Use your email list to market on FB

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Hold up your hand and count your fingers. Five fingers right? Did you know that’s about the same number of countries that block Facebook? You can access Facebook, in one form or another, in nearly every country. It just goes to show the reach and popularity of this platform rivals those of Coke or McDonalds. Businesses mostly benefit from its great marketing potential, which has recently been made even better due to a new feature.

Custom Audiences is Facebook’s new marketing feature, available through a plug-in called Power Editor for Google Chrome. If your company utilizes the Facebook Advertising API (Application Programming Interface) to manage Facebook related advertising, this feature is also available to you.

What exactly is Custom Audiences? If you conduct any form of email advertising, you likely have a list of email addresses that you send content like newsletters to on a regular basis. If you have this list saved as a single column CSV – Comma-Separated Value: A document that stores tabular data (e.g., Excel files) with no formatting, separated by commas – you can import it into Power Editor. Power Editor will match the email addresses with Facebook users and allow you to create ads to target just those users.

If you have a phone list, you can upload that to use as well. This is a good feature as it allows you to reach out, through Facebook, with ads to clients or customers who aren’t currently your fans or don’t like your page. In other words, your marketing reach through Facebook has just expanded.

Because you do upload your customer’s information to your Facebook account, the information is stored on Facebook’s servers. This move has come under scrutiny from many security experts, to which Facebook has responded that all data uploaded is hashed for security. On top of this, advertisers must have consent from data owners to use their information and agree to remove it when asked.

For now, this feature is only available through third-party vendors or to users of the Power Editor script. Power Editor is an extension for Chrome which helps users to create, edit and manage Facebook ad campaigns.

How to create a Custom Audience If you have Power Editor installed, navigate to it and you’ll notice a new tab labeled Custom Audiences. Click it and a pop-up window will open. In the window you’ll be able to pick a name for your audience and upload the file with the contact information and type of information. Select the relevant information and click Create.

After the upload is complete, you should see the new list on the main window. Select the list and press Create Ad Using Audience. You will create your ad as you normally would, and it will be sent to the list you selected.

If you are looking to expand your marketing platform or reach out to your customers in a new way, this is a good feature to do so. While it is free for now, it’s yet to be seen if it will become a paid feature in the near future. To learn more about how to use Facebook for your marketing, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

2011 Windows Multipoint Server 101

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Support for laptops, netbooks, and thin clients as well as better connectivity with other Microsoft Server products are just some of the features of the new Windows Multipoint Server 2011, designed to help small businesses maximize the resources they currently have.

Cost efficiency and value are some of the major concerns many businesses  especially small ones  have these days. It is essential for small businesses to be able to minimize expenses while keeping productivity and quality up to standards.

Microsoft’s Windows Server systems have always been designed with this concern in mind. And with the new version of Windows Multipoint Server, better and improved features are designed to enable businesses to be more flexible in the way they use Windows products while keeping costs to a minimum.

What’s different this time around? For one, while we always recommend using the latest systems, Windows Multipoint Server 2011 accommodates older systems  so if you still have some older workstations you haven’t been able to upgrade just yet, you can still squeeze some more productivity from them until you can upgrade. Windows Multipoint Server 2011 also supports thin clients (computers that depend on a server for the majority of their calculations), laptops, and netbooks using the regular LAN network  among other methods.

Another new feature of the new Multipoint Server is that it can be backed up by Windows Small Business Server Essentials, and it also provides better connectivity with Windows Small Business Server 2011 and Windows Home Server 2011. Through Windows Multipoint Server 2011, administrators can also view and interact with station desktops connected to it.

If you want to know more about the new Windows Multipoint Server, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and discuss how it can improve the way you do business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Email fraud – 5 tips to help you spot it

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Business owners and managers have many concerns they must address on a regular basis, or at least be aware of. Some of security concerns revolve around fraud, more specifically email fraud. While this isn’t a new concept, email fraud and scam occurrences are on the rise, and it is vital to know how to spot them.

Here’s five tips to help you spot email frauds or scams.

Look at the email address One of the easiest ways to spot a fraudulent email or scam is by looking at the email address of the sender. Many credit card application scams use third party email services like Gmail or Yahoo. Some scammers go so far as to set up accounts in the name of the company e.g., AMEX_121@gmail.com.

Sophisticated scammers will actually try to copy the legitimate company’s email account – a practice called spoofing. They will usually have a few changes like a missing letter from the address, or an extra . added.

The easiest thing you can do is look for the sender’s site on the Internet. For example: You get an email from AMEX OPEN (American Express’s small business credit card) and notice that the sender’s email address just doesn’t look right. Go to Google and search for amex fraud. You’ll likely find the fraud page which tells you exactly how the company sends emails. If the sender is a smaller company, most of these will have email contact addresses right on the site, take a look and compare the two. If they are different, the email is likely a scam.

Look at the sender’s website If you think an email is fraudulent, try looking up the website associated with the sender. Should you be unable to find the site, it’s likely a scam.

If you find a website, click through some pages to see if there is anything that looks out of place. For example a website selling a new financial service has pages with Coming Soon or you get errors when you try to load the page. If it looks fishy, it likely is – delete the email.

It would also be a good idea to go to archive.org’s Wayback Machine, copy and paste the website’s URL into the The Wayback Machine Search bar and hit Take me back. This will bring up previous versions of the website. If you see that the site in question was something completely different a few months to a year ago (e.g., it is a financial services page now, but six months ago it was a page selling prescription drugs), chances are high it’s a fraud.

Call them Many scammers will put phone numbers into emails to make them look more legitimate. If you are unsure about whether this email is legitimate or not, why not try calling the number? Many scammers run more than one fraud operating at the same time and may answer the phone with another name, or not at all.

Similarly, if you call a local number of a supposedly small business and get routed directly to voicemail, it’s likely fraud.

Look carefully at the body of the message The body of the email can also be a great way to suss out email scammers and potential fraud. Because many fraudulent emails originate outside of the major English speaking countries, there will often be language that just sounds different from the way people write in your area. One great example of this would be a line like ‘We wish to sell you a great product.’

You should also look for spelling errors, grammar mistakes or inconsistencies. While some fraudulent emails will have minor spelling inconsistencies, others will spell common words wrong. If you see mistakes like ‘our product are a great deals’, this should raise a warning flag.

Spelling and grammar errors are a part of business communication, so don’t expect a perfect email from all companies, especially if you see that the company is located overseas. It’s the emails with mistakes supposedly coming from companies in your area that should really raise alarm.

The sender asks for money or passwords It’s kind of an unwritten rule that when sending out emails you never ask for a person’s credit card number or account passwords. Banks, large companies and many social networks will never ask you for passwords or account information, credit card numbers, pin codes, etc of any kind over email. If you notice that an email selling something asks for you to reply with a credit card details so you can make a purchase, it’s best to delete the email as it’s likely a fraud.

Email fraud is a big deal, and unfortunately it will likely become even more common in the near future. This means you should be able to spot potentially fraudulent emails. If you think an email is a scam, it’s best to just delete it immediately. Don’t respond or forward it to colleagues or employees. If you need to let people know, write another email that describes the suspected email but has no links. You can also forward a screenshot to your colleagues or friends to illustrate the scam.

Looking for more ways you can protect your company? Contact us today. We can work with you to develop a security system that will meet your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Watch out for tech support phone scams

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For users of Windows systems the threat of a security breach is an ever-present one that has many security experts constantly worrying. The thing is, many systems are secure enough from outside attacks, and many scammers know this. As a result, scammers have switched tactics and have taken to masquerading as Windows technicians, hoping to get users to give up their credit cards.

These scams have long been a part of the Windows environment. Despite users being fully aware of these attacks, some people still falling into the trap.

These deceptions generally follow the same formula: A person calls you pretending to be from the Windows technical team at Microsoft. The scammer usually tells you that they need to renew their software protection licenses to keep their computer running.

Most of the time, these scammers spread the conversation out over a number of phone calls and emails, the goal being to gain the trust of the user. Once trust is established, or the user seems interested enough, the scammer will offer a seeming sweet deal: They will offer a service that will make your computer run like new, usually for a seemingly reasonable price.

The scammer will then use remote PC support software to show you ‘problems’ your computer is having. They will usually show you the Windows Event Viewer – a part of the OS that shows errors, usually harmless, that your computer has generated. The scammer will then convince the user that these errors are harmful, and if you have paid, they will make it look like they are cleaning your computer.

If you give them your credit card number, you will likely see ridiculous charges, or even have people trying to access your accounts.

What’s being done? Governments are aware of this increasingly common trend, and some organizations, like the FTC, have taken measures to shut down scammers. This article from ars technica gives a good overview of what exactly the FTC is doing, while another article provides a first-hand account of how the scammers operate.

What can we do? While action is being taken, these scams are still continuing. From what we can tell, they likely won’t stop in the near future. To ensure you don’t fall prey to this trickery, these five tips should help you identify when an attempted scam is at play:

  1. Microsoft doesn’t call people.
  2. Windows Event Manager is a log of errors for ALL programs.
  3. Microsoft employees will never ask for your passwords.
  4. Most of these scammers operate out of call centers in India, but bill from the US.
  5. Microsoft employees won’t usually ask you to install software that’s not made by Microsoft.

As a rule of thumb: If you get an unsolicited call about your computers and IT security, it’s likely not genuine. If these criminals provide you with a website, do a quick Google search to see if there have been any scam reports. You can also join the No-Call Registry if you are in the United States. To learn more about these scams, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Be like Superman, protect your email

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Clark Kent: star reporter for the Daily Planet and always one of the first reporters to break the news. To many, Clark Kent is more commonly known as Superman. If Superman had an email address, it’d be a sure thing that he’d take steps to ensure it remains secure and out of the hands of criminals. Do you echo what superman would do and protect your email address?

Failing online protection from a superhero here’s five things you can do to ensure your email address is properly protected.

Give your email a disguise Superheros often protect their identity through the use of a disguise. We’re not saying you need to dress up in spandex, go out and search for spammers/scammers to beat down, or prevent from getting your email. Instead, you should be aware of how scammers operate – largely by writing programs that search websites for email addresses – and disguise your email from this.

Many programs look for traditional emails like imthebatman@gmail.com, so to disguise your email, spell it out: imthebatmanATgmailDOTcom or, imthebatman(DELETETHIS)@gmailDOTcom. People are smart enough to figure out that the AT and DOT are actually @, . or to delete (DELETETHIS). You’d be surprised at how much this will cut down on spam.

Protect your email’s identity Aside for a disguise, superheroes will often go to great lengths to protect their identity. You should do the same with your email address. When signing up for a new service, forum, or anything that requires a username, don’t use your email as the username. If possible, don’t use your email address at all.

You should also read the Privacy Statements of all websites you have accounts with. Yes, there is lots of legal speak and they are long, but thats to get the user to scroll to the bottom of the document and hit accept. Look for clauses regarding your email, and note any companies that say they reserve the rights to sell your email to advertisers or aren’t held liable for stolen information, as you can ensure that your email will be spammed.

Beyond that, many websites allow you to hide your email address from other users. It’s highly recommended that you do this and an option to do so can usually be found in the Account Options or Account Security sections of your user profile on websites.

Don’t respond to flashy requests When a superhero is not out fighting crime, they’re off cultivating and maintaining their alter-ego. They hardly do anything outside of their normal character, and normally won’t respond to flashy requests for super luxury balls (unless you’re Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark of course). If you get an email that sounds too good to be true, such as announcing that you’ve won something spectacular, it’s a good idea to not open or respond to it, as chances are near 100% that it’s a scam or simply aimed at getting your email address or other information.

Get your email a side-kick Some superheroes have sidekicks that help them fight crime or solve mysteries. We recommend that you get your main email a sidekick and sign up for a separate email that you use for online shopping, forum registration and basically anything that’s non-work/family/friends related.

Take a picture of your email In numerous Spider-Man story arcs, Peter Parker is tasked with taking pictures of Spider-Man. Of course, being Spider-man, all he has to do is take a picture of himself and people seem to be happy with that. As many spam programs don’t take information from pictures, it’s a good idea to make your email addresses into a picture that you place onto email signatures, or into the body of the email itself.

The easiest way to do this is open MS Paint, (if you have a windows machine), or an online image creator like pixlr and type your email address into the image, resize so it just fits the font and hit save. The best format to save it as is a .jpeg, as it can be easily read by Internet browsers and email programs. Most email programs will allow you to put an image into your signature, typically done under Settings.

You don’t have to be a superhero to protect your email, just take these precautionary steps and your important email addresses will be as safe as any superhero’s true identity. If you’d like to learn more about staying secure while surfing the Internet, please contact us, and we will come to your aid.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Write better emails with these 6 tips

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Email has become the go-to communication medium for businesses of all sizes. It’s not uncommon to see people emailing one another when they could just as easily talk. While it is incredibly popular, many emails are poorly written, leading to confusion and both parties having to take time out of their busy days to clarify. This can make you unproductive, and the best way to stop this is by writing good emails to begin with.

Here’s six tips that can help ensure that the emails you send get your message across. By writing quality emails, you could see your productivity increase as you will have more time to do your work instead of clarifying sloppy emails.

1. Have a clear decision or action 99% of the emails you send are to ask someone to take an action, make a decision, reply etc. So, before you write any email pause for a minute and ask yourself: Why am I writing this and what do I want the recipient to do with this email?

If you can’t provide a clear answer to these two questions, you may want to try contacting the recipient through another medium, or take some time to think and come up with an answer.

2. Write it backwards Once you know why you are writing your email, the actual writing becomes a lot easier. Because you will most likely be asking the recipient to do something, why not start with the request. Simply write down, in clear English, what you want done.

It’s important to be as clear and direct as possible to avoid any confusion and potential follow up emails that will distract you. Once you have stated what you want, then you can provide justification to your request, or background information.

The reason this works is because many business owners/managers/employees are busy, they don’t have time to read a whole report’s worth of information that ends with a request. Most of the time they will just skip to the end anyways, so why not put the most important part – the action that you want them to take – at the beginning.

3. Use lists Many poorly written emails aren’t actually poorly written. They are just formatted in an inefficient manner. In most English classes, students are taught to develop their ideas or arguments through logical paragraphs, while having only one point to each paragraph. Pause for a minute and think: If you get an email asking you to make a decision on what product to buy with five paragraphs each talking about a benefit or reason, would you actually read the whole email? Chances are the answer is no.

To be more efficient, break your ideas/reasons/arguments into a list. You can usually summarize the majority of main ideas of each paragraph into a single sentence. This makes them easier for you and the recipient to read.

4. KISS We don’t mean you should kiss your monitor. In this context, KISS stands for Keep It Simple and Straightforward. You shouldn’t have long essays or arguments with lots of padding. Get to the point immediately and provide the essential information.

If you find yourself writing an essay or long report, email is not the medium you should be using. Instead put your thoughts into a word document that you attach to the email. In the email itself put a brief overview along with the most important points and tell your recipient to check the attachment for more information.

5. Have a relevant subject line The subject of your email is like the title of a report or news article. Without a solid subject, the chances of your email being opened and read are low. It would be a good idea to write your whole email first, then the subject.

A good subject line can A) Interest the recipient enough to get them to open it and B) Provide enough insight so the reader can infer what you want. If you look over a subject line of an email you are about to send and see that it doesn’t make sense or reference the email itself, it would be a good idea to re-write it.

6. Proofread everything This may make sense now, but we are all guilty of writing an email and pressing send without reading the content over. Once you hit send, the damage is done, you won’t be able to get the email back. That’s why it’s a good idea to read over your email after you finish.

You should look for any obvious spelling and grammar errors along with ensuring that the content makes sense. If you think it’s ok, then you can probably go ahead and send it. If you are the least bit hesitant, walk away from it for a few minutes then come back and read over it again. You will likely be able to see a couple of changes.

There are many options at your disposal that allow you to enhance your and your company’s productivity. Contact us today to see how our systems can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Put it to a vote using Outlook

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Survey, poll and voting. Whatever you call it, there’s a good chance that you use these in your office. Whether it’s to ask your employees where to go for lunch, or ask them how you think you should answer an email, they’re an important part of the modern office. Did you know you can use Microsoft 365’s Outlook to conduct these surveys?

Here’s how you can create polls and votes in your emails using Microsoft 365’s Outlook.

  1. Open Outlook, and click New Message. If you have an email you’d like to attach a poll to, and forward it to others, open the email and click Forward.
  2. Click on Options, located at the top of the window you compose the email in. From the drop-down menu, select Tracking.
  3. Click Use Voting Buttons.
  4. Choose from the options.

If you choose Custom, you’ll be able to customize the names of the buttons. This is done by:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above, and select Custom.
  2. A window called Message Options will open, under Voting and Tracking Options selectUse voting buttons.
  3. Delete the default names and enter the name of the buttons you’d like to use. Be sure to separate them with a semicolon, with no spaces e.g., Choice One;Choice Two;Choice Three.
  4. If you want a read and delivery receipt sent to you, press the two respective boxes below Use voting buttons.
  5. Click Close. You’ll notice the buttons show up in the area where you compose your email. Compose the rest of your email, and click Send.

You can review the results by opening the email you sent, usually found in the Sent Items folder on the left-hand side of the Outlook window. In the open email, press the Message tab followed by Show and Tracking. If there haven’t been any responses the Tracking option will be grayed out, and you’ll be unable to click on it.

 

Being able to include a poll in your emails is a great feature of Office 365 that can be used for many situations. If you’d like to learn how to use other features of Office 365 please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Outlook not sending an email?

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Email is a crucial component that many businesses have come to rely on, so much so that when the program they use has a problem the whole business is hamstrung. Many companies use Microsoft’s Outlook, which does stop working from time-to-time. One of the most common issues is when your emails aren’t being sent.

Here’s three tips on what to do if there is an email stuck in your outbox.

Re-send it From Outlook’s main window, click on the Send/Receive tab (usually located beside Home), followed by Send All. This will tell the program to try and send any email in the inbox again. After you press this, check your outbox to see if the email is still there. If it isn’t, you know it has been sent.

Check the attachment If you notice an email is still sitting in your outbox, check and see if you attached a file. As a general rule of thumb: Larger files will take longer to send. Is the attachment a big file? If yes, try waiting a few minutes (it could take upwards of 10 minutes depending on file size).

Another problem may be that the file size is above the attachment limit, which is ordinarily set by the email server. If the attachment is over the limit, Outlook will continuously try to send the message, but it won’t be able to send it. You often won’t be able to change the email once it’s in the outbox. The easiest way to remedy this is by:

  • Clicking on the Send/Receive tab.
  • Selecting Work Offline from the ribbon.
  • Opening the message and deleting the attachment.
  • Making the attachment smaller.
  • Re-attaching the file and sending the email again.

There are many ways you can make attachments smaller. One of the most popular is to zip it using a program like WinZip, or PeaZip. If the attachment is still too large, you may be better off trying one of a  number of cloud storage solutions which allow you to upload and share larger files. You will just have to let email recipients know the link of the file in the email.

 

You’re offline If the email still isn’t being sent take a look at the bottom of the window in Outlook. There should be a grey bar, called the Status Bar. If you see a yellow warning triangle with an ‘!’ in it and the words Disconnected beside it, that  means either your Internet connection isn’t working or the email server is offline.

To check if your Internet connection is working, try loading any webpage. If this doesn’t load, most browsers will display an error message, telling you to check your Internet connection. If the Internet is working fine, it’s probably a good chance your email service is offline. When the server comes back online, the warning triangle should be replaced with the Outlook logo and a note stating you are connected.

To learn more about how to ensure Office and all of the related products are helping make business easier, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

How to delay emails on Outlook

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Email, one of the most disruptive technologies ever led the way for a digital communication wave of change that has more or less destroyed the traditional methods of communication. Why write a letter when you can just type out an email and have it delivered and read instantly? The problem with email is that it has led to a bunch of users who just type without thinking and hitting send, only to regret what they have written. Don’t look at us that way, we are all guilty of it. However, if you have Microsoft Outlook, you can put a delay on emails, giving you a chance to avoid such mistakes or regrets.

Below are instructions on how to delay emails in Outlook.

7-second tape delay for emails It worked well for hockey commentator Don Cherry after a few unpopular comments landed his program, Coach’s Corner, in hot water. For emails, seven seconds is a bit short, we recommend delaying potentially inflammatory emails for 10 minutes, to give you time to review and possibly cancel if you notice mistakes. You can add a delay on individual emails in Outlook by:

  1. Clicking Options in the window you’re writing your email in and selecting More Options.
  2. Select Delay Delivery followed by Message Options.
  3. Clicking the box beside: Don’t deliver before and selecting the date and time to send the email.

You’ll be taken back to the message window after you’ve selected the delivery time, and pressing Send will put the email in the Outbox folder until the specified time. If you use a POP3 email account – if you’re unsure what you use, contact the administrator in charge of email – you will have to keep Outlook open.

 

There are many different reasons to use the delay function of Outlook, it’s especially useful if you often realize there are mistakes in your emails. You should still be sure to read over your emails and if it’s an angry reply or it contains negative information ensure that it carries a relevant tone and that you really want to send it. Has there ever been a time when you could have used this feature? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Why Choose Managed Services?

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If you’re a small or medium-sized business that’s still hesitant about Managed Services, you’re missing out on a lot. Some of the advantages of using Managed Services include better control of costs and a more comprehensive and up-to-date IT system that’s dependable, stable and allows you to comply with regulatory compliances.

Many large businesses prefer the use of Managed Services to meet their IT needs, but many smaller organizations continue to be skeptical of this solution. Here are five reasons that will make you think twice about dismissing Managed Services:

Managed Services help control costs. In any kind of business, it’s important to be as cost-effective as possible. Especially in IT, where unbridled or poorly managed systems cost way more that they’re worth, it’s essential to have a system that works with your budget but doesn’t compromise on quality. Managed Services is the most feasible and practical way to accomplish that, especially in the long term.

Managed Services help you deal with increasingly complex IT solutions. With both hardware and software components of IT systems constantly evolving, businesses with limited resources may very well find themselves left behind after a while. But with Managed Services, you are able to enjoy the advantages of the latest IT solutions at a fraction of the cost – enabling you to provide the best possible service to your clients.

Managed Services give you a better, more dependable IT infrastructure. Especially for smaller businesses, it can be tedious to maintain an in-house IT arm; and you run the risk of stretching resources too thinly, which can compromise the quality and output of your IT department. Managed Services allow you to have a stable and dependable IT arm that’s dedicated to meeting your specific needs in a cost-effective manner.

Managed Services offer more comprehensive and complete IT solutions. More often than not, small and undermanned IT departments are more of a burden to the organization they belong to – errors are more likely to occur, response and problem solving is a slow process, and staff members are probably overworked and underpaid, making them both unhappy and less productive. Managed Services, on the other hand, are completely the opposite, allowing you to utilize efficient and comprehensive solutions that are tailor-made to fit your specific requirements.

Managed Services help you maintain compliance. With the marketplace becoming more and more competitive, meeting different regulatory compliances has become a fundamental need. From Sarbanes-Oxley to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), smaller companies can often find themselves lost. It’s Managed Services that helps these companies not only fully understand the requirements of these regulations, but also comply with them.

If you want to know more about how Managed Services can directly benefit your day to day operations, please do not hesitate to give us a call – we’d be happy to sit down and discuss a custom solution that works for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.