While the ultimate goal for any email marketer is to grow their lists, there often comes a time when there is a need to unsubscribe contacts. Luckily, most Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide an easy function for importing contacts with the sole purpose of unsubscribing them so that they do not receive your communications. Whether they opted out on their own, or whether they were hard bounced or simply didn’t exist in the first place. Constant Contact has such a feature, but if your account is based on the latest user interface, you may have some trouble finding this feature. In the older interface, if you have navigated to the Contacts dashboard and selected a list, you’ll have options similar to the graphic below. These options include the ability to Remove, Unsubscribe (Do Not Mail), Move or Copy selected contacts. Fairly simple and straight forward.
Older UI Contact Options
In order to accomplish this same task when using the new user interface within Constant Contact, there is a required step that needs to be enabled before you even have the option for unsubscribing a contact. When first logged in, you’ll want to navigate to the main Settings tab in the upper right navigation area. Once here, you’ll be shown various options for optimizing your Constant Contact account. The fourth option down the page is Contact Settings. If the option for “Enable advanced email permissions” is not set, check the box and save.
Advanced Contact Settings Option
Once this feature has been enabled, return to your Contacts dashboard. When you click on the Add Contacts button, you’ll see a new option for importing contacts called “Add unsubscribed from file”.
Unsubscribe Feature Option
This is a great way to manage lists when more than a few contacts need to be removed from your whole account. My only concern with this latest UI change is why such an integral piece of email marketing would be hidden by default? Like the older UI, features like this should be clear, concise and easy to find.
Google recently announced that they are rolling out custom URLs to all Google Plus pages and profiles. Vanity URLs were previously only available to larger brands. The roll out is still in progress and I’m guessing that many personal profiles will be the last to see it. My own profile is not yet eligible, but those with more followers may become eligible sooner. It appears to have been rolled out to most pages that meet the minimum requirements. Once your Google+ page or profile is eligible to claim a custom URL, it’s quite easy to complete the process.
1. Check to See if Your Google+ Profile or Page is Eligible for a Custom URL
Profiles must meet the following criteria to be eligible to claim a vanity URL:
- Has a profile photo
- Has at least 10 followers
- Has an account that’s at least 30 days old
Pages must either be verified as a local business or be linked to a website.
You’ll know if you’re eligible when you log in. A banner notifying you of your pre-approved URL will appear at the top of the page. Trust me, you can’t miss it, but if you’re (ahem) obsessive like me and want to be sure, you can double check the About tab on your page or profile.
2. Review Your Custom URL Options. Remember It’s Forever (For Now).
Click Get URL – you may be offered more than one choice for your URL. I have recently claimed URLs for two pages and have not been given a choice in either instance, but you may be asked. Profiles are different from pages – you have the option to submit an alternate request if you do not like what Google offers.
Whether you are given these options or not, make sure you choose wisely. As it stands right now, Google does not let you change your custom URL once it has been claimed. Of course, Google loves to change things, so that could change too.
3. Claim and Confirm
Part of our efforts at Hall, to always be innovating, involves constantly reviewing the technology we’re using to get the job done. Whether it’s a piece of software we use to power our agency internally, a content management system like WordPress, or even the browsers that people are using to view the websites we build, everything has a role in the success of our clients, and for that reason, is worth monitoring and reviewing. You may think it’s odd that we would include browsers in that list, especially since browsers are not something we really have any control over, but browser type is a hugely important factor that impacts everything we build on the web.
Web browsers are always changing, adding new features and modernizing for the future. The thing that most people don’t realize is that as web browsers modernize, they find new and better ways of doing things – things that earlier browsers could never do before. As we modernize our practices to match the innovation that’s happening on the web, we’re left with a lot of older browsers that don’t support any of these new innovative things. Even ideas as central as responsive web design aren’t supported by earlier browsers.
Now if your audience is only using Internet Explorer version 6 (released in 2001 – over a decade ago!), then obviously that is going to be important to you and you’ll want to make sure your website looks good for those users. As we see older browsers losing market share and support around the web, we weigh whether or not these will be important for our clients and if we should continue supporting them. Take for example – IE7, released in October 2006. Over the past few years, we’ve watched as IE7 has quickly dwindled in use and support across the web. In 2011, both Google and Facebook dropped support for IE7, as well as Twitter earlier this year. More importantly, IE7 represents less than 1% of all users across the web, both in North America and Worldwide – and that number is still dropping.
As a general policy, we will likely not continue to support IE7 with browser-specific optimization and testing, since the cost of doing this far outweighs the benefit it would provide to our clients. We will continue to build our sites to degrade gracefully (ie, still look good on old technology), so even if someone does happen to view one of our sites using IE7, they would still be presented with a functional website. Our policy is to review Google Analytics data at the start of every web project so that we can determine what technology will be necessary to the projects success. Any project that we find has a noticeable IE7 user base will always be optimized for this browser specifically to make sure we are maximizing usability and conversions wherever our user base is.
The positive side to reviewing the technology we’re using, is that we’re able to make room to do new things that were never possible before. This included responsive design, advanced coloring and animations using stylesheets instead of images, support for retina displays and all of the other cool things you will see on the internet over the next year.
If you’re looking to learn more, here are some other resources on IE7 and market share for other browsers:
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Boston, a yearly conference all about WordPress held locally. As you’d imagine, it was a weekend filled with talks and presentations, tutorials and ideas. But the greatest part for me was getting a chance to meet and hang out with some great local people from Maine who work using WordPress every day.
One of the greatest tools you can have is a strong community around you. You’ll not only gain the insight of new perspectives, but you also gain the insight of new experiences. We obviously use WordPress to build websites for our clients, but I had a chance this weekend to talk with people who make themes and plugins for WordPress, as well as building the software itself. That kind of diversity in experience leads to an entirely new perspective and set of resources for bouncing ideas and questions off of what would otherwise be unattainable.
Whether your community is a group of people within your company or a mix of marketing vendors, coworkers and friends, they are immensely important to your success. You may not even notice if you’re under-utilizing your community, because in most cases cases the value it brings is in providing perspective on things you would never have noticed on your own.
The key is to first build a community of people around you with the experience and skill set you need to succeed. If you don’t know these people yet, that’s okay. Find some blogs that you really enjoy and try emailing the authors and see if you get a response. Talk to your marketing agency and ask them what new things they’re interested in and working on with other clients. Seek out people within your own company who may have a lot to contribute to the Marketing strategy but maybe were never in a position to be able to contribute.
The value you will gain from surrounding yourself with these people will be a constant source of growth for you if you can pull together the right people and continually invest in sustaining and growing your community over time – but that’s a talk for another time.