No matter how much advertising, direct mail, networking, social media, search engine optimization, or email marketing you do, it will never be as successful as you would like without directly contacting your customers.
Marketing can create interest, expose a need or even generate demand. It can help you create buzz, hype and awareness. However, people prefer to buy from people – especially if it’s a big ticket item. You may make a few sales, but without direct one-on-one contact, most people won’t follow through to the purchase.
So what does that personal follow through look like?
At the very least, it includes a phone call. At the very most, it means many phone calls and several face-to-face interactions.
Just like everything else, there is a system to it. In any business, having a database of leads, customers and referral partners is a necessity. These database programs are called Contact Relationship Management (CRMs).
But here is the catch; they only work if you use them appropriately. Creating tasks and managing the contacts is your responsibility. Following up on tasks and making the calls can drastically increase your sales and shorten the decision-making process for your customers.
Here are a few systems that i have used or my clients have found useful for keeping track of who to contact, when and in what way:
Price: Free for up to three users and limited features.
Overview: A simple system that allows you to move contacts from leads to clients. Create tasks and simple campaigns. There are premium levels that allow you to add
Price: Free for up to three users, 200MB of storage or 2,500 contacts
Overview: Another simple, straight-forward system for keeping contacts. This is specifically designed to use with Gmail, Google Contact and Google Calendar – but only for paid use. Integration with Mail Chimp is also available for email
Overview: This is the mother of all on-line CRMs and the most used. With the basic level of service there are some great features available at their lowest level including email integration with Outlook, Gmail and Google Apps, Mobile access, and Content library. Integrations with Constant Contact and iContact are available at premium levels as well.
Price: $201.99 one-time download.
Overview: This is the ORIGINAL contact managing software. ACT is very robust and best for hard-core marketers. Very customizable and very powerful. Integrates with most emails and allows you to create a custom experience from lead generation to sale and sale follow-up. Additional add-ons available for email marketing and mobile use. There is a large learning curve to ACT, however.
Overview: Another premium CRM that allows you to automate much of your on-line and email marketing as well as follow-up calls. The power of InfusionSoft is the ability to create multiple lines of marketing processes that sends predictable and customized emails based on how the lead/customer responds.
If you are not “Tech Savvy,” using a simple note-card system (like the OneCard System) can be just as effective. There are fewer bells and whistles, but it is inexpensive, simple to use and easy to set up.
Find out which is best for you and how to set it up: