If you’re in business, then you understand the importance of nurturing relationships – both with existing and potential customers.
But if you’re reading this guide, then it’s likely you do not have a system in place to do this, and have reached a point where you need to have one in order to sustainably grow.
You may have been in business for a while, and been able to grow through client referrals and one-on-one interactions. Or you may just be starting out.
Whatever stage you’re at – if you’re just getting started, or the idea of a client engagement funnel is completely new to you – you may not have a lot of time or money to get this set up. Which is why I’ve created this list of Top 5 tools to quickly get you up and on your way for free.
The Top 5 Tools you are going to need to get started:
- An Email Database and Autoresponder
- A Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
- A Zapier Account
- A Blog
- A Video Email Messaging Tool
As with all of the things on this list, there are multiple options of services and / or platforms you can use.
But if you don’t have a lot of time or money, it is better to keep things simple. You can spend the next 2 weeks researching the pros and cons of competing platforms, or you can start right away with robust, popular platforms that also happen to offer the part of their service you need – for free.
Ready to get started? Let’s dig in!
1. Email Database and Autoresponder
Before you do anything else, you’re going to need to get your email list sorted. You’re not going to be able to start regular communication with people if you don’t have some way to organise, search and sort all of the contact information you have been (or will be be) gathering over the years.
If you want something easy and intuitive to use, with a great reputation, and meeting your ideal price point (did I say free?), then Mailchimp is the way to go: https://mailchimp.com
Mailchimp’s name and brand are widely recognised as being the most powerful offering in the email service provider (ESP) space and their free option is one of the best around – you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month at no charge. If you’re just starting out, that’s plenty.
Start out by uploading just 5 of your more recent contacts. When you get down to the Zapier automation section, you’ll see why 🙂
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
So, you’ve got your email list set up. Great. Before you start firing off a bunch of emails, or develop an email series, you might want to put a CRM system in place so that you can keep track of everything.
Ideally you want to have a tool that will help you quickly dive into a contact’s profile and let you know when and how you interacted with them, where they are in your relationship cycle (tire kicking? Interested to learn more? actively engaged? ready to buy? happy customer? etc), their current spend with your company, and general information about their business.
Hubspot CRM can do all that and more, for free. Winners of the 2017 Best CRM Software award from FinancesOnline, and a huge name in the CRM market, they are a safe bet.
Don’t get lost in a series of clicks and opens from your email. Focus on really knowing how warm your relationship is, and where your customers are in the buying cycle.
You’ve got a lot on your plate.
Sure it’s great you can have all your emails in place, and a quick and easy way to send out a series of emails to your prospects and customers. It’s also pretty neat that you can track how you are engaging with your customer.
But it would be ideal if your free email service provider could talk with your free CRM tool, without you having to do too much work or duplicate your efforts.
Zapier acts as a go between that will automatically forward any new contacts created in Mailchimp to your Hubspot CRM account. Aren’t you glad that you started out by only uploading 5 contacts?
Now, any time you add a new contact, or update an old one, your Hubspot CRM will be up to speed.
Ok, great. You’re all set up to start sharing your message. But what is your message? If you keep sharing the same news and offers, your message is going to get old pretty fast, and your audience is going to switch off. Not good.
That’s why you need to get started blogging.
You can start by answering questions that you hear all the time from customers. Don’t have any questions yet? Start following blogs in your niche, and see what kind of questions keep coming up.
If people keep asking it means that a) it’s important to them, and b) it hasn’t been satisfactorily answered yet.
I personally prefer wordpress.org because it has so much more in terms of functionality, but if you’re just starting out and don’t want to get bogged down building and hosting a website, wordpress.com is the way to go.
WordPress is also a huge name in its respective market, and if you go with it, you can’t go wrong.
5. Video Email Messaging Tool
Want to really make your messages pop, and truly engage with your audience? Use video!
If you are reaching out to prospective clients, video allows people to get a better sense of who you are – how you talk, how you sound – and to get a sense of whether or not they would feel comfortable doing business with you.
If you are talking to warm prospects or existing customers, video gives that personal touch that will make your message that more interesting and engaging.
For a free screen and video recording tool, try Loom.
Loom will allow you to record from your phone or desktop, and embed your video as a link on your email message.
Create that instant connection that is so important, and really, should be the heart of your customer engagement funnel.
That’s it! With the above 5 tools you should be well on your way to setting up a robust client engagement funnel, helping you connect with your audience and grow your business – for free.
What are you struggling with the most in terms of setting up a client engagement funnel?
Let me know in the comments below!