Base CRM Contact Form

This came about when I started doing a few lead generation campaigns for my website, I noticed that contact form provided by Base didn’t do two important things:
1. Allow me to record a goal completion in Google Analytics
2. Provide any details over where the lead came from, other than via my website, when adding the deal into Base CRM.
3. Allow me to encourage email signups

This meant, essentially, that I couldn’t attribute any leads or customer value to any particular marketing campaign/source/medium. On top of this I couldn’t encourage email subscription. so I decided to commission a WordPress plugin.

I found Woody (a developer) on Peopleperhour.com, I knew how specific my requirements were so I was very particular about who I hired after having bad experiences with freelancers on Odesk in the past.

Woody did a great job, he runs a company called Stormgate and as you can see he specialises in rapid web development (he finished my plugin in less than 24 hours)!

So I told Woody what I wanted and he got down to work creating my brand new contact form.

Essentially this contact form directly posts the lead into Base, including all the necessary details, as well as the Google Analytics source and medium.

The Google Analytics bit ensures that you can choose a page to redirect to, which can then be tracked as a goal, so that you can keep an eye on things in Google Analytics separately from Base.

Finally it has a tick box that allows the person contacting you to signup to your email newsletter hosted by MailChimp.

I don’t think there are many things out there that do all this, and if you are using Base CRM I highly recommend you try out this plugin.

If you would like to download my plugin you can do so here.

Want to Buy Survey Responses? Check Out Instant.ly

I can’t remember what website I was browsing when I came across instant.ly, but I’m glad I did. After creating a survey and finding it difficult to recruit respondents, I decided I needed to find a survey provider that offered surveys for the UK. Sadly I couldn’t find any, this left me with the following options:

Google Consumer Surveys – released quite recently, it would have been quite good but the questions didn’t allow me to gain qualitative information, only quantative. I almost paid $300, but decided that the data I would get wouldn’t be that useful.

Next I decided to check out Survey Gizmo, which is where I created my original survey, but they didn’t appear to offer paid survey responses as an option (this is a shame as I quite like Survey Gizmo). So I checked out Survey Monkey as well, unfortunately I had to fill out some kind of form (despite the fact I was already registered) in order to get going, this was the weekend so it looked as though I’d have to wait until Monday before even getting access, unsatisfied I started browsing and eventually came across instant.ly.

I was initally attracted by their offer – $100 credit, no questions asked, no catches – it seemed too good to be true, but it turned out it wasn’t. Within 20 minutes I had created a brilliant, quick survey for respondents to fill in, I spent my $100 credit and got 50 people (who I had specified based on certain demographical data) to fill in my survey.

The insight from this was incredible – I had some great comments on what business owners’ main concerns are when it comes to their marketing, I got pricing information on a product by product basis along with turnover and marketing spend information. All for free.

So if you want to improve your business, check it out. It’s US respondents, but depending on your product/service, you should still be able to get some good insight.

Time to Comply With EU Cookie Laws

Disclaimer: This does not constitute legal advice, consult a solicitor or contact the ico if in doubt.

In case you didn’t know already, the EU cookie laws came in May 2011, but the ico have only decided to enforce this from May 2012.

Most of the big companies are complying.  In a nutshell, you’re meant to get permission to put cookies on a visitors computer, unless it is used for the operation of the website, such as a shopping basket cookie.

You can get away with implied consent, according to the ico, but I’d read the guide carefully, as I doubt you can get away with implied consent for behavioural advertising.

If you aren’t yet compliant, I recommend you get it sorted asap.

This post was written on my mobile phone, so please excuse any spelling mistakes!

Using Duedil To Identify Potential Prospects

Duedil is a great free new web service that allows you free access to the entire companies house database, any time of day. It’s great for researching companies, whether that be for a job interview, to check up on your employer or what I am going to show you how to do, identifying potential prospects.

Step 1

The first step in this process is to have a look at your existing customers, identify the more valuable ones – the ones that take less work and earn you more money. There is actually a number of statistical techniques for doing this, but these are very complex and would require much more than a blog post.

Step 2

You look up these customers using Duedil, you make a note of their SIC code (the type of business they run), their employee count, their turnover, location, the legal status (ltd, partnership, sole trader etc.), and how long the business has been established. Now look at these and see if you can find some common patterns between your most valuable customers, such as high turnover or number of employees for example.

Wolseley details on Duedil

Step 3

You can now do a search for companies using the Duedil search facility, putting in your search filters such as turnover. This should then produce a list of potential prospects, you can then go through and if you have logged in with LinkedIn it will show you people that are in your network that work for the company or are in your 2nd, 3rd degree network. This gives you a contact to get your foot in the door. Simply record these people and you have your list!

Base CRM – CRM Software For The Small Business by Future Simple


Base Value Partner Program Badge

Simple CRM by Base

 

 

After spending sometime using Capsule CRM (which became to clunky to use) and Highrise (which is to simplistic and doesn’t have nearly enough advanced features for sales) I have finally found Base by Future Simple. Funnily enough if you look for it on Google, you can’t find it! There is in fact another CRM called Base, which looks like it was designed in the 90’s – do not confuse the two!!! You’re looking for the one at FutureSimple.com.

I discovered Base CRM whilst looking for a CRM app that worked on my Android – Base had the best reviews and after I signed up I could see why. It has an Android app as well as an iPhone app – for all those Anroid users out there I can’t tell you how much of a relief this is, I’m sick of tired of online software with just an iPhone version, letting the Android users put up with a mobile version of their web page.

The Sales Funnel

First up it already has a well thought out sales funnel process which you can customise if you wish (you probably won’t). It’s simple to customise and the actual reporting system is also simple, but at the same time extremely useful. Here’s a few screenshots from my account:

Base CRM Funnel Report

This is a great way to estimate the value of leads – we can see here that of the leads I get, 20% are unqualified – that means I don’t want them. We can work out what percentage of leads actually result in a deal – in this case 4/10 (or 40%). If we apply this to the average value of these leads (£437.50) we can estimate the value of the lead, in this case 40% of £437.50, which is £175. So now I know that each lead I get is worth £175.

I can now use this as a goal in Google Analytics (or other web analytics tool) and from this have a basis to calculate my ROI for my advertising campaigns. Anyways, onto the rest of Base’s cool features…

Reasons For Lost Deals Report

This report is great, when you lose a deal you have to enter a reason – this is some brilliant customer insight that you can feed back into your business when trying to improve your sales process, your marketing or even your product. Anyways, here’s mine (actually I’ve not lost any yet so I had to make some up – but you get the point):

Reasons For Lost Deals

There are a load of other reports, but these are my two favourite – on top of that I think we’ll see some more useful ones coming out as they improve, they have a great user based feedback system using User Voice – so any features suggested get voted on and if they get enough votes they get implemented – great huh?

Other Features

So what else has it got?

Well you can integrate it with your website for starters – I didn’t fancy this because I’m obsessed with my Google Analytics and they won’t let me redirect to a thank you page, but naturally I’ve requested the change so hopefully they’ll be making that improvement shortly. But still, if you don’t pay much attention to Google Analytics, then the web form integration is ideal.

Again they’ve got a very intuitive system for adding contacts (companies or individuals) and you can check back over past sales. All data can be exported (or imported) if needed, and they have a special import facility for those using Highrise, Basecamp or Salesforce – so switching to Base CRM Is Easy.

Check It Out – It’s Free!

Anyways, I suggest you check it out, because after all it is free and it’s a shed load better than all the other CRM systems out there.

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post when I was trialling Base CRM, since then I have referred enough people to earn myself a free account, so any further referrals may end up earning me commission if they end up subscribing to Base CRM. I just thought it was best I cleared that up :)

How Can We Learn From Angry Birds’ Success?

Angry Birds has probably been the biggest gaming app of the year – nearly every person I know has played it, but it’s not the most amazing game in the World, so what exactly made it so popular? Was it pure fluke, or is there more to it?

The first thing Rovio (the brains behind Angry Birds) did was decide they wanted to make apps for mobile devices on the Apple store. They profiled the typical iPhone user and found that it basically represented, well, everyone! So they decided on a game that would suit all people, all ages. They also decided that not only should it be a game on the iPhone, but it should be flexible enough to be played on other platforms, such as the android and now you can also play Angry Birds online for free. They also made the game unbelievably simple – no tutorial is necessary and because of the short loading times you could just pick it up and start playing it in seconds.

So step 1, they ensured that the product fit their target customer (in this case everyone).

Step 2, they actually launched Angry Birds in December 2009, but it was a flop – at least in the UK/US. They concentrated on getting more users downloading it in other countries. (Source: Wired 7 March 2011)

Step 3, they managed to get such a following in these countries, it enabled them to fine tune their product from customer feedback and then they gained the attention of Apple. Once Apple put it on the front page of their app store, the product hit the top ten almost immediately and very quickly became the top played game.

So what I wonder is, did they plan this, or was it a fluke? If you’ve read “Unleashing the Idea Virus” by Seth Godin (download it free here) you may spot a few things that they did that Seth recommends in his book. It’s a great book and if you want to get your business growing through word of mouth and social media it is definitely worth a read.

Capsule CRM – The Best Free Online CRM Software System

I’ve been using Capsule CRM for around a year now and I really like the way you can customise it so easily, plus it is much simpler than Salesforce. It also integrates with my online accounting package, FreeAgent (incidentally if you signup with them, be sure to use my FreeAgent referral code).

Capsule CRM

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management – it’s been around for a while, basically it encompasses your customer database and should record every “touchpoint” with your customer. So your customer logs on to your website, your CRM should know, your sales person phones them up, they should record that, an email get sent out – that too should be recorded, the customer buys something on the website, guess what, that should be recorded too. It improves your ability to manage & track customers and can help you improve customer insight. Without CRM you are unlikely to be able to accurately calculate a customer’s lifetime value, which prevents you from being able to spend as much money on marketing – this can lead you lagging behind competitors who can justify spending up to 10 times more than you to acquire a customer.

Free CRM

The best thing about Capsule CRM is that it is actually free to use, without it limiting the functionality of the software too much, so if you are implementing a new CRM system and you don’t want to pay for anything yet, then Capsule CRM is a great way to get your systems and processes in place before rolling it out across the board.

API Access and CSV Downloads

Capsule CRM allows you access to the API and also provides you with easy to download files, so you don’t have to work out how the software works, you can simply download the data and analyse it yourself in Excel – which is what most people do anyway!

Web Integration Form

They provide a lead generation form you can add to your website, then when someone fills it in, the lead goes directy into the CRM system – this saves you time, to get this functionality for Salesforce you would need to buy the 2nd version up (I think it’s £17 / month / user).

Twitter Integration

To get the latest info on your clients you can add their twitter ID to their customer file, then when you view them in Capsule CRM it will also show your latest tweets – this may allow your sales people to engage better with customers, or identify potential opportunities.

I’ll be writing about best practices for creating CRM systems over the coming months, and I’m also hoping to develop a way to integrate Capsule CRM with your website so that you can personalise pages for people – but that may take some time!!!

If you do sign up for Capsule CRM, you may also want to signup for FreeAgent and MailChimp – all three integrate together, which might save you a bit of time.

Why A Spanking New Website And A Bit Of SEO Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

In the early days of ecommerce you could build a website, slap some products on, ensure it looks ok for the search engines with a bit of SEO and hey presto, you would have yourself a business. Rinse and repeat.

The Formula Is Broken

2 + 2 = 3
Now that same old tried and tested formula doesn’t work anymore. Why? Because things have evolved, those companies with marketeers that actually know what they are doing are kicking ass. It used to be that the guy in charge of online marketing was basically the technical guy who can use a computer and put 2 and 2 together. This led to an emphasis on building a pretty website, slapping some stock photos and some clever corporate sounding text on – because that’s what the folks in marketing do, right? Monkey see, monkey do.

Ignorance Is Bliss

Now I can’t speak for all marketers, but learning on my course I have realised that the people online claiming to be Internet marketing experts (I myself am one of these people, I’ll admit – but I’ve opened my eyes and I’m making an effort to improve for the sake of the people I help) have largely no idea about marketing. Yes they can do SEO, yes they can make a website that converts well, but as for in depth marketing strategy, integrating marketing, segmenting customers effectively and all that malarkey, they (we/me) fall a bit short.

Eye Opener

I’ve been studying my course with the IDM and I cannot tell you how much my eyes have been opened – marketing knowledge and techniques has been built up over the past 100 years (or more). Every single time I begin to study a new topic I find better ways of doing things, new ideas and often a sudden “aha!” moment. I really can’t tell you how amazed I am at the stuff I’m being taught.

Things You Can Learn From Direct Marketing

Anyways, although online is a different animal altogether, here are some of the things I think we could take from direct marketing and apply a bit better online:

1. A Marketing Plan

Let’s face it, you can’t make a half decent website without some kind of spec, and guess what? The same applies to running a business, not only do you need a business plan, but an indepth marketing plan is essential, some of the benefits include:

  • 1. It forces “big picture” thinking
  • 2. Ensures a thorough analysis of your existing customers
  • 3. Creates internal collaboration
  • 4. Generates enthusiasm and creativity
  • 5. Allocates your resources which will maximise profit
  • 6. Allows you to connect with your customers creating an “outside-in” focus
  • 7. Enables faster front line decisions on a day to day basis
  • 8. Saves time and stress

2. Realise you are paying to acquire a customer – not to sell one product

You can only afford 50 pence a click to sell a pair of jeans I hear you say? Well what if that customer buys more clothes over the next 3 years? What if during this time he tells a few friends and they do the same? This is the kind of thing you need to know to value your customers, so you can justify that stupidly large CPC budget the highstreet shop gone Internet at number 1 is bidding. Guess what, these companies with big budgets, they realised a long time ago that they will most likely have to wait longer than a year to recoup the cost of acquiring each customer.

3. Concentrate on developing existing customers – not attracting new ones

According to some scientific study done god knows when, it is 5 times more expensive to acquire a customer than it is to retain one. How many big customers do you let slip through your finger tips due to poor service?

4. Not all customers are equal

You’ve probably got the same landing page set for all types of customers. Does the buyer from Top Shop have the same needs as my sister? No. Is someone looking to insure a fleet of cars the same as me wanting to insure my 2000 Ford Focus? No. What if that fleet of cars is for a big company or organisation, like the police! How many times more is that worth? 100 times? 1000 times? I’d say more like 100,000 times or more! The Pareto Principle has been applied many times over and it normally works out the same, 80% of your company’s profits come from 20% of your customers – don’t treat them the same as your bottom 10% (that probably lose you money).

5. Use more than one method of promotion

There is a thing known as the media multiplier effect, this means that you gain synergy from using different media to promote your business. For example you may get a response rate of 0.1% with Direct Mail and a response rate of 1% with AdWords separately, but if you run them both together you may get something like a 0.15% response rate with Direct Mail and a 1.5% response rate with AdWords – so you get a boost just for using them at the same time.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head (I’m still learning) – I’m hoping to cement some of this knowledge when I do my assignment I’ve just been issued. I’m also going to be practicing on friends and family (when I’ve got time!) over the coming months.

I may be wrong in what I’ve said above, perhaps lots of people are doing this stuff, I know the big boys are, but I’m not so sure about the companies focused on SEO and Search Marketing PPC.

I hope this sparks something in someone somewhere, if it does, please comment below. If it infuriates you, comment anyway :)