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SoftwareProjects to attend AdTech San Francisco

Kate Richards, April 11, 2011
AdTech is an international conference for the interactive marketing community, bringing together the movers & shakers of our industry, all under one roof.



SoftwareProjects is sending a small team of rainmakers to meet and network. We'd love to buy you a beer!

When: April 11-13, 2011
Where: Moscone Center, San Francisco

For the first time AdTech and YouTube will be partnering to broadcast highlights of the conference LIVE on the AdTech channel

If you'd like to get together and learn why 3,000 businesses in 14 countries rely on SoftwareProjects when it comes to Shopping Carts, Product Launches, PPC, Email Marketing and Software Development, contact us to setup a meeting.

See you in San Francisco!

SoftwareProjects to attend Affiliate Summit West

Kate Richards, January 3, 2011
Affiliate Summit Las Vegas is the largest gathering of affiliates, merchants and pay-by-performance networks.



SoftwareProjects is sending a small team of rainmakers to meet and network. We'd love to buy you a beer!

When: January 9-11, 2011
Where: Wynn Las Vegas

We will be blogging live from the event, covering session highlights here on SoftwareProjects.com

If you'd like to get together and learn why 3,000 businesses in 14 countries rely on SoftwareProjects when it comes to Shopping Carts, Product Launches, PPC, Email Marketing and Software Development, please drop a comment here or email us to setup a meeting.

See you in Vegas!
The SPI Shopping Cart platform, allows you to customize system email messages and look&feel so that it best fits your organization.

Between Order Confirmations, Commission Notifications, Payment Alerts and User-events (Forgot Password, Signup etc), there are well over 100 system emails that can all be customized with your branding and your unique look&feel.

In order to ensure your affiliates, customers and leads, are receiving system messages that look good and deliver your message eloquently, it is often helpful to get blind-copied on all of those emails.

Here's how to set this up:

Step 1: Setup a new gmail.com email address. You're going to need a new @gmail.com email address, because you don't want all those messages coming in to your main gmail account.

Write down the new email address you selected and memorize the password.

Step 2: Login to your SPI account, click on System Messages and then select the 'Settings' option from the left.

Step 3: Enter the new gmail email address you created



That's it. From now on, you will receive a copy of all system messages delivered to your customers, leads and affiliates.

Check your new gmail account from time to time, to monitor your event-driven outgoing communications.

This can help you in continually customizing messages, updating content and enhancing look & feel as needed.

Updated WYSIWYG Editor

Mike Peters, March 9, 2010
Today we completed upgrading our WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor across the entire SPI platform.

Affected services:
* Email Marketing
* Autoresponder
* Surveys
* FAQ
* Help desk
* Projects Manager
* System Branding
* Product Manager



The new editor loads faster, offers a wider featureset and is a lot less buggy than the one we were previously using.

The only feature we miss with this new editor is "Auto link" - having the editor automatically convert google.com to google.com.

We're working on a plugin to make that happen.

How to: Add a Lead Opt-in Web Form

Adrian Singer, October 28, 2009
A lead opt-in web form is a short form, asking the user to provide name, emailaddress, phone and/or other optional fields, for the purpose of signing up for a program, or receiving more information about your offering.



Unlike other shopping carts, the SPI cart doesn't limit you to a single form style or any specific fields.

You can create whatever html form you like, using any design and combination of fields (text, radio button, checkboxes, textareas) as needed.

The only requirement is to have at least the emailaddress field, whenever saving a new lead to the database.

Step 1 - Design your opt-in form

Use your favorite HTML editor to design your lead opt-in form.

For simplicity, use 'name' as the fieldname for the user's name (or 'first_name' + 'last_name'), use 'emailaddress' as the fieldname for the user's email address and use 'phone' as the fieldname for the user's phone number.

Here's a typical lead opt-in form with the basic name,emailaddress,phone fields as well as a few additional custom ones:


<form action="#" method="post">
<
p>First Name: <input type="text" name="first_name" /></p>
<
p>Last Name: <input type="text" name="last_name" /></p>
<
p>Best Email: <input type="text" name="email" /></p>
<
p>Best Phone Number: <input type="text" name="phone" /></p>
<
p>Have you traded individual stocks?
Yes <input name="traded_indi_stock" type="radio" value="Yes" /> No <input name="traded_indi_stock" type="radio" value="No" />
</
p>
<
p>Have you traded options
Yes
<input name="traded_option" type="radio" value="Yes" /> No <input name="traded_option" type="radio" value="No" />
</
p>
<
input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" />
</
form>

Step 2 - Add custom fields to Leads table

Since we're using a few custom fields in this example (traded_indi_stock, traded_option), we need to add those fields to the 'leads' table.

Connect to your SPI database using PHPMyAdmin, locate the leads table and add the two new fields. You only have to do this once every time you're adding a new custom field to a table.



Make sure you're adding the custom fields to the 'leads' table and pay close attention to the fieldnames. The fieldnames you choose are going to have to match the fieldnames you pass to the do_addlead() function.

Step 3 - Save the lead to the database

Now that we have the custom leads in the 'leads' table, saving the lead to the database is the easy part.

The code below renders the opt-in form, saves the lead to the database and redirects the user to a thankyou.html page.


<?php
// Include SPICart shopping cart API
require_once("spicart.php");

// If this is a lead submit
if (!empty($_POST['email']))
{
// Save lead to the database
$input = array();
$input['first_name'] = $_POST['first_name'];
$input['last_name'] = $_POST['last_name'];
$input['emailaddress'] = $_POST['emailaddres'];
$input['phone'] = $_POST['phone'];
$input['traded_indi_stock'] = $_POST['traded_indi_stock'];
$input['traded_option'] = $_POST['traded_option'];
do_addlead($input, &$output, &$result_str);
Header("Location: thankyou.html");
die;
}
?>
<form action="#" method="post">
<p>First Name: <input type="text" name="first_name" /></p>
<p>Last Name: <input type="text" name="last_name" /></p>
<p>Best Email: <input type="text" name="emailaddress" /></p>
<p>Best Phone Number: <input type="text" name="phone" /></p>
<p>Have you traded individual stocks?
Yes <input name="traded_indi_stock" type="radio" value="Yes" /> No <input name="traded_indi_stock" type="radio" value="No" />
</p>
<p>Have you traded options
Yes <input name="traded_option" type="radio" value="Yes" /> No <input name="traded_option" type="radio" value="No" />
</p>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" />
</form>
<?php
// Track visit to this page
track();
?>

Note about Affiliate Tracking

Often times, affiliates will be sending their traffic to your lead opt-in forms. You're going to want to know which affiliate generated which leads.

Luckily the system takes care of this automatically.

One of the fields in the 'leads' table is aff_id. This is the ID of the referring affiliate and serves as the glue, associating leads with the affiliates who referred them.

When a user clicks on an affiliate link to visit the opt-in form on your website, they typically follow a link that looks like this:

www.YourDomain.com/?aff_id=1234

Where 1234 is the affiliate ID.

As soon as the user lands on the lead opt-in form, the spicart.php include at the top of your file, identifies the aff_id url-parameter and saves it in a cookie on the end-user's machine.

Later when you call do_addlead(), this method picks up the aff_id from the end-user's cookie and passes it along, so that when the lead is added, the referring aff_id is saved as well.

Mailing Lists and Segments

Mike Peters, July 10, 2009
SPI Email Marketing system supports two types of destination lists:

* Static Mailing List

Add an unlimited number of custom fields, import lists from your machine or a remote server.

The number of recipients on these type of lists always stays the same, until people unsubscribe or you import new records.

See this short video for a walk-through of how to import emails to a list.

* List Segment

A list segment is a powerful filter on your entire database. It's a database SQL rule, that allows you to create tightly focused groups of customers, leads or affiliates.

For example, you can create a segment of "All customers whose payment got declined over the last 7 days", or "All customers residing in New York who purchased Product X" etc.



-

Your SPI account manager will create several popular list segments in your account: All customers, All affiliates, All leads etc.

You can add as many segments as you need. Use list segments wisely to tailor specific messages to targeted groups of customers.

List segments are updated several times every day, applying the SQL-rule on your entire database, to filter-in the records that belong to each segment.

Sending email broadcasts

Once your mailing lists and segments are defined, sending out a broadcast is a breeze.

Simply click 'Send Broadcast', type-up your message and select the target list or lists.





The system will automatically de-dup, so that no recipient ever receives the same message more than once.

A note about Autoresponders

Every autoresponder you create under the Autoresponder service, will automatically create a list-segment in the Email Marketing service:



This way, you can broadcast messages on-demand, to all subscribers of an individual autoresponder.

Affiliate System Commission Plans setup

Mike Peters, July 9, 2009
The SPI Affiliate System supports two types of commission plans:

Product Commission Plan

Pay affiliate X per every sale of the designated product

Affiliate Commission Plan

Pay affiliate X per every product sale that doesn't have its own specific commission plan assigned to it

-

You can think of it as the 'Affiliate Commission Plan' being the default pay, while the 'Product Commission Plan' allows applying specific rules to individual products.

For example, let's say you'd like to pay a certain affiliate 30% on all the sales they generate, except for the "Red Widgets" product where you have lower margin. On that product, you want the affiliate to be paid 10%.

You would create two commission plans: a 10% one and a 30% one.

Assign the 30% commission plan to the affiliate:



And assign the 10% commission plan to the individual product:



The affiliate will be credited as soon as the referred customer is charged.

Once you define commission plans, you can associate the same commission plans to multiple affiliates / products.

-

Now let's go over all the options you have when setting up a new commission plan:



You can define different rules for the 'First Payment' vs 'Recurring orders'.

In the example above we're paying affiliates 20% on all sales plus a flat $5.00 fee and the same rules apply for recurring payments.

We're also paying $2 per every lead generated.

The 'Keep Paying until' section, allows you to control whether you'd like to keep paying affiliates for the life-cycle of the customer, or limit the number of pay cycles.

The 'Override' flag is useful when you have an affiliate where you'd like them to be paid a certain amount/percentage, regardless of any product-defined commission plans. This is typically used with partners.

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