Most marketers will tell you your company is only as good as its Email List. How do you manage your contact list and customer relationships in the most efficient manner if you have a small business?
There are a number of Autoresponder Companies which allow you to put an email opt-in box on your blog or web-site. Some even have build in templates for these forms. How they work is often confusing, and I have to admit to being one of the more confused people at this time.
Autoresponder Service for EMail Marketing
My client is a small business with virtually no list. They will be entering names into a database from an iPad in the field. Because of the spam potential, Autoresponder companies will not allow the random addition of emails into a companies list. To add your current database to an Email Autoresponder program, such as, AWeber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, or GetResponse, it is advised that you first must send a email to your prospective list asking them to opt-in, or choose to be on your email list. I use Get Response for the email subscription feature on this blog. It was well-priced, and the forms were easy enough to set up an install on my pages.
So what is the best way to create that list for your Sales and Marketing Team? The best suggestion I have found is using a Customer Relationship Management software to maintain the information on your current and future clients. There are several companies that provide this kind of service, although the depth of analysis and pricing will vary. Salesforce is a leader in this segment of the field. The full version of their software can be complex to manage and quite costly for a start-up company. They do offer a $5 monthly contact management system that will integrate with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and more.
Customer Relationship Management Software
When some one company dominates a field and makes a name in it there will always be others who follow along, offering lesser services at lower prices. So it is with Salesforce. They have many features that aren’t really necessary for small businesses. Enter the competition.
In my search for a good, easy-to-use, contact manager that can be accessed from an iPad, I have found a couple that seem to fit the bill. The first was recommended by an advertising and branding agency owner.
KarmaCRM.com. Since this company is in start-up mode itself, I felt it might understand the needs of a small company. I was not disappointed. The contact manager was easy to access. Information can be entered on-the-fly in the field, or easily delegated to someone with some typing skill. The price was right. Currently there is no fee for any of the account levels, although this will likely change soon. There is a Free Level, which is limited to only one user and 300 contact files. You can upgrade to more functionality at any time. The pricing structure they are advertising for the future ranges from $9-139 per month. I chose this one even though they do not have an iPhone app at this time. My clients sales management team will be using iPads, which can access the Karma web site over the internet directly. It integrates with Mail Chimp autoresponder and FreshBooks accounting software.
Another solution my mastermind group suggested was Zoho.com. This company has service starting at $12 per month, and has built-in solutions for accounting, inventory, email, and others. It also has the capability of customization. So this might work well in the future. For now all I need is something busy salespeople can use to enter information quickly.
Are you using a program for your email list building or your customer contact management? I’d welcome hearing about other possibilities in this arena.