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April 2013

Changing clouds

My last post was about clouds and a silver lining. I have to admit now that the abundance of clouds I described and used only worked for me for about two months.

One - big - cloud

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There are two main reason for abandoning Capsule and other linked-in cloud programs:

  • no easy mail merge for specific letters to contacts
  • growing costs for email marketing due to the growth in contacts

We like to keep in contact with everyone on a regular base, and write maintenance reminder letters to all those clients of which we don't have an email address (yep it does happen we don't have a single email address - people do find us by phone and order materials that "old-fashioned" way), plus for certain tasks in the sales process we use specific letters (such as quotes, order confirmations etc) based on templates. The mentioned Alive Docs turned out to be too cumbersome and could only be used for predetermined letters, plus printing those letters was a hard task: every single one of them had to be emailed to your own address and then you were able to print it - not the most time saving task invented.

The linked-in MailChimp (which we already used - for free - for blog alerts for this and the Charing news blog) will charge you if the number of contacts grow above 2000, which is lower than the number of contacts/clients we have. Although the costs of this, combined with the costs for Capsule and Wufoo (the webform program) was still below the original costs of Octane HQ, when I found another CRM program which links with Kashflow and has its own email marketing facility I had no hard time saying goodbye to MailChimp for our main business.

intouchcrm

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30 days free trial, upload and download data, email marketing, web forms, surveys, mail merge, task management and a bit more. That's what intouchcrm gives you.

Webforms = bye bye Wufoo (£ 10.00 per month)
Email marketing = buy bye MailChimp Monthly plan £ 35.00 per month)
Advanced mail merge (per group or per contact) = bye bye Alive Doc (free for the moment)
And of course bye bye Capsule (£ 8.00 per month)

Intouchcrm has two types of plans: Premium (£ 12.00 per month with 200 email credits and other limits) and Unleashed (£ 18.00 per month with 5000 email credits and hardly any other limits).
Since we email all of our contacts (those with an email address of course) at least once every week the 5000 email limit is reached halfway through the month, but even purchasing additional credits (for instance another 5000 for £ 15.00) makes the whole program with its many facilities cheaper than the combined cloud - and way cheaper than Octane HQ while doing all and more!

This new program comes with its own help desk, webinairs and practical advice emails, what more can you ask? The savings we make per month, plus the features the program offers was well worth the second switching of programs in a few months time.