How many times have I seen this post in a VO online forum:
“Hey, I’m thinking about investing in a CRM for my business…anybody got a suggestion?”
‘Nothing intrinsically wrong with that question. Lots of successful voice-actors and other freelancers use Customer Relationship Management tools to keep track of friends, peers, prospects, clients, etc. They’re also good for scheduling, follow-up, databases, and reminders. I wrote a blog about CRM’s at least twice in years past, and I’m quite sure a good bit of that information is out-of-date by now.
And therein lies the problem. New software products are poppin’ so fast and frequently these days, that a normal human being really can’t keep up. For instance, Nimble, Cloze, and BatchBook are some CRM candidates, but I ended up spending so much time learning and configuring such products, that I never was able to realize any return on the investment (and most are NOT cheap!), OR to realize their potential.
BUT, it’s hard not to at least consider these new offerings, because some of them might be just exactly what you’re needing for your business.
TOOLS. Digital tools. To me, this is the ultimate promise of the internet. Automating and shortcutting your most tedious tasks.
In that spirit, then, let me float a few names of online organizational utilities that seem to be gaining steam with the trend-setters. New products these days go out of their way to provide tutorials, customer service, how-to videos and live chat sessions to get you up and running. Oh, and almost any new program worth its salt these days has an equally functional smartphone app. Sometimes, the app seems to work better than the desktop application. Most of the programs below offer easy integration with other programs.
Airtable tries to do it all, and make it visually intuitive. Part Database, part calendar, collaborative, spreadsheet-savvy, project management, team management, and claims to be very flexible & intuitive. I’d highly recommend using their tutorials first. $12/mo to start.
“A simple solution for cold emails”…so their website says. It also claims to promote content, build relationships, and generate leads. All you need is a Google account. Built for teams, follow-ups, PR pitches. Hmmm. $9/mo.
This program, too, claims to have strengths for those who collaborate in teams. (Am I missing something?). Tracking, “…automation, and enhancements for all your communications…” Schedule meetings, know who opens your email and when, send emails later, undo send, launch surveys & polls…Wow! And makes pancakes too! (anecdotal only). $9/mo to start, billed annually.
For those who are just befuddled by the web, but are willing to start working at it…this is a good place to begin. FirstGuide will get you blogging, web-authoring, and providing content with an exhaustive system of online resources.
The developers of this site claim: “…We promote great products to help you kick ass at work…” So you subscribe to their daily mailing, and you get a pitch about some new product they’ve found that they think is…er….uh…kickass. What can it hurt? You’re already getting lots of WORTHLESS email…why not one more that might actually bring a dividend once in a while?
‘S’all I got…go forth and prosper!