Collecting Contact Information

ML Feb 2, 2006

Well, it’s been a few days without a HitTail post. Tuesday ended up being an office/client day. I’ve got an interesting post in the works on search-friendly URLs and the concept of the weakest link in the chain in search optimization. Yesterday, I got myself set up on a VOIP phone at home that ties back to the office Avaya IP Office phone system. So from home, I can make outgoing calls as if I were on an office phone. Between these two items, and catching up on sleep lost over the past week, the last two days haven’t been my most productive. I plan on making up for that starting now.

I got a blog post out this morning that really starts to describe what the HitTail site and system is all about. A lot of my time has really gone into blogging, and not building the app. The reason for that is that the thought-work needs to be done to ensure that I’m doing the right work. But I’ve really got to move forward fast now. More and more people will be coming in as a result of my blogging, and I want to start building the list of beta testers. That makes the contact info app the most important, initially. And since I’m collecting contact info, I might as well integrate it with the Connors sales lead management and online conversation system. That’s my goal for today.

I’ve got to get both the BabyStep tutorial that I just produced, and the application itself onto the sight. I want it wrapped in the site’s look and feel, as minimal as it may be right now. So, what I do is finish the template in the content management system. OK, done. The Spider Spotter app now automatically takes on the look of the rest of the sight, as will any new applications that I develop.

First, put a blank page from the CMS under each main category link. OK, done. Now that you have semi-permanent navigation, move it over to the Blogger template. OK, done. The rest of your work for today is activating the Sign Up Now and Start Conversation systems.

Now, it’s time to focus on contact info collection. There are two forms of contact info collection (3 if you include the blog subscribe list), which I’m leaving to Bloglet for now. Time allowing, I’d use the Google API to program a list mailer myself, so it is more tightly integrated. But the 80/20 rule. The two main forms of contact info collection is “Sign Up Now” and “Start Conversation”. The process of each starts with just the email. That way, minimal contact info is acquired, and some idea of their intent, based on which submit button they used. The principle here is: capture fast. Even if no follow-up action is taken on the part of the prospect, you are now in a position to proactively follow up with them.

The submit will come in through the same program either way. The “Sign Up Now” will just give a parting message, thanking them and explaining the next step. It will also give one more opportunity to talk with Connors about PR. The “Start Discussion” submit will bypass all this and drop you directly into the sales lead management/discussion system. It’s sort of like a private one-to-one blog. Technically, it’s one-to-many, with you the prospect being the “one”, and Connors the organization being the “many”.

Every one of these discussions that comes in needs to be treated as priority #1. It could be the next Amazon, Priceline or Vonage. But it could also be influential early adopters of technology, and the people who will be pivotal in making HitTail erupt in buzz. And it also may just be the curious tire kickers, whom we will need to quickly identify. I’m sure that launching a public discussion forum is in the near future, so we can efficiently communicate to the entire audience for HitTail, and general next generation public relations issues.

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