Archive for January 2009
In the process of helping clients, I often stumble on cool new things or tips. It is nearly impossible to learn everything about an application or device. I find it’s when I’m helping others that I learn the most.
So, this week, here’s some goodies I came across that I will share with all. They are in no particular order – just how I am finding them in my brain’s backup repository, dark dusty place that it is.
First tip. My contact manager of choice, ACT, works with Outlook. Ok, cool. So, in Outlook, ACT becomes another address book. Now, imagine you have a Global Access List (often called a GAL) if you are on an Exchange server, plus any local address books and now an ACT address book to boot. How do you tell Outlook which one to search first. Ah, that’s the tip here. This tip may be different depending on your version of Outlook, but I think the core stuff all is the same. Click on Tools – Address Book. Easy enough. Now, in that dialog box click on the Tools menu within the Address book. Don’t think I’ve ever clicked on that menu item. That’s the secret (or not so secret) place where you can choose which list to show first and in what order. Nifty cool indeed.
Second tip. Ever send something to the printer and have it print backwards – like looking at a document in a mirror? Well, it turns out that there is a setting called Mirror Image on a lot of printers and it can get set somehow by other print jobs. When you go to print the document having issues, click on Properties or Options or whatever points you at the Landscape/Portrait section. The Mirror Image is there. Who knew…
Third tip. If you read this blog, you know we work with the ACT contact manager program. A cool ACT is that in version 2009, you can type an email address in Notes or Histories and it becomes “hot” meaning you click on it and it opens an email box. This even works on the detail section of an Opportunity. That one rates a star.
Last but not least the forth tip is another ACT tip that can be used in other applications as well. First off, let’s set the stage. HTTP://, FTP://, Mailto://and FILE:// are URI’s (Uniform Resource Identifier). We all should know what they do. One opens a web page, one connects to an FTP site, one sends an email and one opens a file on your computer. With me so far? Well, another URI is CALLTO://. This is the nifty one. It will start up whatever program is set on your computer for voice calls over the Internet – say like Skype. You can find what your computer is set to use on Internet Explorer in the Tools – Internet options section under programs. Look for Internet Calling and see what shows up. If you have Skype you can either choose it or Netmeeting which comes with Windows. I believe if you have something like Vonage, it shows up as well, but don’t hold me to that. Now, what’s the ACT tip. In ACT, you can create a field and set it to be a URL field. That means when you type in an address, it turns it click-able (also meaning hyperlink) and you can then initiate a voice call from that field. Taking that a bit farther – in the field you would type callto://+12223334444 or whatever the number is. I think you get the idea. If you have another application of any sort, say like a Word document, that allows you to put in hyperlinks, you can put in a link that will trigger a voice call. Think of the ways you can utilize that neat idea. Just start a paragraph saying something along the lines of “Do you have Skype? Want to call us today? Click here.” Presto. Instant marketing. This one rates two stars. And a smiley – 8-).
That’s all folks. Have a good weekend.
Boy, times are tough. Companies are hurting and I’ve been working with a lot of clients recently who are looking for creative ways to find new or keep existing clients. These clients all have customer databases and are trying to figure out ways to mine the data and go after any low hanging fruit. They tell me “the phones aren’t ringing” and they need to find ways to make that happen. In the process of helping people run reports and figure out who to contact, we’ve learned a few things about what to do with the names on the reports. That usually ends up being a logical next question – “have you run across any cool marketing ideas.” We hear it all the time.
Gee, you know, the same applies to us as well. Our phones are ringing less as well. So, I’ve spent the week compiling some tips and techniques that I’ve gleaned over the years so that we can do them within our own business. I think I’m then going to go out on a limb and create an eBook that compiles it all into one nice document. It’s turning into a pretty nice document. Now I’m debating whether I’ll sell it or give it away as a “here kitty kitty” link on my website. That, by the way, is one of the techniques you can use to draw people to your company website. Send out an email offering a free download of a document that will help your client in some manner. While they are on your site, the idea is to have them poke around and see what else you might have to offer.
Regarding sending out emails, it’s getting tougher to reach out to new and current clients. Spam rules make emailing a nightmare. “Do not call” options make it equally difficult to make phone calls. Knocking on doors or sending out real paper mail are coming back in vogue. Something to try is sending out postcards with updates about your business and suggestions that people visit a website to learn more about special offering or to download a free document like I suggested earlier.
Speaking of paper mailings, another approach is to keep track of what Jim Cecil (nuturemarketing.com) calls Pain and Passion. Pain is what keeps someone up at night. Passion is what gets them up at 6:00 AM. Once you have kept track of them in your CRM tool of choice, you then do a lookup of a particular topic, find a great article about that topic, and then send it out in paper form. Attach a note that says “remembered you were interested in ….. and thought of you.” ‘For example, if you deal with people or organizations in the medical profession, they may be interested in articles on HIPA regulations. They don’t need to know you sent it out to 50 people. However, they will hopefully appreciate the fact that you sent the article and also the fact that you knew they were intersted enough to track that.
They say it takes 7 to 8 “touches” to bring in a new client. Well, you also need to reach out and touch your existing clients as well. Sending out articles is one of those touches. Remember, usually it’s easier to try to get business from an existing client than it is to go find new ones. And in this economy, even more so.
Continuing down the paper mailing trail, one of the things I suggest is sending out lumpy mail. There’s even a website that talks about this – www.lumpymail.com. Research has found that people will open mail if it feels like there is something inside. If they think it’s a check, they’ll open it first. That’s why I am not fond of the groups that send out advertising that looks like an IRS check. That’s just plain nasty. But, when you send out something cute, that ties into a slogan or marketing campaign, you’re just doing something to make the client open the mail. I’ve sent out little cocktail monkeys (you know the ones – they hang off the side of a coctail glass). The inside says something along the line of “are you looking for ways to get the Administration monkey off your back?” The card inside then suggests you visit our website looking for ways to do just that. Works pretty well. Hm, may need to do that again.
So, drill down into your contacts, find the ones you haven’t “touched” in 6 months and send them an article, or a postcard or a really cool lumpy envelope. Oh, and when they respond, record what it was that got them to call you or email you back. That way you can keep track of what worked and what didn’t.
Ok, yes, I know I’m tardy again in posting to the blog. We’re busy, ergo my tardiness. That’s goodness I know. But keeping track of emails, of which I receive over 50 an hour – yes, 50 – keeping track of updates to my CRM software, answering phones, meeting clients, and then, on a whim, taking time to sleep takes up my day. Oh, and I forgot Instant Messages and reading online blogs and newsgroups. Sigh. So, the last thing I need is one more thing to do. Enter the topic of today’s blog. Twitter.
Yesterday, I attended a great session put on Julie Bestry, one of the members in my Women Business Owners group. She’s a Twitter-holic by choice and a professional organizer by necessity and to pay the bills. She’s very focused and goes to great lengths to make sure she is frugal with her time. So, it surprised me that she became so addicted to Twitter. The purpose of her presentation was to enlighten the rest of us on how to use the tool and the benefits. If you are on Twitter, her Twitter name is ProfOrganizer.
It is becoming more and more apparent that we live in a virtual world. Social networking is now an important part of our daily business and personal lives. Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instant Messaging, Texting on our phones, all are evidence of this growing phenomena. We won’t go into Second Life because that simply blows my mind.
As I watched Julie go through her demo I was at first stressed out by the fact this would become a “yet another thing to do” task to add to my already stressed out and busy day. And indeed it will. But I started to realize the value when she told us of how it had helped her in her life and her business.
The concept is simple. You get a Twitter id. You find people with whom you wish to “twitter”. You add them to your trusted network similar to LinkedIn and Facebook. You then post items to either your trusted network or to the entire Twitter world. In the Twitter nomenclature, these are called “tweets.” You are limited to 140 characters with the idea these short snippets are quick and easy to read. Well, sort of until you are realize there are thousands of tweets every 5 seconds. Ouch. Oops, stressed feeling coming on again. I can’t imagine reading through all the tweets out in the cyberspace but people do just that.
Julie continued on with her explanation of how this had helped her. She sent out a tweet about some organization tips. This then was forwarded on to someone else and it ended up being read by someone at a large plastic products company. They liked what they had read and called Julie for an interview. This is goodness for Julie is her business. The message here is it’s all about networking. Instead of spreading the word at a Chamber or BNI meeting, you spread it electronically via tweets.
To keep your life sane, you can choose to only tweet with a trusted network. That’s I believe what most people do. You can even tweet from your cell phone. Bloggers (yet another way of sharing information as I am doing here) use tweets to update their blogs automatically. Now that’s kind of nifty.
So, I guess what I am grappling with here today is “to twitter or not to twitter.” I’m going to give it a try. Maybe I’ll find 140 character snippetts easier to manage that daily updates to my blog. I’ll keep you posted.
Bye for now and Happy New Year.