Since we introduced our email templates feature last year, countless Contactually users have implemented this critical feature to supercharge their messaging and networking ROI. We surveyed some of users who have invested a lot of time and energy into developing their templates to figure out exactly how they use them in order to get the best results. Read on for some great best practices and advice!
Remco Tuinman of Emineo Business Consulting:
“Email templates really help me quickly get in touch with the many people in my network. It helps me to get in touch more easily since I, more or less, have to think about reconnecting and what to say/write just once. I often change the mail after template application a bit to make it personal to the recipient, but the text frame is already there. Figuring out which templates to use takes some practice, so I’d recommend starting with a simple one and building on it once you’ve started to gather what works and what doesn’t.”
Part 1: Contactually recommended that I make an introduction
Did you know that Contactually will actually suggest people in your network who you can introduce to one another? You may initially struggle with the concept of sending unsolicited introductions at first. This is quite normal, and is the reason why we offer the ‘Skip’ button. However, our goal is to get you to use that button less and less. Let’s talk about how we can get there. It might be easier than you think.
Overcoming your resistance
Let’s face it: a big reason why you’re hesitant is simply because you are uncertain of your recipient’s response and the impact it will have on your relationship. Even more concerning is what the person might think about you. This is often a fear-based challenge and unfortunately, this increases with how important that person is to your network or objectives. We experience these uncertainties for a few key reasons:
- We don’t want to come across as spammy, sleazy or sales-y.
- We don’t want to deliver an unexpected or unwelcomed surprise to the important people in our network.
- We want to avoid creating unwanted work for a person, who might feel obligated to act on an introduction that he or she doesn’t perceive as valuable.
- We do not want to waste people’s time.
- Above all, we do not want our introductions to have an adverse effect on our relationship.
As a result, we might react uncomfortably to some of Contactually’s suggestions. The question is, are there ways we can change that? We think so, and here’s how.
According to this great interview, there is a direct correlation between using Contactually and being able to purchase a beautiful home in the Hamptons*!
I recently had the opportunity to host a Google Hangout On Air with Dawn Doherty, one of my good friends and business partners. Dawn is an amazing business coach that helps real estate agents, coaches and small businesses get more clients. She’s one of THREE Book Yourself Solid Elite Certified Coaches (congratulations again, Dawn!), and has found that Contactually is the perfect tool to make sure that she regularly says the right things to the right people at the right time. As a result, her business has grown astronomically, and she is indeed booked solid! Check out our Hangout below!
One of Contactually’s power users, Lawrence Watkins
, wrote a guest blog post for us about the killer follow-up system he’s created using Contactually. Check it out below, and see if you can implement some of his tips into your own follow-up system!
In 2007, I started my company, Great Black Speakers. We help organizations find African American speakers
for their events. About a year ago, I created a SaaS piece of my company where our speakers pay a subscription fee to have access to our audience and tools to help grow their brands. Through search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and publicity efforts, the notoriety of my company has soared over that time period.
Although Great Black Speakers was generating a lot of interest and new leads, they weren’t converting into the type of sales that I wanted. The core problem stemmed from a deficiency in my sales follow-up system
. Because so many leads were coming into the system, it became increasingly difficult to make initial contact and follow up with them on a consistent basis. Consistent follow up is one of the most important factors to turn leads into customers, therefore it is wise for individuals to generate a great follow-up strategy. Here is my step by step strategy that I implemented for Great Black Speakers, and as you’ll see Contactually is a core tool in the system.
Step 1: Collect Leads Using a Wufoo Form
When developing your sales system, it is important to have an effective way to capture the necessary information for leads coming to your website. We use an Unbounce landing page with a link to a Wufoo form that collects the appropriate information from the lead. To make this example easier, I created a person named Michael White who is a professional speaker wanting to list with GBS.
Step 2: Create a Email Filter in Gmail
I get a wide variety of emails that come from multiple sources talking about dozens of different issues. One of the hardest things was just finding all of the emails that I actually needed to follow up with. Gmail’s label feature has made it easy to keep track of all of the sales related leads. Any email coming from Wufoo with a certain phrase like “Interested in becoming a GBS speaker” or “Request a Phone Call” gets automatically labeled in my “Contact Us” folder. Now I have all of the people who have contacted us in a single place. Here are Gmail’s instructions on creating filters.
Depending on how sophisticated that you want to get, you can also automatically create a deal in your favorite CRM using Zapier. Contactually just launched a great deal feature within their system, but I use Highrise as that is the tool in which most of my team already uses. (Fortunately, Contactually has a nice Highrise integration to boot.) If you have multiple leads coming in, but you have a sales team to handle them for you, then the Wufoo to Highrise deals integration is a huge time saver.
Step 3: Respond Quickly and Bucket the Contact in Contactually
I’ve learned that initial response time is one of the determining indicators on whether or not we close a particular sale. Therefore, I try to call a lead back within an hour of them completing a contact form on our website or giving us a call. It gives me a chance to pitch our offerings while they are still excited about our product and exceed the potential customer’s expectations. No matter if I am able to connect with the lead by phone, I always send out an email to them to follow up and bucket the contact in Contactually. Its Chrome plugin has been a life saver and makes it extremely easy to bucket contacts for future use.
Step 4: Create Email Templates in Contactually to Keep Up With the Sales Process
The last step in the process is where Contactually excels above and beyond any other sales product. Contactually makes it super easy for me to follow up with contacts
at every stage of the sales pipeline. Specifically, it allows me to follow up with leads using templated emails
as a direct reply from emails previously sent. Using my “potential speakers” bucket, Contactually sends me reminders to follow up with those contacts every 7 days. With 2 clicks of my mouse, a follow up email is sent to the potential GBS speaker.
A great new feature that Contactually recently added is the ability to schedule emails for future release as well. Therefore, I can send two follow up emails
with individuals at the same time with one going out today and the latter scheduled for next week.
As an end result, the conversion rate of sales have skyrocketed over the last three months for Great Black Speakers. The great thing about the system listed above is that it can easily scale as you add more people to your sales force. This is the system that has worked for me, but I’m sure it is not perfect. I would love to hear your thoughts on improving it for more effectiveness.
As Contactually is inherently a busy inbox’s match made in heaven, we’ve attracted some of the most seasoned and active emailers out on the World Wide Web. When you couple our power email users with our fervent passion for statistics and data, there was only one thing to do in our minds: create an awesome interactive infographic showcasing our top users’ email habits.
Now, for this, we polled 100 of top users, so it’s a relatively small sample size compared to our extensive statistics check-in from a few weeks ago which looked at our entire user base. There are a few key differences in the way people email when we extrapolate the people we polled. It’s power users versus the general populace. The former set do most of their emailing on Monday, while the skew toward Monday isn’t as strong when considering our entire set of users.
Do your email habits fall in line with Contactually’s power users? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy the infographic!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Damien Viero, one of our users from Australia, who owns a web design firm called Above&Beyond. His insights about our product were so great that I couldn’t help but share them with you!
Contactually super-user Damien Viero
Brian: Who are you, and what do you do?
Damien: My name is Damien Viero and I’m the director of Above&Beyond Web Design, an award winning web design agency based on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. We have over twelve years of experience building custom designed websites and specialize in shopping cart design, big commerce, WordPress websites, web hosting and domain names.
Brian: How did you manage your contacts and follow-ups before you started using Contactually? What were your biggest pain points?
Damien: When our company was smaller, we were simply putting in reminders via task managers. I think we were using Remember the Milk at some point; however, that quickly became cumbersome.
We then tried using Boomerang for Gmail to bounce back an email to our inbox after a set amount of time. This proved to be effective; however, when sales picked up and the number of leads increased, our inboxes were flooded with old emails and it became a mess.
Next, we migrated to a full blown CRM and although that was great at storing loads of information, the follow-up function lacked simplicity and ease of use. A great amount of time was spent entering in all of the data and creating the follow-ups, which was quite frustrating for our team. Once we discovered Contactually, we stopped using any other programs altogether.
Brian: What kinds of goals has Contactually helped you achieve, and how has it done so?
Damien: Contactually has greatly increased my confidence in our sales and follow-up process. I know that leads will not fall through the cracks and this has obviously allowed us to acquire more clients.
In addition to gaining new clients, Contactually has assisted in building stronger relationships with our existing clients. I have created a bucket for “Current Projects” to remind my team to continually communicate with current clients. Often times, we are waiting on images or content from the client and now we have a reminder system to ensure our project timeline is consistent. My clients have noticed that our productivity has increased and projects are now completed at a faster rate due to the ability to keep in touch with all our pending and current customers.
Brian: Which features do you like the best?
Damien: For our business size, a full CRM is often bloated and we don’t require all the bells and whistles attached to such a system. Contactually integrates with our Google Apps-based emails so all we need to do is place someone in a bucket when we email them and we then get a reminder to follow up a few days later. The simplicity of it all is what made us move away from our old CRM and use Contactually completely. It integrates well with our business process and like any successful piece of software, it just works!
I login to the Dashboard at least once a day and love how I can see an overview of my follow-up progress. The way Contactually has set it out with a goal centric layout is fabulous. It has a fun ‘game-like’ feel to it and encourages our team to keep communicating with clients to reach the end goal. When I have a moment of spare time, I play the Bucket Game, which has been a great way to make the boring process of sorting old contacts quite fun.
I also like being able to create buckets not about sales or jobs but just for general contacts like family, friends, co-workers and contractors. Splitting my contacts into these categories lets me focus on a set group and export a group into a mailing list. Organization is imperative in any business and the layout and features that Contactually provides has greatly improved our ability to organize contacts.
Brian: Have there been any big “ah ha” moments or revelations that came as a result of using Contactually?
Damien: With other contact management systems, it was more likely that either potential clients or current clients could be lost or ‘forgotten’. However, I now feel confident that this will not happen.
Contactually is not only simple but a great time-saving system. I no longer have to manually enter all the contact details by hand. I have even said, “So this is what it feels like to have some spare time!”
Brian: Do you have any specific examples of new sources of business that you’ve gained as a result of using Contactually?
Damien: When I first set Contactually up, I didn’t have any contacts bucketed, so I had the opportunity to sort through all of my old contacts with a fine-tooth comb. As I was bucketing them, I realized there were some old clients that had fallen through the cracks and needed to be contacted. It had been over four months since we had last spoken to some clients and Contactually put me back in touch with them. After contacting those clients, we gave them their job quotes again and acquired three new websites, which wouldn’t have happened without Contactually!
After categorizing our contacts and assessing the project histories, we sent out a newsletter to all of our current clients, which generated even more sales through website updates.