Browsing Category: "technology"

Tungle Me. It’s all the rage in calendars.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 | technology with 2 Comments

For those of you who are tired of managing multiple calendars so that you, your team, your family, your clients and everyone else knows when you’re available…you can have just ONE calendar now!

Okay, maybe that’s not it.  Maybe you’re just tired of trying to schedule a call with several different people.  The 100’s of e-mails that go back and forth between the group trying to find the one time and date you can all get together.  Annoying right?

Double-booking is a big problem with potential clients. The last thing you want to do is have to go to a potential client and ask to move their appointment because they booked in on your online calendar when you are scheduled to be at a networking event.  Double-booking is a quick trust killer!

http://www.tungle.me/ is the answer! No, I’m not getting paid to write the post.  Yes, I have experience with the program. I’ve been using it for over a month now.   Many clients have asked me what calendar program to use.  There have been many options for virtual calendars for a while.  Not one quite like Tungle though.  It’s got some features that I haven’t seen anywhere else…like the ability to send an e-mail suggesting many different times to one or many people so you can all find the most convenient time.

I was paying $24/month for a calendar before.  There are some features I had with that one that I don’t have with Tungle, but Tungle is free and those were little perks I just didn’t need to pay for.

Now, Tungle is still in Beta, so if you don’t like to do Beta programs then you may want to wait.  If you don’t mind though, it’s a pretty nifty tool that makes scheduling a breeze.   Below is a list of features that I really appreciate with Tungle.

1)  Simplicity - It’s so easy for clients to use.  The first time they have to opt-in to receive e-mails but after that it’s a breeze.  They can go into my calendar and schedule times.  I can also send them an e-mail suggesting times for a meeting.  The interface is pretty self-explanatory and it makes sense to anyone who has ever used Outlook or other calendar programs on a computer.

2)  Sync - I downloaded a little plugin that goes into Outlook and now anytime someone schedules online, it automatically is entered into Outlook the next time I open it.  It doesn’t take but a minute to get them all.  I also get an e-mail that tells me I have the appointment.  You can do this with a Mac too.  It also will work with your google calendar.   So, my schedule is always up to date.  Can you say no double-booking?!

3)  Time blocking - In my previous calendar program, I had to go online to block off days and times that I wasn’t available.  Anytime something wasn’t scheduled through my calendar system, I had to logon and block off time.  Half the time I didn’t remember to do this, which becomes a serious problem in scheduling.  With Tungle, all I have to do is go into Outlook (where I schedule everything anyway) and add the appointment there.  I just have to make sure it’s marked as “busy” and my online Tungle calendar is blocked off in minutes.  Really!  No more logging in to block off vacations or appointments etc…  It’s done!  Again, no double-booking!

4)  Set your work hours - okay, yes, most calendars have the ability to set you work days and hours.  Tungle does too.  It’s just worth mentioning.

5)  Social networking connectivity - Whenever someone goes to your calendar, they have links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other network pages.  Easy access to you everywhere on the web.

6)  iPhone App - There’s a nifty iPhone App that lets you look up and schedule appointments.  It even has an offline mode for those of us who have iPod Touch’s.  I can download several weeks and have it all available whenever I need it.  It doesn’t have ALL the functionality that the website does, but for a quick…  “Hey.  You want to schedule an appointment?” e-mail, it’s simple and it works.

7)  E-mails - I’m notified with every scheduled appointment.  With my old system I had an attachment that I needed to open and save for it to show up in outlook.  Now, it’s just a  notification so I can see someone scheduled in.  I don’t actually have to DO anything with it.  Time saver!

I think that gives you the most exciting features I’ve found with Tungle.  There are a few things on my Wishlist though, so I’ll give you those too:

1)  Ability to ask who is calling who and get a phone number - I have it on my profile that I want people to leave a number and when I send people to my calendar link, I tell them to make sure they include their number if they want me to call them.  In my old system, I had custom fields where I could ask if they were going to call me or if I was to call them.  I also had the ability to require that they include a phone number.  I would love to see this become easier on Tungle.

2)  Multiple appointments - I would like my clients to be able to make multiple appointments on one screen.  Instead of having to set up a new meeting for every appointment….which means they have to go through the entire scheduling process for each appointment.

3)  Allow buffered time - When someone books a 45 minute slot, I’d like to make sure the whole hour is blocked off.   It would be great to be able to assign buffers before and after each amount of time.  Then people aren’t booking themselves in back to back.

4)  Have a cut off time for scheduling - I do not like allowing people to book in an hour before they want to talk or even the same day.  I’d like to be able to set it so people can’t schedule in less than 24 hours in advance of an appointment.

UPDATE:  Cut off time has been implemented.

These four things on my wishlist are not deal breakers for me.  They are great features I’ve had before that I’m slightly missing here, but overall the service is a HUGE improvement on other virtual calendars I’ve played with.  The sync capability and group invites alone are worth it.  Best of all, I’m not paying diddly squat to use it.  It’s all free!

What do you think?  Are you switching to Tungle?  Have you been using it already?  What do you like about it?  What would you like to see improved?

AWeber makes great changes for coaches.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 | technology with No Comments »

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m a HUGE fan of AWeber.com.  I’m an affiliate for a reason (and yes, the links I use in this post will be my affiliate links)!  They have a great system that I wholeheartedly believe in when it comes to e-mail/permission marketing on the internet.  They GET the strategies and continue to build their system to match. Their latest changes to the system are no exception.

If you use AWeber, I think you will find the new forms features are very useful!  In fact, you may not need a survey program anymore.  That’s right, AWeber now has a way to create surveys.  Woo hoo!!  Did I mention that I’m excited about these new features?  Okay, so I’ll quit gushing and I’ll give you the low-down on what’s possible with the new features.

1)  You can create templates for forms or use pre-made templates that draw attention to the form.

2)  You can customize the templates to include your own fancy graphics, including a different submit button.

3)  The 10 field limit is gone!  There is now a 25 field limit…way better and much more usable for a survey.

4)  When you add in the US Address it’s only considered ONE field.  So, you don’t waste fields with address information anymore.

5)  You can use radio buttons, text boxes, check boxes, comment boxes, selection boxes, date boxes etc…

6)  You now have the option of a branded thank you page.  You don’t have to create your own custom thank you page anymore.  AWeber has a very nice template that adds your banner to it automatically, if you choose to use it.  It doesn’t include whitelist information, so I would still recommend doing your own, but if that’s not an option, use their branded page.

7)  You can pass information from the form to the thank you page without having to know how to play with CGI variables.  So, you can now create one generic thank you page, but for each form it will update the thank you page with specific information.  So, your thank you page can now have your subscribers name, the name of the list they signed up for, or the answers to all the questions in your survey.  So, you only design it once, but for each person who sees it, it’s customized.

8)  Aweber can host it for you.  If at all possible, your forms should live on your domain on your website.  This gives you google credit.  However, if that’s not an option for you then AWeber will now host the form for you.  No copy/paste into your website.  Just send people directly to a page on AWeber’s site and your form will be there.

All of these improvements are going to make surveys and information gathering so much easier for those of us who want to collect names and e-mail’s with it.

I do have a few changes that I’d still love to see.  My biggest is being able to put punctuation in the field names.  At this time, no question marks are allowed and when I do a survey, I REALLY want the question mark at the end of a question.

Now, I did notice that this is so new, AWeber hasn’t updated their knowledgebase with the new functions.  If you’ve ever played with a form in AWeber before, you can do it again.  Just go in and try to create a new one.  See what your options are.  It’s well laid out as you go through the process.

So, what do you think?  Do you like the new changes?  Are you ditching your survey program?  Please leave a comment and let us know what your thoughts are.

Why tolerate technical bugs?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 | Business Life, technology with No Comments »

One of the first things I learned in working with a coach was to be aware of toleration.  I also learned that I didn’t have to tolerate anything.  I can choose something else, if I want to.  Since that revelation (several years ago), I’ve also discovered that sometimes it’s worth tolerating something.  Especially when it comes to buggy technology.

I know, the coach in you would like me to look somewhere else, but open your mind and look for the value in toleration here.  There are two places, in particular, that I tolerate buggy technology.

1)  Shopping carts - every cart has it’s thing.  I work with several different carts between my own and my clients’.  Every single one of them has something to tolerate.  There is one that can’t handle an upgrade.  Every time they change something and I see a notice that on a particular date there will be changes, I get nervous.  From past experience, I know, that usually means one of our clients will have a problem.  Why do my clients and I tolerate this?  Because it can do everything we need it to do to support their ever growing businesses.  Sure, there are other options out there, but they also have bugs.  They also don’t do everything we need.  So, we stay where we are and we tolerate the bugs.  In the long-run this supports our bigger vision of growing the business.

2) Twitter - Now, I do have to give Twitter credit here.  They’ve gotten MUCH better with the bugs over the last 5 months or so.  In the beginning of Twitter the fail whale was a daily occurrence. Now, it might be once or twice a month that we have issues.  Why do we tolerate the fail whale?  Because Twitter is such an amazingly powerful tool that we love it.  For me, I get so much value out of Twitter when it’s up and running, that I’m willing to tolerate the days when it’s buggy.  It’s SO worth it.

Technology isn’t perfect.  No matter how hard the programmers try to predict every possible problem to code for, there will always be something unexpected.  Online marketing is totally reliant on technology.  So, the important thing to remember is the value you receive from the technology when it’s working properly.  Is that value worth sticking around for?  If not, then it’s time to stop tolerating.  Otherwise, practice gratitude when the technology works the way it’s supposed to and forgiveness when you find yourself tolerating.

What are your thoughts on this?  What kinds of technology are you tolerating?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to read it.

Rate hikes for using teleconference lines?

Friday, November 7th, 2008 | technology with 3 Comments

Last week, Cindy Morus of Mend Your Money (http://www.mendyourmoney.com or http://twitter.com/moneymender) was nice enough to share her recent struggle with the telephone company.  Here’s what she said:

“Hi, my local telco just cancelled my long distance because I was calling in to conference lines for teleclasses. Now, they want to charge me 10 cents per minute!”

Wassup with that?!  This could be a serious problem for all coaches (and other online entrepreneurs) who use teleconference lines for classes and seminars.  It’s possible that all of a sudden our clients will run into the same issue?  The coaching industry relies on free bridge lines for a good percentage of their work.  So, this could be devastating.

Is there a solution?  One solution is Skype.  You can still use your free bridgeline to host the call and your attendees can use Skype to call in.  Your attendees WILL have to pay a fee, but it’s only $0.02 to call in from the USA & Canada.  Most other areas in the world are between $0.01 and $0.03 a minute.  So, it’s a very inexpensive way for people to join the call if the phone companies are going to go to $0.10 a minute.  Now, I do want to warn you that there are some bridge lines that can’t handle Skype (or other VOIP services) very well.  Ask your bridgeline provider if they are Skype or VOIP safe.  If they have no idea what you are talking about, you may want to switch providers.

There’s also http://www.oovoo.com.  They have a $5/month for 500 minutes of calling from computer to phone, anywhere in the US and Canada.  For $15/month you can get unlimited minutes.  Thanks to Brit Rock for that suggestion on Twitter (http://twitter.com/Britrock).

Are there other solutions?  Do you have a suggestion?  Please leave a comment and let’s create a list of options for coaches.

A Shopping Cart Comparison.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | technology with 2 Comments

Hey everyone!

If you know anything about me, you know that I love playing with technology.  Especially marketing technology.  I like to test it out and see if it’s useful to me and/or my clients.  As you may or may not know, I recently decided to add a shopping cart for my package products and wanted to be able to offer affiliate fees too.  In working with my clients, I’ve had the privilege of playing with 1ShoppingCart and it’s resellers.  I’ve not been overly thrilled with 1ShoppingCart and the price is quite steep for something I’m not “overly thrilled with.”  I’ve looked at Full Partner and decided I didn’t need all that they offer and didn’t want to pay the upfront fees.  Lately though, I’d been hearing a lot about http://www.e-junkie.com and thought I’d see if that might be useful for my business.  So, I signed up and started playing.  I’ll share what I’ve learned and give you my comparison with 1 Shopping Cart.

E-junkie & 1ShoppingCart Features
Affiliate Program

Connection to AWeber (imperative since this is what I use for my autoresponder system)

Shopping Cart

PayPal accepted (imperative since I currently only use PayPal)

Authorize.net (also imperative as eventually, I will have a merchant account)

Customized Thank You Pages

Follow-up capability for purchasers

Digital Products

All of the above were requirements for me.  There are some differences between the two carts on some of these features though.

Aweber connection - 1ShoppingCart has an entire cart setting for this.  No matter what is purchased, buyers go to the same list in aweber (unless you want to set up a workaround that doesn’t trap 100% of the buyers).  E-junkie allows you to put buyers into a different list for each product, if you wanted to.

Follow-up Capability for purchasers - Here’s where it’s a big decision to make.  Both systems allow you to follow up with buyers.  1ShoppingCart allows a text and HTML delivery of messages and newsletters, whereas E-junkie only has text.  Now, with the aweber connection on E-junkie, I don’t have to worry about this, because I can just use AWeber to follow up and I can use HTML there. If you are JUST using E-junkie, you want to consider how important it is to brand your e-mails going out to buyers.

1ShoppingCart also has a regular autoresponder system that allows you to create an e-course or have an autoresponder series set up.  It also allows you to have a form on your website for free products.  E-junkie does not have this capability.  Again, with the AWeber connection, I can set this up easily.

Affiliate Program - This is where I think E-junkie could improve.  They offer an affiliate program, but unlike 1ShoppingCart, they offer no place to store banners, buttons, promotional materials etc…  Also, unlike 1ShoppingCart, they don’t offer a way to follow-up with affiliate members.  One of the biggest issues I have here is that all the affiliate links are for specific products.  They don’t have one that is for ANYTHING on the website.  Now, no matter what they purchase, the affiliate member gets credit, but there’s no affiliate link that takes them to the home page.  Oh, and did I mention that E-junkie doesn’t collect address information, phone number, or a SSN from your affiliates.  This is a problem come tax time.  Now, I’ve created my own workarounds, by having affiliates sign up for an AWeber list BEFORE they sign up for an E-junkie affiliate account, but there is major room for improvement here.

Technical skill required - If you are not the techie type, I do not recommend E-junkie.  If you are the techie type (or have a techie team, like mine, to help you), I would highly recommend E-junkie, because it is a lot cheaper and it has the integration with AWeber that is extremely valuable.  Also, as a techie person I had fun playing with the codes in E-junkie and learning how things connected together.  It was fun to play with, in other words.  Although, the multiple options for a product can get a bit tedious when it comes to coding the button (each potential combination gets a line of very simple code).

Tech Support - E-junkie only has a ticket system for tech support, but they are pretty fast at responding and are very specific.  They don’t give you the run around, they’ll answer your question, without asking you to jump through hoops.  1ShoppingCart does have phone support (in Canada) and a ticket system.  Our experience over the phone has been that they are not good at troubleshooting and have been known to promise to call back, when they don’t.

Overall, I really think E-junkie is a great bargain for the relatively techie person who enjoys learning new programs (or has team to help them).  It’s extremely customizable and has most of the features of 1ShoppingCart.  It’s worth a little finagling to make it work, at 1/2 the price (with AWeber).

What is your favorite shopping cart program and what do you like about it?  Please share, so we can all learn.