During this difficult time of social distancing and home isolation due to COVID-19, many companies are turning to remote work on short notice to keep their businesses running and their employees safe. However, this presents a problem for organizations that are not already set up for remote work at the drop of a hat. At RFDM Solutions, our team is prepared to work remotely should the need arise, but we want to help all businesses that might not be. Here are our top tips for keeping your team on the same page when you can’t always be in the same place.
Solutions for Remote Work on Short Notice
It’s best to set a policy on how communications and tasks will be handled, and what is expected from all team members during periods of remote work or team separation. Creating a clearly defined process for communication, meetings, time logging and other aspects of a normal work day is important so everyone feels comfortable and understands what is expected of them. In this document, you may also wish to address equipment, stipends or reimbursements for costs associated with power and internet access, and any other resources that your team might need during this period. Workable offers a free remote work policy template for businesses that aren’t sure where to begin.
When they say communication is key, this is more important than ever with remote work. Tools like Slack, Zoho Cliq and Microsoft Teams make it possible for everyone to stay on track with instant messaging. Each of these apps are currently available for free, so small-to-medium businesses have the same advantages as larger corporations in this unprecedented time. You can easily create channels for projects and teams for better organization, as well as one-on-one messaging. IM is much faster than email, and less formal. These apps are also available for mobile, which means that people may be more likely to see and respond if they forget to keep chat windows open. It’s also a good idea to exchange phone numbers in case something urgent comes up.
It is difficult to keep up with meetings through chat alone. Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting offer audio and video conference options for small and large groups. They integrate easily with external and built-in webcams and audio systems, and requires no special set up. These apps can be used for internal team meetings, but they are just as useful for client meetings or discussions with suppliers or partners. As a team with clients all over the globe, we at RFDM have found that video conferencing is an efficient and effective way to communicate that is convenient for everyone.
Now that you have communication sorted, you’ll need a way to manage tasks and projects with full visibility for the whole team. Zoho Projects, Asana and Trello are just a few of the options available for teams of all sizes. Whether you are a small business with a handful of employees, or a larger organization, you can benefit from a project management tool. This will encourage close collaboration and reduce project miscommunications when you can’t all be together. The right project management software will lead to an efficient remote team, allowing work to continue as usual.
If your organization has to shift to remote work, you need to consider how everyone will easily and securely access shared files. Google Drive, along with Google Sheets and Google Docs, is readily available and most people are already familiar with it. These tools can be useful for file sharing and collaboration, but they can also cause problems like file fidelity and version control. We suggest using a tool like Zoho WorkDrive. It is a secure shared workspace that is accessable online, or downloadable to the local drive. It also maintains original file types.
Remote Software Suite
Zoho is currently offering their remote work bundle, Zoho Remotely, for free until July 1, 2020, to help all businesses stay productive and healthy. It includes Cliq, their messaging system (which we use and love), Zoho Office Suite, Projects, and their conference software, Meetings, among many others. For assistance when setting your team up for remote success, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.
User experience is the most important aspect of any website design. Improve a user’s experience immediately by organizing WordPress content in a more accessible manner. Both module tabs and submenus with anchors are ideal options, but you have to weigh the pros and cons to determine which works best for UX on both desktop and mobile.
The Value of User Experience
As long as the content’s accessible in some way, that’s good enough, right? Not at all. Here are a few eye-opening UX statistics showcasing just how important the user’s experience is:
Improved UX design boosts
conversions by up to 400%
88% of shoppers online won’t
return after a bad user experience
Poor usability, such as the
wrong content organization menu choice, causes up to 70% of online businesses
The most difficult part is ensuring the best user experience on both desktop and mobile. Considering, mobile devices, not including tablets, have a 52% market share, while desktops have a 45% market share, it’s a good idea to focus on the UX for all the devices a user might come to you from.
Organizing WordPress Content: Tabs or Submenus?
Organizing WordPress content in menus makes it easier to access. The type of navigation you choose makes all the difference. But, should you choose module tabs or submenus?
Both are good choices. They provide easy
access to a site’s content. The main benefit of these systems is they quickly
show users every content section at a glance. Of course, they can still be used
with traditional hamburger, drop-down menus, and navigation bars.
Module tabs and submenus with anchors are
specific ways to organize content on a single page. Think of it as a
single-page menu that complements your main menu. Also, the content in these
menus are all related to a single topic.
Instead of just scrolling, these menu
systems provide a quick outline of what’s on the page and one-click or tap
access to individual sections. It’s user experience at its finest.
Using Tabs – WordPress Tab Example
While tabs and submenus in WordPress often look similar, they function differently. A great example of a tab menu is UrtheCast. Under the header, the Commodities Trading & Logistics we neatly organized page content into individual tabs.
Each tab you click switches to a sub-section of the page. All categories are easy to see and it’s not difficult to navigate at all.
The Benefits of Using Module Tabs in WordPress
Tabs allow all the content on a
single page to load immediately. The user doesn’t have to click to a new page
to view a new sub-category of the main topic. Reducing loading times without
clutter always improves the user experience.
Users get to interact with the
page itself. Instead of just scrolling through, they have to manually interact
to go from section to section. This engages them and helps them reach just the
sections that are most relevant to them.
They improve the overall visual
appeal of a site.
Tabs are intuitive. Users don’t
have to guess about how to best navigate a page.
Dividing a page’s content into
tabs places less content on the page at a time. Content’s easier to absorb and
doesn’t require as much scrolling
Obviously, module tabs only work if you implement them correctly. As with any UX and UI elements, there are usability recommendations to make the most of them. UsabilityGeek lists 14 such recommendations, with some of the most important rules including:
Ensure the tabs look like tabs.
Don’t try to be too creative here.
Stick to a single row/set of
tabs. Double tab navigation is good, but multiple sets of tabs is just
Make it easy to see which tab
is active and always set a default active tab.
Keep tab labels simple and only
use a few words at most.
Ensure all tab content loads in
the background so the user doesn’t have to wait for the page to reload with
There is one downside to these tabs. They’re not always easy to implement on mobile, though we have had success. Screen real estate is limited and multiple rows of tabs take up too much space. A few tricks to get around mobile implementation problems include:
Limit the number of tabs. Make
it obvious to the user they need to scroll left/right to show more options on
Allow swiping to jump from one
tab to another.
Hide the tab menu when
scrolling down, only to reappear when scrolling up.
At first glance, submenus might look like tabs. The solution we built for BedRock Systems showcases exactly what makes submenus so different – all content is on a single page versus hidden behind individual tabs.
It’s important to note that these are
submenus with anchors to content on the page and not drop-down submenus.
Instead of navigating a large multi-page site, submenus with anchors are used
for either single-page sites or to organize content on a single page of a
When you click on any of the submenu options directly below the header image on BedRock’s site, you’re taken to a different section of the page. For instance, Resources takes you to the bottom of the page versus a different tab.
Much like module tabs, users still get the
benefit of the entire page being loaded from the start. However, there’s one
more noticeable benefit. Users don’t have to interact if they don’t want to. If
they want to read everything, they just keep scrolling. Each menu option is
anchored to a particular section of the content.
The submenu stays sticky near the top of
the page. It’s easy to find, intuitive, and still allows users to jump to just
the sections of content on a page that matter most to them.
Building Your Chosen System
WordPress allows you to implement both types of menus. One of the easiest ways is with Elementor Pro. It’s one of the leading theme builders in the industry. Gain full control over every part of your WordPress site design, including implementing module tabs and submenus with anchors.
While Elementor Pro works well for either menu system, JetTabs makes a great addition to Elementor Pro for building tabs. Instead of text-only tab widget editors, JetTabs allows you to build complete templates for your tabs, giving you even more control and flexibility.
Content organization is key to a site’s success. Contact us for assistance choosing the right organization menu option based on your audience.
The task of setting up the Salesforce Connector to Pardot can seem daunting. Before you begin, review our top 6 tips for Salesforce-Pardot connector success.
What to Know Before Connecting Salesforce and Pardot
Before You Begin…..
Always start with the Salesforce connector to Pardot in a paused state. Everyone says this, but it’s true. Check the box beside Marketing Data Sharing and review all of the settings before you unpause the connector. This will save you from sync errors, which can be a real hassle to correct down the line.
Pardot is not configured out of the box to deal with Person Accounts from Salesforce, and there is no setting to switch it on. Before you initiate the Salesforce Pardot connector set up, you must contact your Salesforce rep or Pardot support to configure Person Accounts.
Syncing with Person Accounts Only vs. Person Accounts & Leads
By default, Pardot will create Leads when syncing a new prospect to Salesforce. While Pardot was designed to automate lead generation and nurturing, it isn’t always necessary to use these aspects of Pardot. This is especially true for businesses who offer both B2C and B2B services. Once the option to use Person Accounts is available, you actually have two Person Account connector types to choose from: syncing with Person Accounts only, or syncing with Leads and Person Accounts.
If you don’t require Pardot to create Leads in Salesforce from new Prospects or vice versa (SFDC Leads to Pardot mail lists), then disabling the lead-creating connector behaviour is the best step for your business. However, if you do track leads in SFDC, enabling Person Account syncing with lead creation in Pardot is the choice for you. This means that once a Salesforce Lead becomes a Person Account, the new Person Account record can sync with both the Pardot Prospect record and the Prospect Account record. Thankfully, once the Salesforce connector to Pardot is enabled, any leads that are converted to Person Accounts in SFDC will automatically also be converted in Pardot. Just to sum up, when it comes to Person Accounts:
SFDC Leads = Pardot Prospects
SFDC Contacts = Pardot Prospects (once the Lead is converted)
SFDC Person Accounts = Pardot Accounts
Create and Map Custom Fields
Chances are you have some custom fields in Salesforce. Before enabling the connector, you will have to create these same custom fields in Pardot and then map them between the two services. This ensures that valuable information isn’t getting lost between Salesforce and Pardot.
To create and map a custom field:
Navigate to Admin on the left menu, hover over Configure Fields and select Account Fields.
Scroll down past the Default Fields to Custom Fields and click the Add Custom Field button.
I recommend selecting the salesforce.com Field Name from the drop menu first, and then give your new custom field the same name.
Select the Type. In the case pictured below, I used Text because it will be a person’s name, but you want to make sure it matches with the value found in Salesforce. An easy way to do this is to check the box beside “Use pre-defined values (for checkboxes, radio buttons, drop downs, and multi-selects)”.
Once you are ready, click the Create Custom Field button.
You can repeat the process with Prospect Fields, leaving Use Salesforce Value in the Sync Behaviour dropdown menu.
The Initial Sync Between Salesforce and Pardot
Before you turn on the sync between SFDC and Pardot, it is important to understand that once activated, all SFDC Lead, Contact, or Account records will not automatically just flow into Pardot. It doesn’t work that way, for better and for worse. On the upside, this means that you have a lot of control (see below) over what SFDC records will actually flow into Pardot and start syncing automatically between the two platforms. On the downside, it means that you will have to take some further deliberate action migrate existing SFDC records to Pardot and also setup the rules for which SFDC record types you would like to have automatically sync when created.
In order to start the sync between the two, you can do it one of three ways:
Manually – You can click the Send to Pardot button for every single Salesforce record. This is time consuming, particularly if you have a great deal of records. This is something you want to reserve for individual record updates down the road.
Enable the Salesforce connector option to automatically create Prospects from Leads and Contacts – This is a great option and will save quite a bit of time. The only catch is that it only works for new Leads and Contacts being created from that moment on, it will not migrate all existing Leads/Contacts/Person Accounts automatically.
Upload Prospect email addresses into Pardot prior to creating the Sync – This is the method I prefer, and I’ll explain why below.
Because the unique identifier in Pardot is an email address, it presents the opportunity to perform a bit of list hygiene before connecting Salesforce and Pardot. I highly recommend exporting your raw email list from Salesforce, or the marketing automation or email service you are migrating away from, and running it through an email validation and cleaning service like Neverbounce or ZeroBounce. Removing improperly formatted emails, bots and inactive accounts from your email list will help you start afresh in Pardot. This will hopefully improve your open rate once you are ready to start emailing from Pardot.
Once the initial sync is completed, however you choose to do so, Pardot and Salesforce will continue to sync every 2 minutes. As mentioned above, you can also perform a manual sync at any point once the initial sync has been performed.
Once you have the connector set up, you’ll want to move immediately to Pardot Automation Rules. They are incredibly useful, but especially when you are first connecting Salesforce and Pardot. My big Automation Rule tip is to create an automation that syncs Account data to Prospect data for the custom fields in Pardot once the connector is active. This ensures all of your custom field information appears the same on both the Account level and Prospect level.
In my example below, I have created a custom field that denotes if a Prospect is in an Engagement Studio Journey. To ensure this information appears at both the Account level and Prospect level, I have created an Automation Rule to sync the two.
Best practice is to make the rule name descriptive, which is why I have called the rule “Account to Prospect InJourney Custom Field Sync”. Rule names should be obvious and not ambiguous, so other administrators can easily understand the action the rule takes. You can also add a description for further details.
Because Prospects can be added to and taken off of journeys, I have checked the box beside “Repeat Rule”. This allows the rule to match Prospects more than once, and I have it set to run every day if necessary.
The next step is to create your rule and the action it takes. Because I only used one rule in this example, I selected Match All. For in depth information on whether you should choose Match All or Match Any, see this guide.
You can check the box beside “Execute in Real Time”, although the speed at which it executes will depend on the number Prospects and Accounts that will be affected by the rule. As the warning says, intensive real-time rules do cause slower load times; I once had a complex Rule Automation take seven days to run on a list of 40,000 Prospects.
I always recommend that you keep the trusty Salesforce-Pardot Connector Implementation Guide with you. Whether it is your first time connecting Salesforce and Pardot, or you have done it before. It helps to methodically go through the steps to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
I find most of the Salesforce Help documentation quite dry and not always helpful. It was when I dove into Trailhead to freshen up my skills that I found the true support gems. Trailhead is a guided learning path in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, with modules that help you learn or better understand many aspects of Salesforce programs.
What makes the modules that much better that the Help articles is the simple way in which they present the information. There are videos, screen capture images and easy to follow instructions, as well as examples of real situations in which features might be used. The modules are much more appealing than the Help articles, which makes the information easier to digest. And you earn badges, which makes the process more fun than not earning badges with the Help documentation.
Connecting Salesforce and Pardot isn’t too difficult when you prepare yourself before you jump in. Use the 6 tips above to give you an edge in the connector process. If you’re not feeling confident after reading the information above, contact us for assistance.
As you may have already discovered, marketing CBD products online can be a difficult task. Online advertising with CBD is heavily regulated, making it very difficult to maintain a constant presence in the market. When marketing CBD online, it’s best to focus on content marketing strategies to get traffic to your site.
4 Strategies for Marketing CBD Online
Create a Blog
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to get visitors to your site without paying for advertising. Creating and maintaining a blog allows you to consistently add new keywords to your ecommerce site, giving you a better chance of bringing in traffic from search engines. Adding frequent and relevant new content to your site will show search engines that you mean business, and will help you climb the page ranks.
Do make sure that your content is useful, accurate, and well written. Google does actually penalize sites for publishing poor quality material. And make sure to include a call-to-action that leads back to your product in every post.
Share on Social
Maintaining social media accounts for CBD ecommerce companies has proven tricky in the past. In early 2019, Facebook shut down the pages for several CBD and hemp companies, though it now states that this was a mistake. Why am I giving you the bad news first? Because the good news is that it is still possible to have a social account for your CBD ecomm business.
Rather than using your social accounts to flog your wares, I recommend using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to share the content you create for your blog. Instagram is excellent for sharing product shots and lifestyle images you want associatedd with your products. Take advantage of popular hashtags to get your articles and products out there, and to spread the word about your company.
Build a Relationship
Creating a sense of trust with the customer will keep them coming back for more. It also makes them more likely to tell a friend. Setting up a support portal with frequently asked questions and the ability to contact you or your team will go a long way towards helping you build this trust. So will a quick response time, so be sure to have someone dedicated to this task.
You may also want to consider doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit for your business. It’s a great opportunity to show off your knowledge and humanize your company, while marketing CBD at the same time.
Above all of this is the ease with which customers can navigate your website. If it isn’t easy to figure out at first glance, visitors will bounce. Make sure your navigation menu is clearly laid out along the top of the page and always visible.
For a visual example, have a look at the website of Our Remedies. Not only is the site structure clear from the first moment you view the page, they also use a sidebar with features like categories and price to make the navigation experience even easier on their product page.
These four tips should help you on your way to gaining traffic and growing your customer base without spending money to advertise. Fore more information on ecommerce and marketing CBD and hemp products, reach out to us for a free consultation.
RFDM Solutions does not endorse the sale of cannabis or any other narcotic, online or otherwise, where it is prohibited by law. The information contained in this article is purely for the use of legal businesses who are licensed by the relevant authorities.
The RFDM Team shares their knowledge of the pros and cons of Shopify vs WooCommerce for online cannabis sales to help you decide which is the best fit for your business.* View our most recent WooCommerce CBD Website Design here.
Shopify has been booming since the legalization of marijuana in Canada. It is powering both government and private online cannabis retailers. In fact, the company saw 100 orders per minute across the country on October 17, 2018, the day pot became legal. As more and more cannabis retailers seek to take their business online, they are faced with the question of which Ecommerce platform to choose. Two of the biggest platforms are Shopify and WooCommerce. The main difference between the two lies in their ownership and out-of-the-box features. Shopify is a subscription-based complete Ecommerce website/store package, while WooCommerce is an open-sourced Ecommerce plugin designed for WordPress, an open-sourced website-creation software. When considering Shopify vs WooCommerce for online cannabis sales, there is not a right or wrong way to go necessarily since each have their pros and cons. However, your business goals and needs should draw you more to one platform than the other.
1. Quick time-to-launch. You don’t need a developer to get your business website going since Shopify provides you with web hosting and quick-start store themes and includes numerous out of the box features, such as coupon codes, inventory tracking, SEO, point of sale, an SSL certificate, and abandoned cart campaigns, just to name a few.
2. Offers a range of plans customized for start-up to enterprise-level businesses.
3. Based in Canada and therefore not subject to US federal law.
4. Legitimized by the Canadian government. Shopify is currently the Ecommerce platform of choice for British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Prince Edward Island for the government’s online cannabis sales.
1. While Shopify itself is currently cannabis-friendly, many of the payment gateways it provides are not (e.g., PayPal and Stripe). Cannabis-related transactions are labelled as “high risk,” especially in the US where recreational marijuana is still illegal in most states. Therefore, there are few options and some negatives involved for processing credit cards online for Shopify cannabis stores:
Transaction fees – Shopify takes up to 2.9% plus 30 cents per each credit card transaction unless you use “Shopify Payments” powered by Stripe, which currently won’t process any cannabis-related transactions.
You will mostly likely have to create redirects at checkout to cannabis-friendly payment processors, which may result in lower conversion rates.
You can integrate a custom option but this will require custom development.
2. Overall vulnerability:
You are subject to Shopify’s rules and regulations regarding products and payment providers as well as their subscription-based pricing, all of which could change at any point in time.
2. When comparing Shopify vs WooCommerce for online cannabis sales, WooCommerce features cannabis-specific WordPress plugins, such as ones that integrate proper information on your products such as aromas, flavours, effects, and THC and CBD amounts.
3. Faces similar challenges regarding payment gateways that will process cannabis transactions; however, there will be no credit card transaction fees collected outside of those charged by the payment gateways used. Additionally, some cannabis-friendly payment gateways offer WordPress plugins that don’t require a redirect for payment, likely increasing conversion rates and eliminating the need for custom development.
4. You will personally own the content you create on the platform.
1. Requires more initial web development after selecting a theme.
2. Requires paid plugins for many of the features that are included with Shopify. When comparing Shopify vs WooCommerce for online cannabis sales, the cost of using WooCommerce can rack up quickly when purchasing domain, hosting, plugins, and implementing features such as SEO, checkout enhancements, and extra payment gateways.
3. Must be on top of WordPress maintenance – updating version, themes, plugins, etc.
To sum up, for Ecommerce businesses that want to own their intellectual property and/or want the flexibility of a highly-customizable web design, we would recommend a WooCommerce/WordPress platform. For Ecommerce businesses that want a quicker start and don’t want to worry about purchasing hosting or involving web developers, Shopify’s platform is no doubt the way to go.
However, even deciding if you will pick Shopify vs WooCommerce for online cannabis sales may lead to a whole host of new challenges which require solutions. If you’re interested in either a Shopify or WooCommerce solution for your business, whether you need to start from scratch or just need some website touch-ups or back-end integrations, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
RFDM Solutions does not endorse the sale of cannabis or any other narcotic, online or otherwise, where it is prohibited by law. The information contained in this article is purely for the use of legal businesses who are licensed by the relevant authorities.
Functional Differences between Deluge in Zoho Creator and Zoho CRM.
Hello again, welcome back. Before I begin, I would like to start off with a clarification. In my previous article, I was examining Deluge as used in functions and workflows in Zoho CRM. Upon review, I realized that recursion is entirely possible within Deluge in Zoho Creator, just not in Zoho CRM. This brings us to our second topic…
RFDM Managing Director Ryan Foster reviews three options for a Zoho CRM and GetResponse integration and discusses their pros and cons
A Zoho CRM and GetResponse integration is a way for small and medium businesses to get all the power of enterprise level CRM and marketing automation suites like Salesforce and Pardot at a fraction of the cost. There are a number of options for the Zoho CRM and GetResponse integration, depending on what your needs are. We did quite a bit of research and testing while solving this problem for a client. I’ve listed the options we tried below in terms of the lead workflow from the website to Zoho CRM to GetResponse, as well as the pros and cons of each option. If you have any questions about any of these options, we’re happy to share our experience and hopefully save you some time. Please fill out our contact form or phone us if you’d like to be in touch.
Ten Things I Hate about You – A Love Letter to Deluge
by David Bayly, Senior Developer at RFDM
Week 1: No Loops in Deluge
For many CRM projects, you will need to do custom scripting for customer use cases. Thankfully, Zoho has an inbuilt scripting language called Deluge. Deluge brands itself as “the programming language for non-programmers”, and this will become very evident once you’ve worked with it. In the following weeks, I’m going to cover 10 things I hate about Deluge, cases where I encountered them, and the solutions I came up with to deal with them. This week, we will focus on the Zoho developers and their bizarre decision not to include support for loops in Deluge.
RFDM Developer Cathleen Melendez shares her perspective on the many challenges of integrating your Shopify store with Zoho Inventory
Shopify is a clean, straightforward Ecommerce software that thousands of businesses utilize to grow and manage their sales. Zoho Inventory is a great addition to a company operating through Shopify for better stock control, order fulfillment, and inventory management. Fortunately, these two tools can be integrated to make your business even more powerful and productive. The Shopify Zoho Inventory integration is an awesome tool when configured properly. Avoid complications by setting up the integration correctly, and you’ll have an easy-to-use, efficient system of managing your Shopify store’s inventory as well as processing orders. Here are 9 things to keep in mind when setting up your Shopify store sync with Zoho Inventory to ensure a smooth setup: