This blog site is not meant to be any information that is distributed to the general public. It is to serve as shared documentation between the DNSTC developers; however, if you find something useful and would like to use it, go right ahead.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How You Can Lose Customers by Using Technology Incorrectly

DontsMarianne actually found this one and it was pretty good.  In a recent blog post on one of the sites we follow called “Sparky Firepants,” David Billings wrote about a recent experience he had trying to obtain insurance for his business over the Internet (You can see the full blog post here).

He was shopping around to different web sites and came across one that looked promising, so he decided to fill out their on-line form get more information from the company.

As a business owner, you know your time is stretched all over the place, and in reality the Internet can help you IF other businesses used it correctly.  In his humorous post he explains the nightmare that he went through and basically was turned off over the lack of personal service.

What I have decided to do was take his story, and come up with some tips to keep you from not being the one who is losing customers simply because you are not using the Internet correctly.

1. Follow-up within a few (business) hours – If someone sends you an e-mail, contacts you through your website or even sends you a message on Facebook, it is just proper business etiquette to follow-up with them in a few business hours.  Maybe you are busy, maybe you don’t have the time to deal with it at the moment, but a simple reply back will tell person that a human being got their message and will be dealing with their request soon.

2. Check your e-mail at least 4 times a day and respond – I don’t know how many times I have sent out an e-mail message to a business account, to get no reply back.  IS THIS HOW THEY CONDUCT BUSINESS WITH THEIR CLIENT’S AS WELL?  No wonder they say the Internet doesn’t work.

3. Make it simple – In David’s blog he stated it took him 10 minutes to fill out the on-line request form.  Really?  Do you really need that much information from an initial request?  If you are on top of your communications, you really only need a name, e-mail, maybe a phone number, and what they are requesting.  Anything else is too much and too complicated.

4. Make it personal – Automated responses should only be used to let the person know that the website processed their submission.  That’s it.  You have to remember, Internet technology is a tool to help you do your business, not run your business for you.  People still want to know that there is a person on the other side of the computer screen, so make it more personal.

5. Be professional – Making it simple and personal does not mean you are not to be a professional.  People are coming to your to a product or service, they are not coming to you to be a friend.  Friendship can come later after they are your client.  At first you need to present yourself as a professional who is an expert in the product or service that you are providing.

6. Follow-Through – Once you make a reply back to the initial request, it is now on you to follow-through and see that the request is resolved.  If you don’t hear back from the potential client again, you are the one that lost the customer if you don’t try to contact them again.

Well, this is my philosophy and my opinions.  Maybe you don’t agree with me and that is fine.  But I would like to hear your thoughts about this.  Please place your comments below.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One for Fun: Create Your Own For Dummies Cover


Ok, well I got bored and took a break.  I was looking for some cheat sheets to link to for a project I am working on so I went to the “For Dummies” website.

They are running a Pinterest contest right now for $10,000 by the way (details here), but in looking through some of their stuff I came across something that was some fun so I thought I would share it with you.

They have a utility where you can create your own “For Dummies” cover.  The first one I made I didn’t find appropriate, so I created the one you see above. 

You can create your own at:

Have fun!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Using an Electronic Calendar to Stay on Task

Calendar_0I get asked all the time how do I keep track of everything I need to do with working a full time job, managing an Internet marketing company, managing Internet marketing for clients, as well as, the Internet and social marketing for the main company. Well, today’s tip will provide you with my secret.

What is the one thing that is constantly changing and that we can count on always being there; thus is able to keep track of everything we do? The answer is time. Time is always moving forward and the best way to manage your time is with your electronic calendar.

What I do is schedule my time around appointments, work hours, and time off on my calendar so that I block out my days accordingly. I put every task I need to do on the calendar and the electronic reminders beep as well reminding me to do something.

With some e-mail clients you can even drag-drop an e-mail message onto your calendar. For example, maybe you get an important e-mail message that you have to perform a task, return a call, or return an e-mail and you are in the middle of a project. What I do is schedule that in my calendar so that I don’t forget to take care of the issue.

So here are some tips that I can provide on how to use Technology to Stay on Task.

1. Get yourself an electronic calendar that you can carry with you. I use Google Calendar since it works with my cell phone, desktop, laptop, iPad, whatever.

2. If you go electronic, don’t revert back to paper. You can really get messed up and confused if you keep multiple calendars.

3. On Sunday (or any day you choose), block out your work times on your calendar. What times do you want to spend working with clients, what times to you want to spend researching…etc.

4. Don’t be afraid to reschedule if you have to reschedule. Life happens; there is nothing wrong with rescheduling something. Just let people know if you have to reschedule.

5. Don’t forget to block off down time (family time). All work and no play will make Shawn a dull boy.

6. Periodically check to make sure that items have synced. I had this problem in the past, I was posting items to the wrong calendar… almost missed an appointment.

So in closing, your calendar can be more than just keeping track of appointments. You can also use it to keep track of tasks you have to do. Just move those tasks into your calendar and schedule them for when you have the time.

How do you use technology to stay on task?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 Reasons you should consider an e-mail marketing database

emailWe all have hectic business schedules and spending time at the computer is one of the last things a business owner wants to do. So, I say, why not take a few extra moments and make the technology work for you. Clean up your listings of clients, those sticky notes, those business cards, and place all of that information in once central database that you can use to contact your customers (or potential customers) in a moment’s notice.

Let’s go one step further. What if we use that database to send out periodic e-mails to keep in touch with our clients? Now we are talking about an e-mail marketing database. With an e-mail marketing database, you get several advantages.

1. You can manage your customers and contacts in one single on-line location

Let’s face it. Having a database with a listing of all of your customers is just a dream to most people. You hear about something new you can offer, wouldn’t it be great to send that out to everyone you know in a matter of minutes? Keeping your existing client’s informed about your business is the key to renewed sales. When you have information to provide, there is really no reason you cannot just send it out to new contact and past customers.

2. Track who is opening your e-mail and clicking on your links.

If you send out a message from your e-mail client, do you know if everyone has even opened it? Not really. With an e-mail marketing service, when you send out a message, you are able to get tracking information. Some services even send you a mail message with the statistics about your mailing within a few days.

3. You can schedule e-mails in advance.

This is one of the items that I like. If I have a few extra hours on the weekend, I can perform a kind of “set it and forget it” type writing and my e-mail will go out in the future. In fact, there have been times where I have queued up a few to go out at different times.

4. Use Technology to help expand your list.

Most services have the ability to place widgets on your social marketing pages or your main website to ask people to sign-up. Some services have even got more modernized with the ability to sign people up to your list via text messaging or QR code scanning.

5. An e-mail marketing database provides a purpose to your Internet Marketing efforts.

What is the purpose of all of this anyways? Why do we have a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account, Pinterest Boards, Google+, LinkedIn, and your website, whatever? Why do we do all of this and spend all of our time and money on these items? TO GET MORE SALES! Are you getting more sales? By having a nice database with the ability to convert your social networking fans and friends to contacts in your database, or even convert visitors from your website to your database, you now have a captive audience. This should be your goal to Internet Marketing. Building your on-line community, but you need to have a way to manage that community. And this is where an on-line email marketing database comes into play.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Customizing Google Calendar

google-calendar-final1It is well known that you can incorporate your Google Calendar into your website; however, I came across an interesting article that explains how you can customize the CSS so that the calendar will match your website layout.

To create a custom CSS file for your Google Calendar, you will have to create 2 new files and use them instead of the default embedding code.

You’ll need to create 2 new PHP files, the first: custom_calendar.php is the actual calendar file, and custom_calendar.css, a CSS file to style the calendar. The first file is the main one that makes this possible; the second file allows you to change any of the CSS properties. With a little CSS magic, you should be able to customize it further to fit your site perfectly!

The full article can be found here: