The Contactually Blog

The best blog for relationship-based businesses.


Lack of context means lack of results

I’m a firm believer in authentic interactions with other people. Even though you may have hundreds or thousands of clients, they’re all unique, weird little human beings like you, and respecting that individuality is one of the most important parts of having productive exchange with any of them. If you talk to someone without context — or with the wrong context — not only are you unlikely to have a positive interaction, but you run the risk of actually doing damage to the relationship.

Many, many people and businesses struggle with this. I’ll never forget driving home in rush hour traffic one day about ten years ago, and seeing one of those ad-trucks, for the first time in my life, sitting in the lane next to me. Here we were, jammed onto the freeway on a hot, August evening, and a vehicle with absolutely no reason to be out there was just driving around, pestering me with advertising and making my commute even worse. The business on the truck that day was a local car repair place, and all these years later, I still associate them with frustration.

The shop wasn’t TRYING to make that association, of course. I’m pretty sure they didn’t ask for the ad-truck guy to drive around during the MOST annoying time for other drivers, and make sure their message was shared, loudly and clearly, when it was the least helpful to anyone. They just wanted to get the word out, but by doing it without proper context, they did more harm than good.

So much marketing and promotional work is conducted this way, and it’s terribly damaging. If you’ve watched ad-supported programming online, whether it’s a sporting event, or a show on something like Hulu, you’ll often see the same ad, again and again and again, until it becomes annoying and easily resented, regardless of how well put-together it is. Customers don’t mind getting prepared messages, but if they get them out of context, you’re talking AT them, and not to them. It never ends well.

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Calendars and Contacts, Together at Last

Emails and calendars; the apple pie and baseball of the business professional. Since we couldn’t revolutionize the way you handle one without including the other, we’re happy to announce that you can now connect your Google Calendar or iCalendar event and meeting data to Contactually.

Why should you care? How will this change your life? If you’ve got 75 seconds and don’t feel like reading, I’ll show you.

Don’t have that kind of time? Fair enough. Here’s the skinny :

  • Want to see your meetings for the day on the Contactually dashboard? Connect your calendar.
  • Want to have calendar events with a summary of today’s recommended follow-ups? Connect your calendar.
  • Want to see previous meetings in the interaction history section of contact profiles? Connect… that… calendar.

And if you don’t want one of these features, fear not — you can pick and choose which ones you activate from the Settings menu.

It’s easy, and it only takes a second, so try it out with your calendar today. And as always… let me know what you think.

 

 

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How to Sort Your Contacts

Contactually is very smart. One of the reasons I was initially drawn to it is that like a lot of useful, modern web services, it doesn’t just sit there and wait for you to make it useful. Instead, Contactually is often one-step ahead, prompting you to do specific things that help you get more value out of the system, and by extension, your network of contacts.

The first thing you have to do to get any value out of this intelligence, though, is properly organize your contacts into our famous “buckets”. The trick, as explained to me by Nick (I was lucky enough to get the in-person version, but you can get it yourself via this video), is to remember that buckets aren’t just labels; they should reflect how you want to interact with the people in them.

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Follow-ups for every problem


Posted By on Apr 11, 2014 | 0 comments

People drift apart. It happens, and while it’s a normal part of life, there are plenty of people we wish we’d stayed closer to over the years. In fact, there are even other people who we wished had stayed closer to their personal network of friends and acquaintances. When will that band get back together? Why won’t my TV show have that reunion episode? HOW HAVE THEY ALLOWED THINGS TO DETERIORATE SO BADLY???

Never fear, Contactually is here. And today, it’s not just here to fix your relationship management problems. It’s here to fix… literally anyone’s. To the Google!

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Hooooo boy — this is going to be a process. Fortunately, Pipelines aren’t just for sales; they’re totally customizable and a great way to track every part of your re-courtship, from the initial Facebook-post liking, to your glorious vindication. Plus, in the event you’ll be trying to get MULTIPLE people back (by the way, you may have some personal issues to resolve that are outside the scope of this post), Pipelines can help you keep everything straight, so you don’t embarrass yourself any more than necessary.

(Also, if this is really going be PERMANENT, follow-ups are going to be a must. Maybe even a Program.)

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Before I joined Contactually, I spent a few months doing freelance and consulting work. For the last five or six years, I had been working inside different organizations, and the appeal of freelance work for creative types is pretty obvious — lots of new challenges, the chance to work at your own pace, and the tempting possibility of getting paid for the quality of work instead of your ability to comply with rules and regulations.

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Have you ever run into one of those debates that you never even really knew was a debate? Then, you find out that all your new neighbors call soda “pop”, and all of a sudden you don’t know who you can really trust anymore?

How you interact with your email is definitely one of these arguments. When people who use nothing but webmail find out that I use a dedicated email application like Outlook or Mail.app, they don’t usually get upset, or make jokes at my expense. They’re just generally flabbergasted, as if I had just told them I preferred walking backwards on the treadmill or something. To webmail-only workers, dealing with an email client is just an additional layer of work that provides no real benefits. But to those of us who are used to our dedicated client apps, webmail often feels like “mail-lite”, with restrictions we can’t accept.

So is one method REALLY better than the other? Or is it just a Coke/Pepsi matter of personal preference? And which one works better with Contactually? Let’s break it down the issues for each.

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You’ve got questions, I have the willingness to determine answers.

First of all, some introductions are in order. I’m Nate Sullivan, the new Director of Content Strategy here at Contactually, and from now on, I’ll be your companion during the wild ride that is this blog, as well as Contactually.com itself, and probably a few other things. Never fear, though — you’ll still be hearing plenty from the likes of Ouzy, Brian, Alexandra, and the rest of the gang. It’s just that from now on, you’re going to get a whole lot of me added to that mix as well.

Now… what is it that I plan to do here, exactly? Well, for starters, I’d like you to think of me as your own personal research assistant. I’ve been around the block a few times (figuratively and literally — I got on the wrong bus this morning), and if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s solving people’s information problems. I’ve written instruction manuals, set up CRMs, and helped design whole products from scratch. And now, I can do that for you, right here. You don’t even have to pay me!

So while I already have a few good topics for the Contactually audience in mind, that’s my standing offer to you. You want me to try different products? Solve hypotheticals? Recommend apps? Improve your golf handicap? Assuage your deepest fears? Teach my cat to use the person-bathroom? I’m here for you, with fast internet and a long train ride to ponder your biggest challenges. Whether you’re relatively new to Contactually (like me!), or a grizzled veteran waiting for your pet feature request to be implemented, let me know what’s on your mind, and I’ll do my best to figure it out.

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Hey there! I hope you’re having a great week so far. I just wanted to drop in and tell you about some of the great updates happening at Contactually. If you remember, the last time we decided to number an update was during our big release in features last April on to which we slapped the 2.0 monicker. Today, we’re announcing the next update, and it’s so big that we had to leapfrog 3.0 and 4.0. However, it’s not quite a big enough jump past 4.0 to warrant a 5.0. Nor is it big enough to claim 4.1.15 (maybe next year). So we decided to appropriately go with version 4.1.14.

Anyway, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in, shall we? For starters, we thought a lot about what our product stands for and realized that it’s all about building personal relationships that essentially feel tactile. It turns out, you can’t feel things that are on your computer. So we decided to take our product out of the digital space and into the physical one.

If you’re anything like me, we receive a ton of business cards, and it’s a mess. Don’t let your business card contacts fall through the sidewalk cracks or between seat cushions.

So many business cards.

So many business cards.

The solution? An easy 4-step process.

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