Category Archives: Mystery Solved

Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

An effective email marketing campaign seeks to persuade potential consumers to buy and current ones to return. Hence, building an email list is an important step in creating a client base. You must also be able to earn your subscriber’s trust. Don’t flood him or her with useless information about your product, which might cause your emails to be marked as “junk.”

Here are some dos and don’ts that you have to observe if you want launch an effective email marketing campaign:

Dos

1. Carefully word your emails. Catch and hold your subscriber’s attention by avoiding big words, long and dragging praise on your product’s merits. Just keep it short and simple. Don’t try your subscribers’ patience by putting in details they would never even be remotely interested in.

2. Check out your website statistics frequently. This way, you will be able to easily measure the response of your subscribers to your email promotions. There are free trackers on the Internet that you can use, as well as available features of your emailing service that can do the job.

3. Don’t forget that personal touch. Every customer wants to feel that you value them, that you give them your personal time and attention. To do this, your emails should contain special offers and information relevant to your target market. Use programs that automatically address the email message to their first names.

Don’ts

1. Some companies purchase an email list instead of building their own. This can save a lot of time for Internet marketers, but then again, everyone has different needs and wants. What one person would be eager to purchase can be something another person would find no use for.

This means that out of that email list, which probably contains hundreds of names, only a small fraction of the people behind them will be willing to buy your product. The rest will probably find your emails annoying and block you off their inbox. This is why building your own email list is important. It will consist only of people who are interested in your goods and who want constant updates. The list might be small, but it is one that consists of a solid client base.

2. Avoid clutter in your email. Create a strong message for your product and focus on that. If properly accomplished, you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t in persuading customers to buy. This might be an exercise of hit and miss, but developing a tried and tested procedure is guaranteed to boost your sales.

3. Don’t expect too much too fast. It takes time to build a solid client base. It takes a lot of effort for consumers to trust your company. Just continue developing your product and services. Be consistent in both quality and marketing so that eventually, you’ll be able to cultivate an image of respectability and credibility, two important qualities that you can’t easily buy with money

Windows Vista and Outlook 2002

I spent over an hour today looking at a clients computer today via logmeinrescue.com, after they were complaining that their pop 3 email was not working.

I logged in to find they were using Windows Vista and Outlook 2002. Initially I did not think it would be an issue until I started trying to troubleshooting the issue.

At first glance it was not apparent what the problem was but after pinging, telneting, restarting outlook and the machine a few times as well as looking around the internet a bit I found a real great page which explained that Outlook 2002 and Windows Vista are simply not very compatible at all.

Quotes taken from http://www.outlook-tips.net/howto/vista.htm

Outlook 2002: It runs, but email account passwords are not saved. After you enter the password during the first email check, Outlook will remember it until you close down Outlook. This is because Outlook used the protected storage interfaces to store passwords and these are no longer supported in Vista. Unless Microsoft decides to create a publicly available hotfix to address this, you won’t be able to save passwords. Outlook 2002 is outside of mainstream support so this is unlikely to happen as it’s not a critical security hole.

You can use a Windows script program such as AutoIt to enter the password for you.

Note that when you enter the password, the Send and Receive that brought up the password dialog may fail but future send and receives will work. Leave Outlook open 24/7 to avoid entering it frequently.

Recurring calendar items may not open. I cannot reproduce this error on my Vista test system and it may be related to syncing with a PDA. Try a new profile and new PST. If this does not fix it, upgrade or use the Vista calendar. (The Vista calendar and mail applications support syncing with PDAs.)

So after seeing the above article I set up Windows Mail (basically the new Outlook Express) and everything worked perfectly.

I did say to the client if she wanted to use Outlook on her machine that she should either get Windows XP or simply get the latest version of Outlook.

spooler subsystem app has stopped working

I kept getting the little annoying crash notification after having issues with my HP 1220 c printer so if you encounter this error, the following fix worked perfectly for me.

It seems that the registry key pointing to the drivers was corrupted so you will need to edit the windows registry in order to fix it.

Go to Start -> Run -> Regedit -> HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> ControlSet001 -> Control -> Print -> Environments -> Windows NT x86 -> Version -3 -> Then Remove All Printers From Here (delete the problematic ones first)

What are the benefits of an inverse email hunt?

While it may be easy to understand what an email inverse hunt is, many people wonder why they may need to perform such a task.

The answer simply is that an inverse email hunt may allow you to prevent not only spam, but slanderous materials and eliminate the threat of infectious emails.

Regardless of how you are being threatened in your email inbox, the only way you can prevent it is by finding out who is responsible for the harmful emails in the first place.

If you are still confused about how an inverse email hunt can help you, here are a few of the more popular circumstances that you may find yourself in.

Be aware however, that most of the time you will have to be a web professional or hire one to perform an inverse email hunt because it can be hard to backtrack through email without prior knowledge and training.

One of the most common reasons you may want to conduct an inverse email hunt is if you are receiving threatening emails that deface your character.

Since social networking is so popular now, an old acquaintance of business competitor may be trying to defame your character by altering content that contains your picture and mass emailing it.

The only way to contain the harm this can hold against you and the slanderous conduct in general, is to find who is behind it.

Another reason you may want to perform an inverse email hunt is if you keep receiving confidential work related material that is fake or misleading. In this case, you may be the target of a co-worker who is trying to discredit and humiliate you, so you will want to place a face to the individual behind this quickly before it affects your work image.

Additionally, somebody who wishes to be destructive may continually be sending you email that contains viruses one after another.

Eventually a virus will slip through the email filter so you want to stop an individual who is infecting your computer repeatedly before any permanent damage is created.

Proxy vs. a Proxy server, what is the difference?

If you have been using the Internet for a decent amount of time, you may have heard the technical terms proxy and proxy server tossed around casually by people.

However, many people interchange the word and phrase assuming they are the same thing, but in reality they are actually two separate things.

To fully understand what either of these terms really mean, you should know that literally translated a proxy is an agent who completes a task so that the first person can stay anonymous.

In Internet terms, a proxy, or proxies are defined as websites that allow you to access information on the web without having to reveal your true identity.

An example of how one may choose to use a proxy website is a person at work who wants to have access to social networking websites that are otherwise blocked by access points on the server at work.

Therefore, people use proxies so they can access any information they want without having to reveal their identity and without leaving a trail that their bosses can find.

This brings up what a proxy server is, which is most likely what is installed at work to keep you off of the social networking websites in the first place.

A proxy server usually works somewhat like a firewall allowing you to only access certain websites that are in accordance to the guidelines set by the workplace. Many educational universities also operate and allow their users access to the internet through proxy servers.

While many people think that proxy servers are a nuisance because they limit your abilities, proxy servers can also be useful since they block users from accessing websites that contain spyware and other viruses.

For this reason, sometimes surfing the internet from a proxy server is the best way to protect yourself and your computer from infection.

Useful Google Search Bar Tricks

Google provides many tools which can give you great information about the status of your site on their search engine as well as getting stock quotes, maps plus much more.

For example, if you wanted to see how many pages your site has listed on google, you would type into the google search bar the following:

site:craig-edmonds.com

Here are some more handy tricks to get information about your site from google.

Just replace url with your page and domain with your domain name like I have done in the example above.

These first two would probably be the main two google tricks that you would use

  • link:url or domain displays other pages with links to the url.
  • site:domain shows all listed pages for that domain.

These google tricks are a little more for the advanced user and more seo oriented, especially if you are doing some in depth research into your domain name and keywords.

  • related:url same as “what is related” on serps.
  • allinurl: shows pages with all terms in the url.
  • inurl: like allinurl, but only for the next query word.
  • allintitle: shows only results with terms in title.
  • intitle: similar to allintitle, but only for the next word. “intitle:craig edmonds google” finds only pages with craig edmonds in the title, and google anywhere on the page.
  • cache:url will show the Google version of the passed url.
  • info:url will show a page containing links to related searches, backlinks, and pages containing the url. This is the same as typing the url into the search box.
  • allintext: searches only within text of pages, but not in the links or page title
  • allinlinks: searches only within links, not text or title

Here are some other nifty little shortcuts you can use on the google search bar. The define shortcut is great for finding out the meaning of words.

  • define: will give you the meaning of a word or phrase
  • spell: will spell check your query and search for it.
  • stocks: will lookup the search query in a stock index.
  • filetype: will restrict searches to that filetype. “-filetype:pdf” to remove Adobe PDF files.
  • maps: If you enter a street address, a link to Yahoo Maps and to MapBlast will be presented.
  • phone: enter anything that looks like a phone number to have a name and address displayed. Same is true for something that looks like an address (include a name and post code)

Why You Need to Understand Google Dance

Google Dance is how the SEO community refers to Google’s process of updating its index.

This process happens once a month but it takes several days to complete.

Each day of the process, Google’s search results vary as a result of Google’s latest spider results. Before the index completes the updating process, the old and new indices are used alternately, resulting to fluctuating Google search results.

This fluctuation is the “dance.”

After the process, the newly updated index appears regularly until the next Google Dance schedule.

Dancing in a nutshell
The contents of Google’s search results come from more than 10,000 + Linux-based servers.

During Google Dance, not all servers can be updated at the same time. Servers are updated one by one with Google’s latest index.

Keen Google users like the SEO community are aware that Google has 3 main www servers that are all online:

• www.google.com – This is Google’s main address that directs users around the world to Google’s homepage.

• www2.google.com and www3.google.com -No one outside Google really knows what these two are for.

Expert communities have come to assume that these two are Google’s test servers.

When Google Dance is ongoing, the 3 servers display different search results because Google is still updating its servers one at a time.

What’s in it for you?
Knowing when Google Dance begins and ends can give you a better grasp of how your website ranks against your competitors. The goal is to learn how to stay ahead of Google Dance for your site to consistently rank high.

Here are 3 reasons why Google Dance should be important to you.

1. Search results after every month’s Google Dance tells you how your market is changing with regard to their search habits.
If your site ranks a lot lower than it did last month, check out the top 3 ranking sites of your category or keyword before making drastic changes to your own site.

Look out for particular terms used repeatedly in their content. Also take a look at which sites they link to and from.

2. Search results of other categories related to yours can tell you what else is important to your market.
This is a good way to check on your overall market situation. Knowing which sites rank high for related categories after every month’s Google Dance will allow you to know your market better.

You might want to explore cross-category linking to increase site traffic.

Reading comments made on other top-ranking websites could also be a goldmine of fresh insights and new product ideas.

3. Spell particular words in all ways conceivable.
After using all related keywords to search for top sites, it is a good idea to search with the same set of keywords. This time however, tweak the spelling a bit.

This will give you an idea on what pop us when users unintentionally misspell certain keywords. If search results for some misspelled keywords include competitors and other related websites, you might want to incorporate the misspelled words into your content and spread them around your site for Google’s spiders to crawl over.

Online Billing System with Credit Card Processing

Question – Are you a small business who is still doing their quotes and invoices in Microsoft Word and have to phone clients or manually write emails to remind them to pay invoices etc?

Question – Do you have recurring services and wish there was some automated system where it would create invoices and send them to your clients?

Question – Do you wish that your clients could pay online for your services with real time credit card processing which is linked into your billing system?

Well that was actually me a few years ago and those were just some of the questions I had to answer for myself.

When I first started 123 Marbella back in 2000 I was invoicing clients with Word Documents and Excel which was okay at the time because I was raising like one or two invoices per month.

But as I got busier and inevitably good businesses always do, I found that I was forgetting to bill clients for hosting renewals and domain renewals and would have to manually email clients with reminders to pay invoices that I had already raised etc.

Keeping track of estimates was also a bit of a nightmare too and it starting to become a mess.

KEEPING TRACK OF QUOTES AND INVOICES WAS A NIGHTMARE

I NEEDED TO FIND A SOLUTION…AND FAST!!!

I tried various different online and offline billing systems, all of which did not suit my unique requirements, and as I did not have the money (€15k plus) to have someone build one for me I decided the next best option would be to build one myself.

So I set some time aside and built my own online billing system myself taking my skills as a programmer and applying the business processes unique to my business.

I can honestly say without a doubt that building that automated billing system saved my business! If I had continued managing my invoices, quotes, reminders and credit control the way I was doing, then I would probably be road sweeping right now.

But you dont have €15k do you? Neither can you programme your own system.
Okay, so where am I going with this? You probably don’t have €15k to spend and neither do you have the skills to build a fully customised, automated billing and quotes system do you?

If you do then great, go for it, but if you don’t then I have probably found the answer, a very affordable solution to your billing needs.

FreshBooks to the Rescue!
A brilliant solution for any business that is looking for a professional billing system comes in the form of FreshBooks.

I only discovered this service yesterday by accident after spotting it on a friends web site.

Some of the basics of what you can do with FreshBooks

– Manage Your Clients and Give your clients login to view and pay invoices.

– Allow clients to pay via several payment gateways (ie credit card/paypal/amazon payments)

– Raise Invoices

– Create Quotes

– Perform Time Tracking for yourself and your staff

You are probably thinking that this costs a small fortune but no, there are no set up fees or contracts and they offer various monthly plans, starting from $14 per month which allows you to manage 25 clients and unlimited invoices.

They do a FREE version for you to try so if you click on the banner below, you can get your FREE account today.

CLICK ON THE BANNER BELOW TO SET UP YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

Internet Connection Problems? Be Redundant.

If you are a business then your internet connection is the lifeline of your business and no matter how much you try and rationalise that yes, electricity and phone are important, but your internet connection is the one you really notice when its gone.

With your internet connection you perform a multitude of tasks including sending and receiving email, manage your web site, upload files with ftp, view video presentations, use voice over ip systems, view web sites…well you get the idea, you do alot of stuff with it.

I know for a fact that if my connection in my office drops for 20 seconds I notice!

Now, as we know, adsl/broadband is usually 99.9% reliable but there is that small percent where its not and sometimes that small tiny bit of downtime is critical because more than often if your internet does happen to go down then getting it fixed can be a time consuming nightmare.

Believe me, I live in Spain and in general the internet works ok but when it goes wrong, its a series of phone calls with junior level tech support at the phone company and at least 10 minutes of convincing them that I know what I am talking about and its really actually a problem at their end and nothing to do with the fact I use windows Vista or Windows XP.

Anyway, I was doing some searching and came across this brilliant product from Xincom and its labelled as a  “Twin Gateway Redundancy Product”.

Front of the Xincom DPG603

That sounds a bit fancy but essentially what its does is allows you to connect two different adsl lines (or 3G or anything that connects to the internet) to a little box which in turns plugs into your network.

Now why would you want 2 internet connections?…I hear you say.

Having two internet connections from two totally different providers allows you a level of redundancy that you don’t get with only one adsl line.

However it does depend on how important your internet is to you. With adsl lines being really cheap these days as a business you can most certainly afford to have two connections!

When your adsl line goes down, that’s it, there is no internet until it comes back again but with a twin gateway product like the Xincom, it will automatically see that the primary line is down and switch to the secondary connection. (sure if both go down then yes, no internet again but xincom does do an 8 and a 16 gateway version of this)

This means if the internet goes down with one provider you will be switched to the next available provider.

BRILLIANT!

Up until now, these kind of boxes were only really available to hosting companies because they would cost in excess of several thousand euros but at a few hundred euros these days (and cheaper if you get them off ebay), its now possible for the home or office to have the same kind of redundancy.

You simply plug the unit into your existing network, make some changes to your computers gateway settings and away you go!

Rear of the Xincom Unit

Imail. Difference between Auto Responder and Vacation Message

I was asked this question today by one of my clients and thought it interesting enough to post because its asked often enough.

“I’m trying to understand the difference, in the email system, between the vacation message and the auto-responder. Is there any other significant difference between the 2 systems?”

There is and I will explain.

Auto Responder
The auto responder function when enabled, will automatically send a response back to the sender containing the message you have created. This could be something like “Hi, we have received your message and will get back to you shortly”.

If the same sender sends another email to the same address, the auto response system will kick in and send the message to the sender again.

Vacation Message
Like the auto responder system, the vacation message system will send an auto response to the sender, but will only send the message ONCE.

So basically they perform the same function but with the difference that the vacation message sends only one autoresponse.

So which one should you use?
Well for me, I never use either because auto responders and vacation messages add to the mountains of spam available on the internet.

Imagine, a spammer sends you an email, and you automatically send back a message saying “hi, my email exists so sell it to your spam friends”.

However, if you really must use one, then I would recommend a vacation message because the sender will only receive it once.

There is nothing worse than sending a mail to a person on a regular basis only to receive another one back, quite annoying indeed!