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Weekend Favs February Six

This week I found some great stuff – Entro for making introductions via email, Zapier added multi-step zaps so you can do even more cool stuff with integrations, and Adsvise a tool that helps you keep up on proper sizes for social ads.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr or one that I took out there on the road.

 

Candy conversation heartson a turquoise blue backgroundGood stuff I found this week:

Entro – Automates double opt-in email introductions

Multi-step Zaps – Zapier introduces even more powerful way to automate workflows

AdJelly – Nice tool to help with social and digital ad sizing

15 4 Helpful Automation Tools

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Josh Ludin – Enjoy!

A friend of mine, and fellow small business founder, told me a funny story recently. He had a meeting scheduled with a bank to secure a loan – his very first meeting of this sort – and during the meeting, the loan officer asked him “So what is your position? President, CEO?” My friend sat back, thought for a second, and replied “well last night, I was the Janitor!”

As a small business owner, we wear many hats and are in charge of managing many aspects of our business simultaneously. Whether it’s customer service, bookkeeping, sales, fulfillment and distribution, or any of the other necessary tasks required to maintain a business, time is of the essence. And now, with so many social media channels available to communicate with our customers and build a pipeline of leads, it’s extremely time consuming to stay on top of your game. So, I wanted to give you a cheat sheet of tools that will make automating your social media so much easier and consequently, more effective. You will love this list, but I want to preface it with this note, which somebody advised me of years ago and I couldn’t agree more; don’t try and tackle all social media channels at once, but rather develop 1 or 2 at a time until you have a strong following and are managing them without too much of a headache. If you try and dive into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on, you will just be spinning your wheels. So to the cheat sheet…

1. TweetAdder

Building a twitter following is tough, and then once you build that following, you really need to be posting 3-5 times daily in order to really remain relevant. But Twitter can be such an amazing tool for lead generation, and it is by far the easiest tool to use to communicate with your customers. TweetAdder is great because it allows you to completely automate your tweeting. You simply upload a list of tweets you want to send out (I usually do about 50 at a time) and then you tell TweetAdder the intervals of time between tweets and you’re done. Additionally, you can pick other Twitter accounts to retweet at set intervals as well. And then on top of that, it makes it easy to add people that are part of your target audience. You can search for people who are using certain keywords, and start following them, and then about 15% of those people end up following you back (and, you can unfollow people who don’t!). This tool has helped me build up my twitter following, and manage my communication with ease.

2. Dlvr.it

When you write a new blog post, you know that you need to share it across all of your social media channels. But that takes a lot of time. You have to create a new post for each and every one of the channels, so Dlvr.it created an application that makes it much easier. You select your RSS feed and assign it to each account that you want to share your new posts on. And then, whenever a new post is created, the RSS feed automatically distributes the post across all of your social media channels. You can be completely hands off.

3. AWeber

We’ve all heard the saying before “The Money is In the List” – but once you build up your email marketing list, how you reach out to your new leads is key. AWeber allows you to send new leads emails in pretermined intervals so you can lead your potential customers right down the sales pipeline as you would like, every time.

4. Zapier

Zapier allows you to ‘Zap’ new posts from one online tool to another – and works with almost every online platform out there. For example, if you post a new video on your youtube channel, it will send out a Facebook message. So you can automate events to take place on one platform when another specified event happens on another platform.

 

As I mentioned, social media management is extremely time consuming. Fortunately, all these headaches have been experienced by others, so now we have amazing tools at our disposal. Automating this aspect of your business is a necessity – suggestions for any other tools that I missed would be greatly appreciated!

 

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Josh Ludin is the founder of the subscription box Blind Surprise and writes about his path to making money online, and more importantly his mistakes to avoid, at NeverJobHunt.com. He is determined to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap of faith and begin building businesses and create the lifestyles many only dream of from the confines of their cubicle. Additinonally, he writes about start up advice and hacks to help young businesses get over that first plateau and find profitability.

8 The Golden Age of Social Lead Targeting Has Arrived Fully

In the beginning, you know about five years ago, some smart sales types discovered the awesome power of mining social networks for leads. In a way it was like the early prospectors digging around and bumping into gold with little more than an idea and some hard work staking claims. (This post I wrote in 2010 about mining Twitter for leads remains one of my most shared posts)

But now we’ve moved past the point of crude social lead digging to a much more elegant phase in which prospective clients can be discovered, scored and nurtured using social networks and everyday relationship building tools.

In fact, the practice has become so accepted it now has several names – social selling and social lead targeting. (By the way I’ve curated a list of CRM tools at the bottom of this post that you might want to check out.)

As services such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter grow in importance so too have the tools that mine the rich set of sales data left in every interaction.

But, the big breakthrough in social selling occurred, in my opinion, when tools that mined social data started talking to each other.

No longer do we need the mammoth do everything in one enterprise type tools to compete. A lone salesperson with a Hootsuite and Nimble account and about $20 a month can become a social lead targeting ninja.

Now, I’m not saying that some of those more expensive and more complicated tools aren’t awesome. Heck, if you’ve got the budget, full-time IT support and someone to pull the levers and adjust the mirrors, go for it!

But, if that’s not you, let me ask you this.

Would it be helpful if you could easily find people searching for your products on, say, Twitter?

Okay, no magic there, anybody with a little Twitter search mojo has been able to do that for years now, but . . .

  • What if you could also instantly know everything those people are doing on other social networks?
  • Who they are, who they are connected to and how to contact them in several channels?
  • What if you could easily create a contact record that unified all of your communication with them?
  • What if you could then start to track what they did on your website and how they reacted to your emails?

First off, you can easily do all of this and more with little or no tech support for less than $100 a month.

Do you think that could make you a better sales person?

I’ve only mentioned Twitter so far, but you can do the same kind of discovery and targeting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as well with the right tool set up and integration.

And building targeted lists is only one way to look at what I’m talking about. You can also build a connected network of your customers, share targeted insights and facilitate engagement and partnerships better when you adopt this kind of targeting mindset.

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Here I’ve used Hootsuite to find someone on Twitter that I want to connect with, so with one click I’ll add them to Nimble for a complete picture and connection record for future engagement.

The key piece of the puzzle is integration. Hootsuite is a great tool, but integrated with Nimble, it’s a power tool.

I can easily build a list in Twitter based on search criteria and then with one click add selected list members to the Nimble CRM tool for a complete picture of the prospect along with unified messaging. So, now if I reach out to that prospect by way of a subtle connection tweet, Nimble captures our entire conversation, shows me the prospect’s social stream and their key connections in one screen.

As much as I’ve grown to appreciate the power of a true social CRM tool, integrating it with a lead tracking and capture tool like Hubspot further allows me to score the interest of my leads and keep an entire record, not only of my direct interactions, but also their interactions with my content and landing pages.

Integration is also what allows most CRM tools to talk to most email service providers.

I’ve written previously about a specialty service called Zapier that allows you to create your own integrations where none exists. For example, you might want to create special record in Nimble when someone buys something through your 3rd party shopping cart – no problem, create a Zapier integration and get busy with better follow-up.

Social is not so much a channel as it is a behavior that allows for much richer listening, targeting, nurturing, learning and converting. The key is to bake social data and signals into your entire prospecting and sales process as a mindset using tools that put this vital set of data at your fingertips.

The real skill then becomes using this information to add value!

I’ve added a list of CRM tools and hope you’ll share your thoughts and insights.

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7 How to Extend the Functionality of Every App You Use

A rather new service called Zapier is poised to change how people work on the web. I know this sounds like a bold prediction, but here’s why I think it’s true.

Web apps are awesome. In many ways they’ve given even the tiniest of businesses the ability to compete, manage and grow on a global scale. Tools like Basecamp, Evernote, Wufoo and Dropbox have made business life far more productive and enjoyable for what amounts to pennies in the big scheme of things.

But, a funny thing happened once we got hooked on all these tools. Suddenly we needed them to all work together. We wanted seamless integration so we could simply use these tools in harmony to do the things we needed to do.

The only problem is that integration takes work. In some cases developers created open APIs and other developers created plugins and add ons that let tools talk to each other. In other cases people wrote their own integrations. And then there were instances where we just had to compromise and not use a tool or do some element by hand to get data from one place to another.

zaiper app integration

The drag and drop Zapier app integration dashboard

And this is where Zapier is stepping in. Zapier is creating what could only be called an integration library. It’s a growing collection of APIs for some of the most popular apps making it very easy to integrate one tool with another without the need for any technical intervention.

  • Want to have GoToWebinar sign ups entered into MailChimp follow-up sequence?
  • Want to have Wufoo form data passed to InfursionsoftCRM?
  • Want Twitter to IM you when you get mentioned?
  • Want Basecamp to add appointments to Google Calendar?

All of the above and more (over 100 apps currently) is accomplished using the simple Trigger and Action integration of Zapier.

While it’s possible for existing app makers to simply write integrations, they may have a different motivation for the ones they might support. Salesforce, for example might write integrations for many of the other apps they own, but would they really support integrations with competing apps?

The app agnostic 3rd party offers the best opportunity to work exactly as we wish. My guess is some of the smaller app makers who can’t support multiple integrations are pretty happy to see this tool.

The magic of Zapier in my mind is that not only can you automate many little things, (IFTTT.com does that part as well) they have also cracked some of the more popular and more complex apps such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft, GoToWebinar, Basecamp, Salesforce, PayPal and ZenDesk as well as most of the popular Email Service Providers.

There is a free version that may very well serve the needs of most users and several paid versions for those that find value in extending the functionality of the tools they already pay for.

This might be the point where I need to add that although I’m gushing about this tool I have no financial interest in promoting it! – It just does some things I’ve been wanting for some time.

So how exactly does all this stuff work?

Zapier lets you create connections that will push data from one app to another using triggers and actions. They call these connections of integrations “Zaps.” Here’s how you set up an integration.

  • Create a Zap: Zaps are the connection between two services made up of a single trigger and a single action.
  • Define a Trigger: The first part of a Zap. The trigger might be something like “A New Email in Gmail” or “A New Payment in PayPal.”
  • Define an Action: An action is the second part of a Zap. An action is what happens when a trigger occurs. An action might be something like “Create a Contact in Highrise” or “Send an email to the accounting department.”
  • As a user you simply drag your trigger app to a dashboard and define it and then drag your Action app to the dashboard and define it and once Zapier has your log in information for both it simply monitors for the trigger and completes the tasks assigned.

My biggest request at this point would be the addition of a library of actual user integrations. Seeing how others are using the triggers and actions would be very informative and allow people to more quickly create more useful integrations.

The ease of use is definitely one of the most attractive features and should prove to be a sustaining factor as others jump into the integration end of the pool.

Weekend Favs November Ten

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr or one that I took out there on the road.

Traveled to Phoenix this week for several presentations.

Good stuff I found this week:

Zapier – service that allows you to more easily integrate apps that need to talk to each other even if a formal integration doesn’t exist. (I’m really in love with this one and plan full coverage post soon.)

OnePage CRM – Simple CRM tool that uses the GTD methodology to streamline sales and CRM.

VIRURL – Tool that allows you to use your valuable content to drive traffic and promote your products rather than tradition ads.