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Tools #1: Supporting Your Website With A CRM

    A Website is Far More than What You See

    A website that generates good value for your business isn’t just fire and forget. You get value thanks to the systems and tools that are behind the scenes working with you.

    Your business needs to have a way of capturing and tracking certain things. This includes who is interested in your services, feedback, and what content to send to who.

    This is the first in a series of articles on tools that support your website. Fortunately, most of these tools are free.


    Tracking Your Contacts, A CRM

    How do you keep track of everyone you do business with?

    You probably track everyones email on your email, and their phone numbers on your phone. Makes sense, right?

    This is okay, if you’re the only person working in your business. Email isn’t so bad, but a phone with over 1000 contacts can be incredibly burdensome.

    This is why a CRM is so important.

    You can track your contacts all in one place, and everyone is on the same page as to how to get in touch with someone.

    A CRM, in many ways, is a universal contact book that everyone in your business has access to. There are some other features that are part of your typical CRM as well.


    The Deals

    A major feature of CRMs is the ability track deals.

    This feature will work differently based on whether your B2B or B2C, but fundamentally it works the same. Knowing what deals you have going ( the steps leading up to sales ) is very powerful, but is greatly enhanced with the power of your website.

    Traditionally website contact forms email you when someone asks for information. Emails, however, are easily lost.

    Wouldn’t it be nice of you could see it in one place where all your deals are, and see it look something like this?


    Note: For the sake of privacy, some information is blurred out. Screenshot is from Airtable.


    Someone fills out that contact form on your site, and poof they show up in the “leads” section of your deal pipeline. You then follow up on them and get them moving down the pipeline.

    What’s nice too is that these systems typically support commenting on contacts, so you can leave notes. This is really powerful when you start working together as a team.


    Next up I’m going to list a couple different places where you can get set up with a CRM.


    CRM Tools

    Here are two CRM systems that exist out there that I’ve had a lot of experience with.


    Podio is a very powerful general purpose application that can fulfill many roles, including a CRM. You have the ability to track just about anything imaginable and is extremely customizable.

    It’s free for one user, after that it’s $9/user/month.


    Airtable is also a very powerful multi-purpose app that can function as a CRM. Unlike Podio however it has a much simpler interface and allows you to dive in with as many users as you want. The only limit is the number of records on the free plan, which is 1200.

    Airtable is $12/user/month, and is the simpler of the two to use and take advantage of.


    Both of these tools have phone apps that you can use to manage your contacts separately from your personal contacts. Also, don’t let the pricing scare you, you’d be surprised how far you can go on their free plans.


    There are Many More…

    Countless in fact, however I don’t recommend diving into a paid one until you’ve been able to get comfortable with one of the free ones.

    You can check out a detailed list here. What’s important to keep on mind about your CRM is the ability to eventually link it with a client fulfillment system.


    But Wait, What Does This Have To Do With My Website?

    Pretty much everything. It’s vital that you have a system in place to store, organize, and utilize contacts that you get through your website.

    Whether you have an online store or you simply want to “raise awareness” of your business the meat and spaghetti of what you’re going to get from the site is contacts.

    Make sure to have a good system in place to get the most out of your contacts.


    That about does it with this post. This post is the first of a 3 part series on tools to support your website. Next week we are going to dive into email marketing platforms.


    Speaking of email marketing platforms, be sure to subscribe to keep in the loop on that article, which I will then notify you through the use of my email marketing platform once it’s published :).