Welcome to my official weekly round up post. In this episode / post / article, I’ll share some tools that I have used to keep in touch with my clients. Keeping in touch and following up is one of the most important things you can do when in business. You never want a solid lead to go stale or forget to follow up on someone that could really help your business.
Steli Efti wrote an amazing post on the power of a follow up (one day I’ll interview him for y’all on DeveloperToMillionaire.com). In face, following up is so powerful, about 90% of my own personal business based on my amazing repeat customers (you guys are the best). So let’s get into it…
This app is pretty amazing. Contactually syncs right up with your Google Apps account and imports all of your contacts. From there it allows you to create buckets. A bucket is a place to put your contact. This can be anything from “Follow up in 7 days” to “not important”. Check out some of the buckets I’ve made on my account:
When I create a bucket, I can set a time to follow up. So in my 30 day bucket, I’ll get a notification to follow up with my contacts who I’ve not spoken to in 30 days. You can see how amazingly powerful this can be.
In addition to the buckets, you can also create email templates. This way if you’re constantly writing the same thing over and over again, you can just create a template, and paste it in. They also have pre-made templates for you to use. One of them is an introduction template, where all you have to do is fill in the names.
These types of email templates are great because it cuts out a lot of the thinking. You literally just take the template, you can add, edit, or just leave it as is, and send it. Works like a charm!
For each contact you’ll also have your conversation history, so if you haven’t spoken in a while, you’ll have a list of your previous emails to refresh your memory.
Additionally, it acts like a CRM. Though I do believe that it’s power lies in the follow-ups, if you want to create a sales pipeline or take notes on a specific contact, that capability is available.
My Only Gripe
The only thing I don’t like about Contactually is it literally takes ALL of your gmail contacts. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had gmail for a very long time. So even people that I’ve had 1 email with, or a newsletter email, will be imported into Contactually. While this isn’t terrible, when you start to sort and go through your contacts, it can definitely get a bit overwhelming.
I think Contactually knew this and they made a cool little game for you to sort your contacts into buckets. The attempt is there, but if you don’t recognize the email address, it’s just another guess.
Entry price is $35 a month if you pay monthly, if you want $10 off your first month, you can use this link to sign up. I guess you can call it an affiliate link, but I don’t use the service and they don’t do affiliate payouts, just $10 bucks off my bill, but since I don’t have one, you’ll save $10.
This is what I’m currently using and I really like it. The design is really clean and incredibly usable. It’s simple interface makes it extremely intuitive once you sign up. This is a legit CRM with follow up built in. It syncs with your Google Apps, but instead of importing every single contact that ever emailed you, you have to manually import the contact.
At first I was turned off by having to manually enter the lead I wanted to follow up with, but after using it for a little while, it makes organizing so much easier. Once you import a client, it finds all the emails you ever had, and then imports them in chronological order. From the interface you can then write notes, email, or even call if you have the phone number.
They have a section for opportunities where you can keep track of potential projects. You can label your leads as customers, potentials, etc. Everything is completely customizable to whatever your business terminology is.
Close.io is both a web app and a desktop app. I haven’t tried the desktop version since I’m always on the go and have multiple computers but the web app works perfectly for what you need it for.
The Amazing Follow-Up Part
Close.io has a little reminder checkbox with every email that you send that says “Send a follow up in…” and then you can pick 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, etc. It’s so awesome because you can just click that check box, forget everything, then in 2 weeks, get a reminder that you have to reach out to your lead.
Another addition, which is really what sold me on the software, is the integration of drip emails. Drip Emails is an app that was specifically created to work with Close.io. It allows you to set a series of email templates, then set up a drip sequence for you clients.
For example, you can have a 3 month follow-up sequence, with an email going out every week then 2 weeks. Set the sequence up in Drip Emails. Then when you go to a contact in Close.io, pick the sequence and save it. Now, it’ll just run without you doing a damn thing. Once they email you back, the sequence will stop. You can literally follow up with someone for a year without doing anything but putting them in a sequence. This keeps you in their mind and as soon as they responds, you’ll be ready to have the conversation you’ve been wanting!
Once I heard that and installed it, I was sold. Though I’m not fully automating my follow-ups because my relationships usually involve something unique, the possibility of just keeping in touch with someone using this method is mind blowing.
It seems to me like Close.io was really pushing the telephone aspect. Being a webpreneur, I’m not really on the phone as often as I’m on emails, so the whole phone thing didn’t really appeal to me all that much. I like that it’s there, but it was something that I just didn’t care about. It also starts to get a little pricey. The introduction price is $65/mo. I think that’s on the high end for a solopreneur. Maybe if you’re running a huge sales team, it would be worth it, but that’s $65 per user, so it can get really expensive really quick.
I also thing that since they’re focussing on the phone stuff, they should’ve included the bulk email sending into the basic package. Then the upgrade could have been the call tracking, phone number, etc. It just sucks to constantly be using email, then in order to bulk email I have to pay twice as much when I don’t use any of the phone stuff. Hopefully they read this and that will change because being able to bulk email a subset of my clients/potentials would be ideal.
Other then those two things, Close.io is the ideal way to keep in touch with my clients and leads.
I’ve done research and really couldn’t find anything that works quite as nice as these two. One thing I did find though that’s pretty awesome is called rebump. It integrates with you’re gmail and other email programs. When you write an email to someone and you want to make sure they get it, you check off this little box “Rebump”. It then automatically sends up to 4 follow-up emails without you doing a thing. You can customize the emails it sends to say whatever you want. It’s pretty sweet.
I used it to collect on an invoice and it worked really well. I sent one email, clicked rebump, then every week another email was sent without me doing anything.
One thing I would have liked to see would have been the ability to add more then 4 emails. If they don’t respond after 4 emails, then it just stops. I guess you don’t want to annoy the other person, but at the same time, you want to continue to reach-out until they give you a solid “I’m not interested”. I’ve followed up with potentials, only to have them become clients, or repeat customers after months of just checking in with them.
The power of follow-ups is incredible, and if you’re not doing it, you’re seriously missing out.
Do you have any other apps or software that you use to follow up with clients? Would love to hear about them in the comments.