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Email marketing vs marketing automation.

August 20th, 2019 • By: Patricia Egen Sales

We are helping quite a few clients get up to speed with Act! Marketing automation. Many of them were prior users of the Swiftpage e Mail marketing.

One of the top questions I get is how is marketing automation different. There are tons of articles about marketing automation, but here’s what I have told everyone – in a few words so they don’t need to go read those articles right away.

Email marketing is just that – sending marketing pieces out via email “hoping” people will 1) open them and 2) buy your service or product. You send the emails out on faith. And sit back and wait for either a response or someone perhaps clicking on a website link you’ve provided.

That has worked well for many years and for many companies. But how do you make sure it makes you money? How do you insure that the lead generated by that email or click is responded to and a call to action has been implemented?

You need to find a way to automate that process and that is where marketing automation comes into play. It takes email marketing to a whole new level.

Things like automatically creating an activity when someone clicks on a link. Moving that lead into a group that you will follow up with additional emails in the future.

How about emails going out automatically on someone’s birthday with an activity scheduled for a sales rep to “check in” and see how things are going.

One of my favorites is having an email go out if someone has not been talked to, met with or responded to within 90 days – I call it the “neglected clients” campaign.

If you do a bunch of manual steps and processes after you send out email marketing pieces, then you need marketing automation.

Take the time to go research marketing automation on Google. Or…give us a call. This article will actually be in one of my upcoming emails with a click-through that I will follow up on. Compliments of a marketing automation campaign. Yes, we eat our own dog food.

So should you.

Call us (423)875-2652 or email us at support@egenconsulting.com if you want to learn more – or click on the following this link that talks more about Act’s marketing automation features.

Quickbooks Errors – Tip of the Week

August 19th, 2019 • By: Patricia Egen Business growth, Google, Quickbooks, Sales

Patricia Egen Consulting Fast TipsWe are resuming our Tip of the Week posts. Several emails came in saying people loved our tips so we’re bringing them back. You ask, we deliver.

This week, it’s all about Quickbooks.  We use this program like a bunch of small businesses do as well. I depend on it and when it does not work, I get grumpy. Just ask my staff.

Solving two problems in one week made me decide to have this be our tip of the week. Hopefully you might find them helpful as well. By the way, these tips are for Quickbooks Desktop.

This tip I learned years ago. While in Quickbooks, click F2. This brings up a nifty product description page which can help point to possible issues – like file sizes. 

What hit me this week was the “the Quickbooks user is already logged in.” This happens more frequently than I like – but it’s my own fault. After a long day, I “may” leave Quickbooks open instead of closing it like I should.  Then the network “burps” or something happens on the server and the connection drops. Quickbooks still thinks I’m connected. The solution that works most of the time is to go into task manager, and close any task that has a QB as part of the filename. Or reboot the computer that is hosting Quickbooks, and if you have ever been around IT people or Finance people connected to a server hosting Quickbooks, you know that idea works as well as asking someone to donate their weekend to doing projects.

The other thing I ran into as a little different. Recently when I am in the Customer section, when I would lookup customers, I kept getting a “loading” message and a task bar. It might take 1 or 2 minutes – and this NEVER happened before. Well, Google to the rescue AGAIN. Turns out the Customer sort list can get wonky (technical term there) and you need to clear the Sort.  Here’s how you do that (and you can do this for Vendors, Products, etc.) Click on the View menu. Then click Re-Sort List with Customers. Presto, problem went away. 

I hope you found these little tidbits helpful and remember to always go directly to Google to search for the problem and not to a vendor application website. Over the years, I have found the solution might be elsewhere.

Which level of Act! Growth Suite is right for you?

August 7th, 2019 • By: Wendy Cummins ACT CRM, Email marketing, Sales, Sales Automation

If you’re new to Act! or are looking to add e-marketing to your Act! subscription, you might find navigating the charts and marketing materials for the new Growth Suite and Act! Marketing Automation a little confusing. As Act! business partners and consultants, it’s our job to help our clients make the best decision for their needs. Here is how I break it down…

Do you just want to send out marketing email (newsletters, announcements, etc.), track clicks, opens and opt-outs all within Act!? Do you send out 50K or fewer emails per month? If so, Growth Suite Professional should suit your needs.

Are you interested in going a little deeper with your marketing? Would you like to track your prospects and clients through the buying cycle, set up drip campaigns, send surveys and/ or capture customer data in web forms?

 

Do you also want to be able to schedule calls or other activities automatically based on changes in your database? Will you send out less than 100K emails per month? Do you need to be able to create templates from HTML (ie: if you work with a designer or marketing agency who creates your email content this may be something you need). Then you’ll want to go with Growth Suite Premier.

Do you send more than 100K emails per month? Do you want even more sophisticated features such as:

  • A/B testing (sending the same e-mail with different subject lines to gauge response)
  • Progressive Profiling – if you’re not familiar with this term, you can learn more about it here .
    Ultimate support – North American-based support, guaranteed response time, web chat support, and more.

If your answer is yes to any of these, you need the Growth Suite Ultimate plan.

Pricing for these plans and a full list of features is available on the Act.com website. You can also attend weekly webinars to learn more about this world-class product suite and how it can take your business to the next level.

Act! is more than just an electronic Rolodex. Isn’t it time to mine the data you’ve been collecting for years and start automating some of your redundant communications routines? If you’re interested in an evaluation or personalized demo, email us at support@egenconsulting.com.

Is Act! for Web Secure?

July 25th, 2019 • By: Wendy Cummins ACT CRM, Computer Security, Data management, Data Security, Swiftpage, Swiftpage ACT

Act! Premium Web LoginWe get this question a lot, so I thought it would be a good idea to document it here. You have several options with Act! Premium. You can self-host your database – which is what is called Act! Premium for Web, or you can pay to host your database “in the cloud.” In this article, I’m just going to cover security precautions we recommend for clients running Act! Premium for Web and allowing Internet access to their Act! database.  If you are using Act! Premium for Web solely inside your network, some of the recommendations below will not apply to you (SSL + VPN).

Best security practices for ANY Act! installation

These recommendations aren’t specific to securing an Act! Premium for Web installation, but I feel it’s worth stating them because they are your first line of protection against data breaches for ANY software or online service.

  1. Make sure that all Act! users have a unique password for Act! – and not something they use everywhere or something simple like their name or “password”, etc.
  2. Make sure users aren’t sharing passwords – or – change your passwords on a regular basis. You can dictate password policies right inside Act!. For more information about this, refer to this article on the Act! help site.  Keep in mind that if/when a user’s Act! password is changed, that password must be updated for Outlook integration (if configured) and for Act! Scheduler tasks (if it’s an administrator user) in order for these processes to continue to work.
  3. If a user leaves, be quick to make them inactive. You don’t want them to have access to your data when they are no longer employed.
  4. Give users ONLY the access that they need. Most users do not need to be “administrators” or “managers” in order to do what they need to do in Act!. Also, you can remove permissions like “export to Excel” if that’s not something the user needs to do their job.

Check out this article for more information on how you can avoid Act! data loss.

Our minimum recommended security precautions for Act! Premium for Web

  1. Install an SSL certificate on your web server. An SSL certificate encrypts data between the end user’s device and the server. It’s also required for Act! Marketing Automation if you run Act! for Web. For more information about what an SSL certificate is/does, check out this article. If you need help obtaining and setting up an SSL for your Act! Premium for Web installation, email us at support@egenconsulting.com.
  2. Keep Windows updates current on the Act!/Web server. Microsoft releases security patches regularly to combat security threats. You want to make sure those are installed as needed. If you have an IT team, they should be monitoring this for you.

A VPN is an additional layer of protection

If you want an extra layer of protection you can set up a VPN. This gets a bit complicated for end-users, but it’s the most secure. Your users would need to have VPN software on their devices and connect to the VPN before they could access Act!. This is not something we specifically recommend, but it’s something that IT people usually bring up when you tell them you want to access your server from outside the office.  Having a VPN is also a way to secure your Act! remote database sync.  You can talk with your IT team about this option, or if you don’t have someone you work with regularly, I recommend reaching out to Caston Thomas of iWorks.

I hope this information helps you to better secure your Act! data. If you need assistance with any of these items, our team is happy to help. In addition, we welcome you to check out our other security-related articles:

http://www.egenconsulting.com/not-another-password/
http://www.egenconsulting.com/dont-be-a-victim-of-act-data-loss/
http://www.egenconsulting.com/phishing-incidents-are-the-rise-what-can-you-do-to-avoid-the-taking-the-bait/

Tom Najemy of Squad 16 joins Patricia Egen Consulting

May 6th, 2019 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Business growth, Quotewerks, Sales, Swiftpage ACT

Chattanooga, TN, May 6, 2019 – Patricia Egen Consulting, LLC is pleased to announce that Tom Najemy, owner of Squad 16, will join us as a Senior Consultant.

Tom has had an act! consultancy business for 20 years.  His office in East Windsor, CT hosts a training center providing hands-on training on copies of client’s databases.   Tom has been a power user of ACT since 1993 when he ran his own entertainment booking agency.   In 2000 Tom switched careers to became an ACT! Certified Consultant. Since then he has customized act databases to meet the needs of clients in many industries.

Prior to the entertainment business he was a sales and marketing professional in international trade based in Athens, Greece where he represented American and British publishers for their sales to the Middle and North Africa, and subsequently a manufacturers’ representative for American Solar companies looking to transfer Solar Energy technology to the Middle East and North Africa. As a business owner, marketing professional and a computer consultant Tom offers a wide range of business experience to his customers

“Tom is an accomplished trainer and consultant with over 26 years of experience in business consulting. His attention to detail and business savvy along with his wit blends well with our company and we are thrilled to have him as part of our team. He is gifted at listening to a customer and gathering all the right details to ensure a perfect implementation. His skills are a perfect match for our growing business. ” – Patricia Egen, President of Patricia Egen Consulting.

Patricia Egen Consulting (PEC) is a Platinum Select Certified Swiftpage Act! Consulting Company, Premier Trainer, Quotewerks Reseller and IBM business partner.  PEC is full-service business consulting firm with an emphasis on technology. In addition to consulting services, they also specialize in business process analysis, computer programming, administration and training.

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If you would like more information about PEC, or assistance with your business and technology challenges, please contact Patricia Egen at 423-875-2652 or email at sales@egenconsulting.com