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Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

New Member
Posts: 7
Country: USA

Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Hi! I was asked to repost this open letter to the forums so that we can have a conversation about some of the missing features in ACT and so users can become more familiar with the features ACT does provide currently. Here goes:

 

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Keith May and I am a loyal customer of ACT! who has used the service for over 15 years to establish a robust clientele of people connected to my real estate business here in Edmond, Oklahoma. I have found ACT! quite useful for my purposes, and yet I find some areas where the service seems to be lacking what I desire for my business growth needs.
 
As a real estate agent, I thrive on communication with my clients. Lead capture is the core of my business. One such method of obtaining leads is through email marketing.
 
The email marketing features offered through emarketing in conjunction with the ACT! Database platform have given me somewhere to begin. I currently have my web marketing assistant and office secretary manually entering contacts in to the service to ensure that each contact is reached out to on their birthday, wedding anniversary, or home closing anniversary.
 
As you can imagine, this service is useful to me and I wish to keep using it. However, there are at least two key weaknesses with the program that weaken it and slow down my progress of setting up emarketing campaigns for my clients. I have identified these and listed them here for you because, if fixed, these changes would dramatically improve the usability of your CRM service in my eyes above and beyond that of your competitors. Please keep in mind that I have used your service for 15 years in my business and am extremely familiar with its strengths and weaknesses.
 
 
As the system is currently setup, there is no option for me to send a contact to an email address that reoccurs every year (e.g. on their birthday). Instead, I must send them an email through the system manually each year. This will cause much delay to my team in the future. Please consider changing this option, as I am sure there are many other current clients who would appreciate this change and find more use for your service as a result.
 
 
Many of my customers from the last two decades are filed under joint contacts (e.g. “John and Mary Smith” rather than “John Smith” and “Mary Smith”). I have implemented a custom field in ACT! to record secondary email addresses for the email of the spouse, but I cannot send emarketing emails to this address. Please consider adding this option so I can send emarketing campaigns to all of my contacts.
 
 
I am glad I can track my emails as they are sent out through ACT, but it is troublesome that I can only look at the email it was sent out to after the email has been opened. If the system was changed to allow for better, more informational tracking (e.g. emails sent to my address when an email is sent out show the recipient’s email address), I would be able to better use the program.
 
If these changes were implemented, I would be thrilled to continue using your service and recommending it to my network of professional contacts.
 
Sincerely,
Keith May
 
(This post was written by Calvin Lyman, Keith May's marketing assistant.)
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,537
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Hi Keith,

 

You might find this Outlook integrator software useful...

 

http://www.designr1.com/shop/outlook-integrater1

 

HTH


David Shaw
Act! Certified Consultant since 2001
Office:    +44 (0)1483 714507
Mobile: +44 (0)7977 567 318
E-Mail:    dshaw@act4u.org 
Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Hi Keith & Calvin,

 

Thank you for providing this valuable feedback. We love hearing how our long-standing customers have used Act! to grow their businesses, and this kind of feedback let's us know the kind of things you find most important in your day-to-day usage of the software. I'd like to offer some solutions to the roadblocks that you're currently running into. Some of these solutions will only apply to recent versions of Act, and may not be available in the version you are running. 

 

To help us pull together some more detailed suggestions, can you please answer the following questions?

  1. What version of Act! are you are currently using?
  2. What version of Windows are you running?
  3. What emarketing service are you currently using? Swiftpage connect (Swiftpage emarketing), or Act! emarketing?

 

I'll break down my suggestions to address the individual points you have brought forward:

 

Recurring emails (i.e. birthdays)
This is possible to achieve assuming that you are using Act! emarketing. A smart task can be set up in Act! that will, for example, send a contact a campaign email at 9am on their birthday, personalised with their name etc, and using a rich template featuring any images you like. This can run automatically every day, as long as Act is open on the machine.

 

 Act!_2016-12-13_15-38-41.png Act!_2016-12-13_15-42-12.png

 

Joint Contacts
There are a few ways to manage joint contacts, depending on what you wish to do with them. One method is using secondary contacts. Using this feature you can designate one person as the main contact (whose primary details are shown on the contact record) and the other as a secondary contact, who is added in the Secondary Contacts tab. When it comes time to email both contacts, you can promote the secondary contact to a full contact from this tab. They would then appear as a separate normal contact. If you wanted to group these two contacts together, you can either use the Groups feature, with a group name like "Smith Family - 123 Street". Alternatively, you could utilise the Company field to group these contacts, and create a Company with a similar name. This way you could simply include a lookup of the Groups or Companies in your mailings, instead of selecting both contacts.

I understand that these methods aren't as straightforward as simply including a second email address to the campaign. Such a feature would need some consideration and research on how it could be implemented. The Share Your Ideas board would be a good place to suggest this particular feature.

 

Sent email tracking

This is currently possible to do, assuming again that you are using Act! emarketing. When looking at the online campaign reports, you can check to see a complete list of who the email was sent to, and whether or not they have opened it.

It is also possible to see this detail in Act!. After updating the campaign history, you can see on the History tab that the campaign has been sent, but not necessarily opened.

 

chrome_2016-12-13_16-55-13.png Act!_2016-12-13_17-06-15.png

 

Please let us know any thoughts, or further questions you may have on these points.

 

Many thanks,

Gary W

New Member
Posts: 7
Country: USA

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Thanks Gary! This helps a lot. 

 

Here is my info: 

 

Version 18.1.108.0

Windows 10

Act! emarketing

 

Thanks for these suggestions. I may submit an idea on the share your ideas page; that would be very helpful if we could do that without having to create a secondary contact for all of Keith's contacts who are listed beside their spouse's name in his contact list. 

 

As for the recurring emails. In the example you showed, could I make the task run only on a birthday or does it have to be daily? We have emails set up to send on people's birthdays, anniversary's etc., but so far I haven't figured out how to make this happen once a year, every year without manually inserting it. Obviously once a day wouldn't work. 

 

I can't tell if, in the example above, your screenshot shows a situation where an email is being sent every day, or once a year. If once a year, that's fantastic and exactly what we are looking for. 

 

Thanks!

Moderator
Posts: 131
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Hi Calvin, I can help you with Gary's Smart Task example (Gary is out of the office until the new year).

 

To clarify straight away, in Gary's example an email will be sent once a year on the person's birthday, exactly what you were hoping for. I'll explain how the task actually works.

 

So as you can see in the screenshot the task is set to run every day at 9:00am. This means that every morning at 9 the smart task will perform a search of the database to see if it is able to run or not. The criteria it is searching for is anyone whose birthday is today. If it finds a match, then it will send out a birthday email.

 

This means then that the task is searching every single day, but it will only send out emails to anyone who matches the search criteria, meaning that every contact will get one email on their birthday every year as that is the only time they match the criteria.

 

I hope this makes sense, please let me know if you have any further questions.

New Member
Posts: 7
Country: USA

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

Wow, that's awesome! and can I use a similar smart task for other events assigned to custom fields (like weddings, house closing anniversaries, etc)?

Moderator
Posts: 131
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Open Letter to ACT - Request for New Features

You certainly can yes. I would recommend that when you create those custom fields, you make sure that the type of field is set to 'Annual Event', which as you would imagine is used for anything that comes up on a yearly basis.