Marketing 101: Where Customer Service Ends and Spam Begins

Published on Apr 30, 2009   //  Marketing Tips

Many people say that you’ll never get what you want unless you ask for it. This applies to many aspects in your life. If you want to get a raise at work, you have a much better chance at getting that extra money if you simply ask for it rather than waiting around for your manager to offer it. You’ll need to justify your request, of course, but you need to ask for the raise. From a customer’s perspective, you won’t get an additional discount on your purchase unless you ask for it. You won’t get some extra savings every time, but you’ll never get it unless you ask for it.

The same can be said from the standpoint of a business. If you have a client that has recently started to scale back on their purchases, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover those lost sales unless you ask your customer to buy more. This much is understood and most customers will be open to a certain level of solicitation. For example, I’m more likely to donate to a charity if they send a gentle reminder that I have donated in the past and they would still appreciate additional donations should I feel so inclined.

The trouble here is that of a slippery slope. With subtle and infrequent requests, you may be able to get what you want. I might get a mailing from one charity twice a year. I may not donate on both occasions, but I’m not annoyed by the mailouts. By contrast, if I were to get bombarded with mailings on a weekly or monthly basis, I may choose to take my dollars elsewhere. This isn’t just for charities; it’s for regular businesses as well.

All forms of marketing can be effective when utilized correctly. You can try the occasional mailout, email message, or phone call. These can work, but overusing them will generate the reverse effect. You can drive customers away. In this way, you have to find the very gentle balance between the effective customer service-oriented follow-up and the ineffective bombardment of spam.

Where do you draw the line? How much marketing is too much? How much is not enough?

WordPress Development: Subversion Checkouts

Published on Apr 30, 2009   //  Development, WordPress
Off

WordPress Development

Last week we introduced you to Subversion. This week, we’re going to show you how to access Subversion repositories. Since Subversion is often used during development of new versions, this means that you can have access to this developmental version earlier than usual.

As we mentioned last week, when you download code from a repository, you’re doing a checkout. In our case we want to checkout the WordPress Subversion repository. To do this, we will need a Subversion client install on our computer. If you’re using Mac OS X or a distribution of Linux, chances are that you already have a command line Subversion client installed. Which is fine, and we’ll use that. If you’re using Windows, then you’ll need to install a Subversion client. I recommend TortoiseSVN which integrating into your right-click menu, and is made by the same company who makes Subversion.

We’re going to checkout the latest developmental version of WordPress, the trunk. On Windows, create a new directory to house WordPress. Then, (inside that directory) right-click and go TortoiseSVN > Checkout. Type in http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/trunk in the repository URL box and click Ok.

On Mac/Linux, create a new directory and start Terminal. cd to the directory you created and type in svn co http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/trunk . (that period at the end in important).

Now you’ll have the very latest developmental version of WordPress on your computer. If you want to update it (since it changes quite frequently), on Windows right-click in the directory and go TortoiseSVN > Update. On Mac/Linux type svn up in Terminal (navigated to the correct directory).

There you have it, a checkout of a Subversion respository.

Community Poll

Published on Apr 29, 2009   //  Polls

Weekly Community Poll

Last week we asked how important is a company being green to your buying decision and 14% said it was not important. The rest said that there was some importance to it. This weeks question is…

{democracy:79}

WordPress Wednesday: Easy Redirects

Published on Apr 29, 2009   //  WordPress

If you are taking advantage of all the different social media and social networking services on the Internet, there’s a good chance that you are having a tough time remembering all of those specific URLs to your particular profile pages. This is not an ideal situation for you nor is it an ideal situation for your readers and friends. One of the easiest ways to help manage those profiles is to set up a series of redirects through your main domain.

Earlier this month, Bob Buskirk posted a simple but effective guide to setting up redirects on your blog or website. By doing this, you can much more easily direct your readers and friends to your various online profiles. Instead of a longer URL, you can send your readers to a much simpler and shorter URL.

Instead of:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/beyondtherhetoric
Visitors can go to:
http://michaelkwan.com/flickr

I’ve set up similar 301 redirects for my YouTube and Twitter accounts as well. So, how do you do it? Open up the .htaccess file in the root directory of your website. If one doesn’t already exist, you can create one. Inside of that .htaccess file, enter code similar to this:

Redirect 301 /flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/beyondtherhetoric

This code would result in the Flickr redirect shown above. You can replace the /flickr and the long URL with your chosen specifics. You can place one 301 redirect on each line of your .htaccess file. Easy, right?

Everything PHP: Headers

Published on Apr 29, 2009   //  Development
Off

Everything PHP

HTTP headers are vital to HTTP requests and responses. They provide various details about the request and the response to the server and the client (respectively). In PHP, it is possible to set HTTP headers that will be sent in the server’s response. This allows you to customize various aspects of the HTTP response.

Useful things to change in the HTTP response include cache control, expirations and server details. You can even redirect the user to another page using HTTP headers. PHP supports both the sending of HTTP 1.0 and 1.1 headers. For sending headers, we use the header() function in PHP.

header() accepts three parameters, with only the first being required. The first parameter is the header string, which is where you set the HTTP header you want to set in the response. This is in the format of Type: value. The second parameter is a boolean replace option. If you’re setting multiple headers of the same type, setting this to true (the default) will replace the one before it, and setting it to false will force the setting of multiples headers of the same type. The third parameter allows you to force the HTTP response status code.

A list of the different types of response headers you can send is available here. Additionally, you can use a different format of the first parameter to send a response status code. This format is like this: HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found. The format is the HTTP version, followed by the status code, followed by the status code’s name.

It’s important to note that a header() tag must come before any output (from PHP or just HTML placed before the PHP block), otherwise a fatal error will be issued and page execution stopped. Also note that when sending a Location header, nothing should be executed or outputted after it. To ensure this, it is good measure to place an exit; directly after a Location header.

Now, let’s look at some examples:

[code='php']header('HTTP/1.1 200 OK');[/code]

Send the status code 200 (this is the default for a page that exists).

[code='php']header('Location: http://www.google.com/');[/code]

Redirect the client to google.com. By default PHP will send this as a 302 Temporary Redirect. Also note that HTTP/1.1 requires absolute URLs for this header.

[code='php']header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently');
header('Location: http://www.example.com/');[/code]

Redirect the client to example.com and send a 301 Moved Permanently status code.

Free Marketing Workshop

Published on Apr 28, 2009   //  Events

Whether you are a seasoned business owner, sole proprietor, or business startup, you must attend this reality based Sales and Marketing Bootcamp to learn how you can…

Break-All-Advertising-Rules,
Spend Less, Make More!

Join Gregor Anton for this two hour small business owners specific business building event. This jam-packed, high-energy, no non-sense session will be the best two hours you can invest to improve your business.

When is the event happening?
Thursday, May 7, 2009 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Where is it happening?
Central Park Business Centre -Suit 300 - 3665 Kingsway - Surrey

Registration
To register for this event RSVP here.

Page 1 of 1112345...10...Last »