Friday, April 16, 2010

Keeping Track of Who's Who...

Contact management organization tips, tricks and a plan to get you started on the road to rolodex sanity.

You have collected 1,000 upon 1,000 business cards at networking events, have clients and prospects emailing you everyday either for quotes or inquiries, The million dollar question is, How are you organizing this data? You been putting this task off for days, months, or years, but who has time to create a master contact list?

Whether you have been in business for years or just started, those contacts can definitely accumulate, but if you are just letting them just accumulate you are really missing out on many potential new sales opportunities!

How are you Communicating?

Top of mind awareness is key, do your clients know you now offer new services or products? Do they know you just moved or hired 2 new staff members? How are you communicating your company's latest news? Facebook, Twitter and all the social media out there is not enough!

Email marketing is the answer for effective external communications and you are interested in getting started right away, but problem is, your contacts are all over the place!

Your solution starts off with a little hard work but trust me it gets easier in time. Here are your 1st three crucial steps to get you started:

Organization Overhaul

it is an ugly job and a lot of work, but somebody's got to do it. Yes, you let your emails pile up, your mailing lists accumulate but it is now time for some Spring cleaning and organization! Start exporting your contacts from your Outlook into a text file and then copying everything into a master excel list. Also keep a master excel list! If you are so beyond being organized and don't have all your contacts saved in your mail program, you are going to have to do it manual style, start with A, and work yourself down to Z, and copying all your contacts on to that excel file.

For those of you with different industry segments, or different sets of clientele, be sure to seperate your contact lists into groups by way that you sell to them. This way you can create custom email mailers, instead of blanketing them with information they have no interest in.

Periodic Updates

Once you complete your organization overhaul, set yourself on a schedule, set reminders in your calender to pop up at the end or beginning of each week, so you can input new contacts whether met in person or via email into your mailing/contact list. This way you can avoid major & time consuming organization overhauls every 6 - 8 months. This reminder system can help you from falling behind in your mailing list efforts.

Mailing List Integration

Once you have your master list compiled, choose a email marketing service to integrate your contacts into. I highly recommend MailChimp, very hip and user friendly, plus if your contact list is 500 persons or less, it is FREE!!! Another cool feature with MailChimp it has a widget that you can incorporate into your website's homepage where you can have interested clients sign up for your email updates. These new interested clients that sign up for your emails do not just get emailed to you, but sent directly into your list on their site, this way you don't have to manually enter them in everytime you get a new person on your list.

These are just some tips to get you started on the road to contact management sanity. And don't worry, never be too proud to ask for help. But be sure to ask someone you trust to help you with a project like this, as your contacts are very sensitive and exteremely valuable information. Not only does your help need to be trustworthy, but a good speller and have a great attention to detail! Good Luck and if you need any help or a great referral, let me know!

Happy Organizing!

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