; that no email went out.

This can happen anywhere but usually happens while composing an email.

The server holds a session open for about 20 minutes. If there is not a request to the server in that time, the session is closed to save resources.

You can prevent this by writing your emails as a saved template and saving often. Then you can make a change, save the change and send yourself a test email in rapid succession. Then when it’s time to send the email, you can pull up the contacts, open the template and send it on its way.

Another time saver is to create a mostly empty template that conforms to your branding under email templates and then compose the text of your email in another text editor program. Then when you are ready to send the email you can query the recipients, open the empty template, and paste in the text. The idea is to compose the email first, then send it to the appropriate contacts.

This prevents the frustration you experience when you put effort into pulling up the right group of contacts and get logged out while composing the email.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Starting Over (Cleaning out Address Two)

So your import did not go as expected. That’s OK, Its easy to start over. You can pull up all contacts by clicking ‘Browse’ on the top menu.

If this is from a file import where you don't want to delete all contacts, you can search for the contacts created on the current date under query.

Then, on the result screen there is a drop-down list called ‘Use This List’. There is an option for ‘Global Update’ in this list, and on the Global Update screen, there is a button to ‘Delete All’

Some times it’s easier to just start over.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Home Life Perks - A pretty cool tool

I was recently introduced to Home Life Perks by local entrepreneur Arnie Goldberg.  Immediately, I could see how our users might enjoy this platform as a means to not only retaining existing customers, but growing their influence over a larger and larger database via referrals and what I like to call "viral marketing." 

Here is a quick tutorial on how you can integrate Home Life Perks with AddressTwo.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tables in the HTML Email Editor

The table button adds a table easily. First put the cursor where you want the new table. Then click the table button.






Then to merge cells, you have to be sure you have the right cell, object, selected. You can click the cell , or click the object in the bottom object map, to select it. The tag on the tag list at the bottom lights up when selected. When you have the object selected, the appropriate merge cell options are available.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One hard working Virtual Administrator

Here is a list of email Commands Addy can recognize and how to use them.

History:

You can cc or bcc Addy@addresstwo.com on any email. Addy will match your from: email address to the appropriate Address Two account and then match the to: email address to a contact in your Address Two account and create a history record for that contact with the email.

If there is not a contact in your Address Two account with this email address, Addy will create a new contact and add the history record. You can see new contacts created by Addy on the Address Two dashboard in the ‘New From Addy’ section.

This is when Addy sends a verification email on your behalf to complete any missing contact information. If you would prefer Addy not send out any confirmation emails, you can uncheck the box ‘Enable Addy Email Verification’ under Admin, User Logins.

VCard:

You can send a VCard attached to an email to Addy to add a new contact.

If a contact is already in your address two account, you can bcc Addy on an email to the contact and the email will be added to the contacts history.

Important: Make sure there is not an FW: or RE: in the subject. This will process the email differently and the VCard will not be read.

Be sure to send your email to Addy in HTML or Plain Text. She may not be able to find a V-Card in a Rich Text email. Check your email settings.

Find:

You can send an email to Addy with the subject “find” and the first name and space and a last name as the body of the email, and you will get a reply with the Name and Contact information for all the contacts that match the name.

Task:

You can send Addy an email with the subject “Task” and addy@addresstwo.com in the to: field and Addy will add a task for you with the body of the email as the task and the first recognizable date in the format xx/xx/xxxx as the due date.

You will need to have a contact with the from email address (your email address) to attach the task to. The best way to accomplish this is to have an account that represents your business in your Address Two accounts.

You can also send Addy an email with the subject “Task:” + (the first name and last name of a contact) or (the name of a project) and addy@addresstwo.com in the cc: or bcc: field and Addy will add a task for you with the body of the email as the task. The task will be associated to the appropriate contact or project and the task will be assigned to the user that the email was sent to. (see also emailing addy to assign task)

E-Intro:

You can send an E-Introduction to 2 contacts by sending an email with 2 contact emails in the email To: field and ‘E-Intro’ in the subject field and addy@addresstwo.com in the cc: or bcc: field. Both contacts get an email with the name , company name and email address of both the contacts.

If Addy does not know what to do with the email you sent, you will get a message from Addy that says so,

"I really want to help you, but I'm not certain what your request was for. Here's the info I saw, maybe you can forward it to support@addresstwo.com for support:

TO:

CC:

Subject:

Those details should help troubleshoot the issue.

Thanks,

“Addy"

your digital assistant from AddressTwo.com”

Happy Emailing!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Emailing Addy to Assign a Task

Thanks for Daniel Herndon for suggesting and helping to develop this very powerful new feature. Let's say you want to remind yourself to do something. Do you email yourself from your blackberry so it will be there in your inbox in the morning? Not any more.

Remind myself to do something...
Send an email directly TO Addy with the subject line "Task" and whatever you type as the message will get appended to your task list for the following day. If you write any recognizable date in the body of the message, Addy will assign the task on that date instead. So, if I write:
TO: addy
FROM: me
Subject: Task

I need to order a new print cartridge by 5/16/2012.
Addy will add a task to your task list due on 5/16/2012 with the description written.

Assign tasks to others on your team...
But what if I want to assign that task to my office manager, not to myself? Simple. Send the email to the assignee themselves, copying Addy. Of course, as you probably already realized, that means that your office manager will receive the email. They'll get your full instruction via email. But, in addition, it will be added to their AddressTwo task list for accountability.

Assign tasks related to Contacts or Projects...
Now, for the most amazing functionality. What if the task had nothing to do with something inert like print cartridges? What if it was indeed a sales or production task? And, (as our good friend Daniel Herndon taught us) these sorts of tasks often require far more instruction than the 100 character description allowed in AddressTwo. So, construct an email like this:

TO: someone@mycompany.com
CC: addy
FROM: me
Subject: Task: John Doe

John needs to get a current price list for the widgets. He and his wife have been shopping around at our other competitors, and I had a conversation with him today. Here is what I think you can do to win this business:
- Throw in a free 1-year service contract.
- Include tickets to the game this Saturday.
- Complement his good looks.
Have all of this done by 5/16/2012 please.

Thanks,
Nick
The result will be a task, due on 5/16, related to the contact matching the string John Doe, assigned to the recipient. The description will only be the first 100 characters of this email, but that's irrelevant, the assignee has already received the full email. Now, the AddressTwo task is simply a matter of accountability and tracking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Email Opt-out A self managing system

The emails that are sent from Address Two include a line at the bottom that looks like this:

This email was sent to email@address.com. To stop receiving emails from this user, unsubscribe.

If some one clicks the link to unsubscribe, the email address is opted out. This corresponds to the opt in check box on the contact record. If a contact is opted in, the email is green. If a contact is opted out, the emial is red. You can see and change the opt in check box on the account view if you click the edit (pencil) button.

Opted out contacts are automatically blocked when sending email from Address Two, so there is nothing you have to do to keep these contacts from receiving email. It’s a self managing system.

Happy Emailing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reading Campaign Reports

Who viewed it? Who clicked? How well did my email perform? These are all questions you should be asking yourself just moments after clicking send. This tutorial, I want to give you a quick overview on how to use the campaign reports.

First, where to find them...
From the Campaigns Dashboard, look to the activity area on your right. You can view scheduled emails (which will be empty if you're not an active user of Triggered Campaigns) as well as sent emails. Click the Sent tab and look at the stats icon to the right of each email listed.

Ok, so what am I looking at?
If you have found your report, now what are you looking at? First, the graph at the top gives you a high-level view of the email's performance. Next, you will see a glimpse of the email content itself as it was delivered. To the left, a list of all the email addresses who have viewed this email, and finally, at the bottom a list of those who clicked a link.
  • Unique Views vs. Total Views - in the top graph, you will see two numbers, unique and total views. Total views are the total number of times that the email was looked at. This can be multiple times per recipient. If I read an email in the morning, then come back and read it again in the afternoon, that's 2 views. Unique views are the unique number of recipients who viewed. So, in the example of myself reading an email once in the morning and once in the afternoon, that would count as only one unique viewer. So, why is that useful? Know this: we can only track the original [intended] recipient. That means that if I view an email in the morning and in the afternoon, but also forward it to 15 friends, then it's now up to a 17 total views. The 15 friends all get tracked as though they were me because they're viewing the email intended for me. Whenever your total views are significantly higher than your unique views (15% or more) you have created a viral email. Congratulations.
  • What's that "create query" link do? One very useful way to use email marketing is to send an email to a broad list and then use the viewers or the clickers on that email as a more highly qualified lead list, either for calling or for a higher-impact follow-up campaign such as postcards. When you click "create query" under the viewers or the clickers, it consolidates the clickers or viewers as a resultset of a query, giving you the option to use that list in the same way you would any ordinary query: call them, email them, send a postcard, mail merge, etc.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Items & Materials (the "SKU Manager")

The Project Manager plugin got a dramatic upgrade last week, and we're excited to tell all of you about it.  It's what we have affectionately started calling the SKU Manager around the office because of it's use of SKU's (stock-keeping-unit) to uniquely identify products that you sell and assign costs & descriptions to each.

Previously, the Project Manager relied on a simple break-down for line items by Category.  That functionality still exists, and for those of you using it, you'll notice no change in expected behavior.  That is, until you go and add your first SKU. 

Under Admin >> Projects >> Items & Materials (formerly called "Project Categories") you can edit your category selections as well as insert individual items, or SKU's.  Once you have loaded an inventory of pre-set items here, you can select those items for sale when entering a Project.  What's the benefit?  Simple: save typing.  If you sell the same item over and over, you may have found yourself re-typing descriptions and prices in the Project / Opportunity form.  Now, you can save that typing and ensure consistency. 

There are a few other perks you'll soon find.  With a unique identifier on these line items (the SKU number) we can now report on exactly how much of one item you are selling or forecasted to sell in a given time frame. 

If you're a user of the Project Manager plugin, the SKU Manager will make your life much easier.  If you're not, now could be the time to try.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Cloud is a Beautiful Thing

Last week, a frantic customer called the office.  They had lost everything on their computer to a virus attack and she was dealing with the devastating realization that much of her work was lost.  Her question for me: "Did I lose all my AddressTwo data, too?"  It seems like a silly question if you understand the nature of how our system is designed.  But for her, the benefits of the cloud hadn't quite sunk in yet.

But today, I'm in her shoes... and the view from the other side of the fence makes me appreciate all the more how beautiful cloud computing can be, if only I'd used it.

I have a computer that's been running Quickbooks Simple Start 2007 since before 2007 (those silly release dates are always jumping the gun).  It was a good old fashioned Windows XP system and never had a single problem, likely because it only got used a few times a month.

But today, the first day of June (bill-payment day around here), I was met with a not-so-friendly surprise.  Failed to boot.  Bad sector.  I'm currently 3 hours into the project of removing the old hard drive and recovering files.  What do I plan to do with them?  Import to Quickbooks Online, of course!  To the cloud!

Cloud computing for me is more than just connectedness and collaboration.  It's the simple peace of mind that my data is not dependent on the feeble capabilities of my desktop computer.  If your customer data were gone today, what would that mean for your business?  If you lost the contacts in your cell phone or your Outlook, could you recover?  Maybe, but why test it.  Make AddressTwo your primary resource for contact management today.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Parent & Child Accounts

AddressTwo is account centric, allowing multiple contacts per one "account" or what we often call a "buying center." But what if there are multiple buying centers within a company. This is the case in large businesses that have multiple divisions or departments, each making their own buying decisions. It's also quite prevalent in franchise or multi-location businesses.

One account doesn't work because they are indeed two separate "buying centers." However, you want to maintain the relationship from one to the other. So how do you do that? Child accounts.

When viewing the contacts under an Account, you will see a small option in the lower-right called "Clone this account." Cloning is the way that a parent births a child in AddressTwo. The clone will begin with the same data as the original, but you can then edit the contact info as appropriate to the newly forming (and fully separate) Account. However, when you're finished creating this new Account, you'll notice a small link below the Company Name field to the Parent Account. From the Parent Account, you can now use the "view child accounts" link (in the Contacts box) to see those childs?

What if you already have the child and need to create a parent relationship after the fact? It's possible, just follow these steps:

First, create the new Account that will be the parent eventually. This is the corporate office, or the headquarters for the many-faceted account.

Next, query for all of the soon-to-be child accounts. This could be a simple company name search, but be sure to exclude the one just created. Perhaps add a parameter to set zip code or city "IS NOT" the location of the recently added parent. This will ensure that all other accounts in that company except the parent you just created are found in the results of the query.

Finally, use the "Global Update" option under the "Use This List" drop-down to assign a parent account to all matching results. That's it, you're done.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Task Automation (Workflows)

Tucked away at the bottom of the Task Dashboard is a tab you may have hardly noticed and most of you may be afraid to touch. It's the "Task Automation" box, and it's incredibly powerful. But, like most features in AddressTwo, the trick is harnessing that power.

First, what's task automation all about. Well, let's say you get a call-in lead from an ad you placed. Perhaps every time a lead comes in, you want your sales team (or you) to be reminded to do a fixed pattern of follow-up. For example: day 1, call; day 2 send a postcard; day 5 call again; day 10 send an email. You get the idea...

Second, how does task automation work? First, you have to determine which direction the tasks increment. In the example above, these tasks cound "up from" a due-date. The other option would be to count down to a date. This comes into play when some future event is known, and you want to do certain tasks prior to that date in preparation for it. Changing this option will toggle the text in your task series to either say "X days after due date" or "X days prior to due date."

Finally, once you have designed the series of tasks, how do you schedule those tasks for a given contact? Two ways: manually or automatically. Manually simply means that you would go to the contact for whom you wish to queue this entire series, click the "Add a Task" icon and then select the newly created task series from the bottom of the "Type of Task" drop-down list. In addition, you can also choose to queue these series of tasks automatically as a trigger on a web form.

Happy tasking.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

HTML in Address Two email

Learning some basic HTML coding will make it much easier to deal with your email templates. HTML is easy to learn and easy to use.

In an HTML web page this code:
<html>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>

<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

Produces a page that looks like:

My First Heading

My first paragraph

In an HTML email in Address Two, you don’t have to worry about the tags outside of the <body></body> tags. You can start with the meat of the email.

When you start a plain letter email template in Address Two, you get the following HTML code:

<p style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">
Hello %%FirstName_%%,
</p>
<p style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">
This default greeting will auto-merge the first name of each recipient. Write your message here.
</p>
<p style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">
Regards,
<br />Chad</p>


This code produces this email:

Hello %%FirstName_%%,
This default greeting will auto-merge the first name of each recipient. Write your message here.
Regards,
Chad


To learn more about HTML coding check out w3schools HTML tutorials http://www.w3schools.com/html.


See Also:


Email Design Basics


Email Design Advanced

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FriendTwo - What is it and how do I use it?

If you have been using AddressTwo for a while, you may have noticed that the original "Social Media Plugin" has been renamed as something called "FriendTwo."  If you're new to AddressTwo, you probably just wonder what the heck this second, seemingly separate product is.

First, what does it do? Simple.  FriendTwo imports a list of all of your followers, friends, and connections from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  It then combines those lists and looks for duplicates.  You're likely friends with a lot of the same people on these various networks.  Finally, it creates a CSV (spreadsheet readable in Excel) of the data. 

So, is it a separate product? Yes and no.  It's a "micro-site" designed to have some benefit for any person who wishes to use it -- AddressTwo user or not.  The whole world can benefit from FriendTwo.  However, it does have extra benefits for those users of AddressTwo.

How so?  When you use FriendTwo in combination with AddressTwo, you can link your contacts in your AddressTwo CRM database to their "friend" records stored at FriendTwo.  As you view any contact in AddressTwo, you can reference that data at a glance. 

The product is currently considered beta, which around here means: "here's an idea we think might be useful, let's see if people use it enough to bug us for updates."  So far, they have.  When people use a beta product and then ask for improvements, that's a sure sign that it's a product in-demand and worthy of further exploration.

Future enhancements considered for FriendTwo include a real-time sync, the auto-population of data from social networks into AddressTwo, and better support for large friend/followings.

Try it.  Test it.  Break it.  We just want you to use it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unfunded: What is it and Who should read it

Nick Carter was recently interviewed by Stream Three Creative about his book, Unfunded.

To watch the video, click here

Now, where this really gets fun... to learn about the parameters of this somewhat uncooth contest that can win you a free book, click here.

Finally, comment on this blog article with the exact minute:second of the "you-know-what" mentioned in the above tweet to be entered to win.

AFTER we have selected the winner, we will publish all the comments (otherwise, the first entrant gives away the answer for all).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Printing Lists and Queries

A number of users have asked a simple question: how do I print my contacts?  While having a hosted solution with data in the cloud is great, but from time to time there's a need to print a list and take it with you.  Our solution for printing contacts is (as the rest of our solutions) very simple.  Export to CSV.

If you have a Query or a List of contacts (or, you've simply hit Browse to recall all contacts) you would simply need to click the "Use This List" drop-down menu in the upper right hand corner of the results.  One of the options is Export CSV.

Another very popular CSV export is the Task List.  While you're viewing your Task List, you can export a CSV (upper right corner) which includes all the detail you would need to contact those people. 

Why a CSV?  A CSV file can be manipulated in your favorite spreadsheet software (such as Excel) and it gives you the power to determine not only which fields to have printed, but also preferences such as font size and orientation.  A CSV really puts the power in your hands.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Common CSV Upload Problems

We answer quite a few support questions regarding CSV uploads gone awry.  Sometimes it was a bug.  Most times it was a malformed CSV file.  If you recently did an upload and found that some or all of your data did not appear correctly, check to see if any of the following problems might be your culprit. 
  1. It's not a CSV.  Sounds simple, but people upload XLS or XLSX (Excel) files all the time.  In Excel, click Save As and select the CSV or "Comma Separated Value" file type.  You will be given a warning.  Just click "YES" or "OK".
  2. Duplicate Header Values.  We look at the 1st row know what field you're importing.  If you have two columns with the same exact title (a common practice for "Phone") then the system cannot tell which to use.  Instead, use "Phone1" and "Phone2" to have distinct values.
  3. Trailing Spaces in the header value.  This one is a real booger and can be hard to find, but if you have uploaded a CSV and realize that only one field or a small number of fields did not import, you might have a trailing space in the header.  For example, you thought you'd written "Phone1" but you had really written Phone1 " with that space at the end.  The empty space makes the column unrecognizable.  
  4. Blank rows.  We have seen several spreadsheets where a blank row separates one group of contacts from another.  Upon upload, any contact after the first blank row does not get imported.  This is because the only way software can know that it's reached the end of a spreadsheet is when it finds no data.  The blank row tells AddressTwo that it's reached the end of the document.  This can be especially frustrating if your first row is blank.  Zero contacts are imported.  To fix this, simply sort your spreadsheet alphabetically and re-save.  blank values are sorted to the bottom and all the real data is grouped together at the top.
  5. Blank Columns.  Much like the above error, blank columns tell AddressTwo as it reads from left-to-right that it's reached the end of the available fields.  Any fields of data after a blank column are never found.  Delete the blank columns so that all columns abut each other.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cut and paste email templates / A word on Word

The problem with cutting and pasting from Word into the Address Two email editor is that is that there is a lot of formatting overhead that comes with the paste operation.

For example if you have a paragraph in word that looks like:

Some Text In Word

When you cut and paste this into the address two email editor you get:

< Some formatting that does not work well in the editor > Some Text In Word < Some more formatting that does not work well in the editor >

Literally yoiu get:

< p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;" > < span style="font-size: 12pt;" > < span style="font-family: Calibri;" >Some Text In < strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;" > Word < /strong > < /span > < /span > < /p >

This is a huge increase in the html code, and most of this code is targeting word or a web page and will not work in your html email. It may make your email appear blank.

To get around this, it’s best to cut out the text you want from word and paste the text into notepad or some other simple text editor. Then cut the text in the notepad and paste the text into the Address Two email editor.This removes the formatting and makes the text easier to work with.

Happy Pasting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How do I Remove or Delete a Contact?

Deleting contacts is not available at the click of a button. Guess what: that's by design. It's far easier to accidentally delete someone than it is to put them back after it has happened, so we have made the deletion process such that you cannot do it by accident.

To delete a contact, view that contact in the Account View screen. Click the "edit" icon (the pencil) next to that contact. This opens the edit dialogue for the contact. Among the options to the right, you will see a delete icon. That will delete the contact permanently.

Deleting an Account is actually done by deleting the last remaining contact under that account. If an Account has only one Contact, then by deleting the contact, the Account will disappear entirely.

We have entertained requests on various occasions to create a streamlined, check-box delete system.  Just view a list of all contacts, check a box, and click delete.  However, in every case we have uncovered that this request meets a temporary need -- one that is only valuable for the short duration after an initial upload and before a new user begins using the software daily.  When we take a longer-view perspective on using the software, it's clear that this ability to delete in mass facing sales staff every day as they work, call, log appointments, and update the data would not only be problematic, it could be disastrous.

-----------------------
Note: For administrators in the system, a query or list can be deleted in bulk using the "Global Update" option from the "Use This List" drop-down. However, for all the reasons noted above, please do use caution.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

AddressTwo Sends Postcards & SMS Marketing

It is with great excitement that I am announcing the release of two Brand New Features in AddressTwo.  When you log in today, you will have the ability to send postcards to your contacts -- even as few as 1 at a time -- and SMS/text broadcasts to mobile numbers.
Send Postcards
Need to send a thank-you card, a quick follow-up, or a small direct mail drop to a list of contacts?  Just type your message and click send.  We'll do the rest, including print and stamp your card.  No minimums.  No hassle.
SMS Broadcast (Text Messages)Looking for a new way to get your message in front of your prospects?  SMS marketing is fast becoming the method of choice for communicating with your database.
Where do I find these new options?
From the "Use This List" drop down on any query or list, select "Send a Postcard" or "Send a Text Message" to send a message to all recipients.  Additionally, one-to-one postcards can be sent to a single contact using the "Postcard" icon found near the "Record History" and other action icons on the Account View.
Get sending today!  Try sending your next follow-up message using an AddressTwo postcard.  It's easy, and best of all, it's affordable.  Postcards are as low as $1.00 each (including first class postage) when you pre-pay for qualifying quantities.  Click Here for a detailed price break-down.  Purchase on-demand when you're ready to send your first message.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or any problems getting started with these powerful new features.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Contact Fields vs Historic Data

It seems we have had several conversations recently with different users who are having trouble seeing the difference between fields -- attributes of a contact/account -- and historic data. I suppose this is perpetuated by the fact that most companies exist in spreadsheets where the only option is to add more columns, regardless of what's being tracked. But, the best way to manage things like "next action" or "last order date" is not as a field on the contact, it's as historic data.

Let me give a concrete example. You may have a spreadsheet with columns for name, company, phone, email, and a myriad of other data fields. Those are all relatively fixed attributes of the contact. With few exceptions, these are not dynamically changing fields.

However, if you're an active prospector, then you may have a few other columns called "notes" or "next call date." You may currently use a process whereby you sort your spreadsheet by "next call date" and look back to the notes to see what you most recently spoke to the prospect about. This is the common, albeit very limiting, workflow that many small businesses use in lieu of true CRM when they are unaware of solutions like AddressTwo.

Then, the day comes when you're ready to migrate to AddressTwo -- you're ready to really use a CRM to make your sales more productive and more efficient. Great! The first thing you need to know is that those fields are not fields, they're historic data.

In a CRM like AddressTwo, you have contact data fields (which you can import yourself) such as name, company, phone, email, and a slew of others. But the historic data -- the history of calls, appointments, and even a record of future actions yet to be completed -- is quite a different animal. And, importing it from other sources can be tricky. This is why it is a service that our staff performs for a fee. But, once set up properly, the efficiencies it produces are immeasurable.

So, when you're ready to import your data, ask yourself: am I importing fields or historic data?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CRM and Communication -- One Tool, One Solution

News released early this morning has flooded my inbox with emails from friends, customers, and colleagues who all want to say, "Oh my gosh, did you see this?"  Constant Contact, a widely used email marketing company, is reported to have acquired a lesser-known CRM company in order to meld the two technologies together.

To which we reply: "Right.... just like we've been doing for a couple years already."

You see, it didn't take me long to realize as I was building AddressTwo in the early days that CRM goes hand in hand with outboud marketing communication for small businesses.  The same group of people that you need to record notes for and schedule follow-up tasks for, you also need to stay in touch with in a collective manner. 

That's why AddressTwo has had a built-in email marketing function for quite some time, since the earliest releases.  The later iteration, the Campaign Manager, added automation to that broadcast capability.  Not only can you send one email, but you can schedule entire series of communication.  And, the I intentionally chose the name "Campaign Manager" because I foresaw that this functionality would not always be limited to email.  It foreshadowed a greater solution that, today, as our biggest competitors announce that they finally have caught up to us, puts AddressTwo still one step ahead of the rest.

As of today, the Campaign Manager's two new features -- postcard marketing and SMS/text message broadcast -- are being beta tested by our Partner Providers.  By March, we hope to have these tools available to all users.  While the rest of the industry is just now combining email and CRM, we're combining email, postcards, and text messaging with CRM. 

Why?  Because we know what small businesses need.  We are a small business.  And we will always be THE solution for small business CRM!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Importing Contacts from Outlook

Importing contacts from Microsoft Outlook is a two-step process, beginning first with the export from Outlook. Once exported, you will use the CSV Import process in AddressTwo to import your fields.

  1. In Outlook, click the Contacts tab to display your complete contact list (as opposed to the standard inbox view).
  2. Click on File >> Import and Export
  3. Select "Export to a File" and click Next.
  4. Select "Comma Separated Value (Windows)" and click Next.
  5. Be sure that your Contacts folder is selected as the data to be exported.
  6. Tell it where to save this file (your desktop will suffice.
Next (optionally) you can clean up the CSV before import. Double-clicking the newly created CSV file should open in Excel, or whatever your default spreadsheet software is. There, you will see that Windows adds gobs of unnecessary columns. There are umpteen different phone numbers, home, business, mobile, and even ISDN for heaven's sake. If you're the average user, the majority of these columns will be empty and only cause confusion upon import. I recomend deleting any unused fields and re-saving the file.

Note: Excel will always warn you about saving a CSV file. This is OK. Just press OK.

Now, inside AddressTwo, click on Admin...
  1. Under the Contact Management area, click on Upload Contacts.
  2. Select the CSV option. The first screen is informational only. You can proceed to upload.
  3. Upload the newly created file and click "Proceed"
  4. Map your fields... IMPORTANT do not skip this step. You must tell AddressTwo what each of your column headings from the spreadsheet mean to AddressTwo.
  5. Finally, you can proceed with the import and all your contacts will be added.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Custom Fields

Over the past few months, we've been getting more and more requests for custom fields. Do we offer them? Yes, as a matter of fact we do. We can add custom fields for you to track whatever data you need that's unique to your business. There's just one catch: you have to ask.

Why? Wouldn't it be faster, for us and for you, if we simply created an admin interface that allows you to add custom fields from the software itself? Perhaps. But speed is not always the goal. We want to make sure that you're using AddressTwo to the best of its ability. Well over half the time, when we enter a conversation about custom fields, we're able to show the customer other ways to track the data that are more intelligent and more efficient. It just takes a little explanation.

Examples:
  • Last sale date. A customer wanted a field where they could add the last sale date. Of course, this would require manual entry. Every time a sale would close, the account manager must remember to update that field, too. Instead, we demonstrated how to use the Project Manager to track open opportunities and closed sales. By nature, this will record the closed transaction. Viola. Data tracked natively and without manual processes.
  • Newsletter Subscribers. A customer wanted a field to place a simple "X" in if the contact was subscribed for their newsletter. We suggested using a list instead. It's faster and more accurate, and it can be combined with other queries to get detailed subscribers in various industries or who meet other criteria.
  • Upload Batch. A customer wanted to be able to sort out her database by the month that she uploaded the leads. She received new leads in a batch each month and wanted to ability to separate them if needed. Her solution was to add a field for the batch month name. We explained that all accounts have a "created on" date stored, which can be queried and used to easily distinguish one batch from another.
These are just a few examples, but in each case you can see that if we simply opened up the ability to create custom fields to the public, there would be a lot of manual and inefficient work being done. We're glad to consult with our users to make sure they are getting the most out of their AddressTwo investment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

To Template or Not To Template? That is the Question.

I hate templates.  I think they destroy brands.  They allow small business owners to unknowingly permit laziness and/or under-budgeted marketing efforts to fade their company into the background of advertising noise.  It undermines the value of true design, which is the solving of problems (yes, even aesthetic problems) and not merely the slathering of bright colors and sleek-looking stock photography.

OK, as usual, my blog post started off with a rant.  Sorry, but I'm in a conundrum.

Since the inception of AddressTwo we have not provided templates.  We have actually intentionally not provided templates for email marketing, not out of inability, but by design.  We do not want people to pick a template and send. 

But customers ask for it.  Often we have to explain why they're nowhere to be found on AddressTwo.  We have to constantly defend the position.  And, at the end of the day, I'm torn between encouraging our users to do what is best for them or simply meeting their demands (isn't that what good customer service is all about?) and publishing a template library.  After all, I could do it, right?

Dear customer,
If I offer you templates, will you promise me to use them sparingly?  Will you still at least think about getting a custom template?  Will you please use the stock template ONLY as a last resort, and a temporary solution?
Sincerely,
Nick Carter

I want to know: am I off my rocker?  Should I get off my high horse and answer the customer demands?  I want to hear form you, customers.  Give me one good reason I should unlock this poison for your business?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Configuring Google Apps (not Gmail) for Firefox handling Mailto: links

Inside AddressTwo, many of the individual email links rely on a simple but universal HTML function called a "mailto:" hyperlink. Unfortunately, this sort of hyperlink is reliant on your browser's local settings to know exactly how to handle it. By default, many Windows PC's will try to launch Outlook or Outlook Express, and likewise, Mac's try to launch Mail. That's wonderful, unless you use Gmail, Yahoo, or some other webmail service.

In other blogs, we address how to configure browsers for these webmail services. However, there is one very unique case: Google Apps. Different from gmail, Google Apps must be configured separately as the default email handler. (Note: this instruction applies only to Mozilla Firefox).

1. In Firefox's address bar, copy and paste the following and hit enter:
about:config

2. Click "I'll be careful, I promise" when the warning appears

3. In the "Filter:" field, copy and paste:
gecko.handlerService.allowRegisterFromDifferentHost

4. Double click the found result to change the boolean value from false to true

5. In the address bar, copy and paste the following:
javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler('mailto','https://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com/mail/?extsrc=mailto&url=%s','Google Apps')

6. IMPORTANT: Replace “yourdomain.com” with your own Google Apps hosted domain and hit enter

7. Click "Add Application" when it asks you a question

8. go to Edit > Preferences > Applications > mailto

9. Choose "Use Google Apps"

Using Gmail as your default email client.

When you click an email link in AddressTwo, or any website, the default email client pops open with an email ready to go with the details described in the link. Usually the details are limited to the TO: address, but the golden arrow next to the contact email in AddressTwo pops open an email with the TO: address and a BCC: to addy@addresstwo.com.

This works great if your default email client is a desktop application like Outlook, but what if you want to use a web application like Gmail? There is good news for the Gmailers and the browser is the key. The default email agent is a setting in the browser. This means you have some control over the application the email links activate.

If you use Mozilla Firefox, there is built in support for Gmail. Just go to Tools, Options. On the applications tab go to Content Type: mailto and change the Action to: Use Gmail.

You would think Chrome would have integrated support for Gmail, but it does not. If you want to use Chrome or Internet Explorer with Gmail you will need to download the Google notifier. There is a notifier for Windows or Mac. Just Google:Google Notifier. I don’t usually like downloading more browser toolbars, but this does the job. You will need your Google email and password to install the notifier. After installing Gmail should be your default email agent for all browsers.

Happy Gmailing!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Send An Email - Campaign Manager Mass Email

So you have all your contacts in AddressTwo, now how do you send an email? Well, first, let's clarify that "send an email" can mean two things. It can mean a one-to-one email from you to a discrete contact. Or, it can mean a mass email, as in an email marketing message, newsletter, or other so-called "email blast." This article is about the latter.

First, AddressTwo always starts with "Who?" Who am I sending to? To answer that question, you either perform a Query or recall a List. A query searches your database for the right people, the "who" that you're sending to. A list is a manually composed grouping of contacts. In either case, you get a set of contacts in a green results box.

Note: You may also decide to send to all, in which case, click the Browse All button in the quicksearch box. This effectively performs a Query with no criteria, resulting in all contacts. The process is the same to send an email to all as it is to send an email to a query or a list.

Once the results appear, you should see in the upper-right-hand corner of the green results box a drop-down menu titled "Use This List." From that menu, then you select "Send an Email." You are now composing an email to the "who" that you selected.