Sunday, March 23, 2014

Seven Surprising Tips to Generate More Leads (Infographic)

Every marketing and sales person is always looking for ways to generate more leads.  Because of this we wanted to put together a quick guide at the intersection of marketing and sales.  We looked at how sales funnels, landing pages, and lead management need to come together to make a sale. Here's your weekend infographic that reveals seven surprising tips to help you generate more leads.  

Seven Surprising Tips to Generate More Leads

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ten Days to a Thousand Twitter Followers

Twitter is a great way to reach an audience.  However, it’s really hard to get to the first thousand people – the point where your content can drive organic growth.  So, I spent a couple weeks learning the ropes on Twitter and in just ten days I built up over a thousand relevant followers.

Each day I’d spend less than an hour on twitter  - following the simple five step process laid out below.  At the end of this process we were able to drive over 300 visits from complete strangers to seed Contastic's initial user base.

1 – Build Your Profile
This is your elevator pitch.  In 160 characters you need to explain who you are (one sentence) and what you’re doing (one sentence).  Each should be packed with the most eye-catching details about yourself that will make someone want to follow you.  
2 –Follow Other's Followers
Following another user generates a notification for them and has a good chance of encouraging them to follow you back if it is relevant.  I identified a couple similar companies with significant followings and then would systemically follow 1-200 of their followers a day. Followers are ranked on Twitter chronologically, so each day you can through to see their new followers (at the top) and scroll down to find older ones.  I work top to bottom (newer followers are usually more engaged).

3 – Favorite Relevant Tweets

When you favorite someone’s tweet Twitter also sends them a notification.  This is another way to get on a user’s radar to generate a follow. TargetPattern is a great service that enables you to quickly favorite hundreds of tweets a day from relevant topics.  As a bonus their analytics are pretty good, so you can get a sense for which keywords drives the highest engagement.

4 – Make Friends
Since we’re on Twitter to engage real people with our product (just just get a big number of 'vanity followers') it’s important to respond quickly to everyone that contacts you.  I ended up sticking with the web interface since mobile/secondary providers/email were very unstable and ended up in tweets being lost most of the time.

5 – Content
As you develop a real following your content becomes more important.  The name of the game is to generate content that others will share.   At the end of the day that is how you can grow your account from one to ten thousand followers. 

Unless you’re already famous nobody cares about your opinion.  Focus on statistics, news or images. Generate value by curating or creating facts that your audience will find useful.  That’s what get’s widely shared (and grow your followers).  And even when posting as a company, follow the 9&1 rule – you need to tweet nine interesting general comments for each post about your company or product.

As you post be sure to strategically use @ and #.  @ will notify a user hat your tweet is about them – generating a higher chance of a share.  A # will go out to everyone following that topic – again generating more shares.   It’s especially important to focus on groups you belong to (Schools, Companies, Professional Organizations).  These groups are more likely to be supportive of you and share your content.

A Quick Note on Twitter Practicalities

While Twitter sends notifications to users for most system activities (follows, favorites, @mentions), the intent is not to allow people to spam the entire system constantly.  So, when putting the steps into practice err on the side of patience rather than volume.  While the technical limit is  1000 follows per day, consistently doing that will certainly get you banned.  The reason this took me 10 days (without getting banned) was that I did just a bit every day – manually and organically building relationships.  For more see:

Also, once you follow 2000 people you won’t be able to follow anymore.  Use JustUnfollow to cull the list of folks who haven’t followed you back after a couple days. 

Happy Tweeting!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How I Manage My Personal Network with Contastic

Every day people in your network have opportunities that are perfect for you.   To get access to those opportunities you need to be top of mind with your contact at the same time as the opportunity is.   Contastic provides an easy way to stay top of mind with your contacts in three ways:

Keeping Track
On a daily basis I use Contastic before and after every call.   It combines my mail, contact information, and notes all in one place.  The profile card gives me an at-a-glance view of the contact’s essential information.
And the top of the data pane shows our recent email conversations, interests, and my notes.  Notes are critical in quickly understanding what our last conversation was about.  As we chat I’ll add a couple lines to the notes for each conversation to make it easy to pick up where we left off. 
Building Relationships
On a weekly basis I try and spend some time nurturing new relationships .  If I’ve just met someone at an event or through an introduction I tag them with a ‘developing’ tag.  This creates a tab in Contastic that enables me to review my list of ‘developing’ contacts at any time. This ensures I can revisit them often to continue nurturing the fragile new relationship. 
Contacts can be tagged with multiple tags (a friend may also be a prospect).  And these tags are an easy way to manage your pipeline.  I’ll make sure to label prospects, leads, and customer accordingly.  This way I know who to reach out to with sales materials, project suggestions, and referral requests respectively.

Staying In Touch
On a monthly basis I’ll set aside an hour (yes – that’s all it takes with Contastic) to go through all of my contacts who I haven’t contacted in over 90 days (Contastic automatically creates a tab for them) to reconnect.  
I try and be brutally honest when reviewing these connections to determine if they should be categorized (focus more on this person!) or hidden (this person is not really relevant anymore).   If a person is important and I haven’t reached out I’ll find a reason to reconnect.  Usually the emails will give some clue as to a topic I can follow up with my contact about.

If that doesn’t seem fruitful Contastic recommends a series of articles based on your contact’s education, company, interests, and things you have in common. 
Often times these articles are great ways to keep up to date on things your contacts care about as well as providing an engaging way to rekindle the conversation.   Once written they can be quickly inserted into a template to be sent in seconds:

That’s how I get Contastic!  It is my daily CRM, my weekly lead nurturing tool, and my monthly means of staying in touch with my entire network.  I’d love to hear more about how use get Contastic in the comments below.