I often help companies with their launches and marketing planning. A year ago, when I was marketing the last Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, I fell in love with Flowtown, which allowed you to find your social media contacts from email addresses. When Flowtown changed its product focus to Timely, I began using that program to schedule my tweets. Although my formal relationship with Flowtown and Timely co-founders Ethan Bloch and Dan Martell ended a long time ago, my use of the product didn’t. I still use Timely every day.
Last night I got an email from Ethan announcing a beta test of Timely's connection with Facebook. I tried it, and of course it works. Timely also has a pro version, with which you can manage an unlimited number of Twitter accounts. It’s embarrassing, because I’m only one person, but I have five different Twitter accounts divided along the lines of my different interests. (dogs, healthcare, Arizona entrepreneurship, etc.). So being able to schedule things is often helpful. And no, I don’t robotically send out the same tweet fifty times.
This morning I found something useful through DuctTape Marketing: a new toy called Blastfollow. This little tool allows me to follow a group of people with common interests (shown through their use of a hashtag) in one fell swoop. I just used it to follow a list of small business marketers. You could use it to follow prospects, customers, or people on Twitter who can teach you something.
Now I’m working with Wednesdays, which launches out of private beta August 24. Wednesdays helps people form "social meal" clubs with friends, business associates, alumni associations, and anyone else. Several years ago, Keith Ferrazi wrote a book called Never Eat Alone, about the power of social meals for business. Because we’re stuck behind screens all day, we never get out of the office for lunch or even dinner anymore, even if we work together. Yet everyone knows that a single face-to-face meeting can significantly deepen a relationship. Wednesdays helps you make that happen.
I wonder why many businesses don’t realize how common it used to be to take a prospect to lunch. As a result of working with Wednesdays, our company is going to resurrect its practice of monthly meals with entrepreneurs and their ecosystem. For seven years, we held monthly "Stealthmode dinners," and then we stopped. Why? Because they became too difficult to schedule when the restaurant we met in suddenly closed. Wednesdays will take care of all that for us—taking the RSVPS, finding the most convenient restaurant, making a reservation, and collecting the money in advance. It will even give us a chance to make some money from the dinners if we wish.
So here’s your to-do list for an effective customer acquisition campaign:
- Use Blastfollow to find the people you want to meet
- Keep in regular touch with them through Timely, creating a conversation
- Then start a lunch or dinner group through Wednesdays
If this doesn’t increase both your business and theirs, I owe YOU a lunch.
Small business is not typically an early adopter of web services. But taking advantage of all these new online products can make the most of scarce time and energy. Scheduling tweets used to be laborious. So did finding the right people to follow on Twitter. So did scheduling lunches. All these small problems add up for a person with limited time. It’s a real relief to have them automated.