How Slack and Intercom can make magazine publishers more productive

RunMags is all about effective team collaboration, you know that by now. But with this post on Slack and Intercom, we’d like to tease your imagination on how you could take your productivity to another level. Let us know if you like our thoughts and we’ll include them in the RunMags development pipeline.

Tools being used by agile startup companies

In the internet startup community, Slack and Intercom are a couple of platforms that many of the companies use to drive productivity, innovation and sales. They come with Freemium pricing models so you can start small for free and scale your use for a relatively small monthly fee.

What is Slack?

Slack is a messaging app and collaboration tool for teams. It brings all your team’s communication and files in one place, where they’re instantly searchable and available wherever you go – on your laptop or in the mobile app. In addition, together with Slackbot and other internet software robots ready to serve, you can make your life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

What is Intercom?

Intercom shows you who is reading your website / magazine and makes it easy to personally communicate with them through targeted, behavior-driven email and web messages. Talk directly to readers to turn them into subscribers or service potential advertisers with the information they need to see at the right time. All Intercom products come with the free Intercom platform which lets you see who your readers are, and what they do on your website.

Converting subscribers and advertisers

Software startup companies of today are incredibly crafty when it comes to converting leads into paying customers. Sales funnels are analyzed in detail and website visitors are served with value-adding tips and advice along their buyer journey. Messages are automated to start with and upon the engagement a human being can jump into the conversation to provide service.

Magazine publishers should definitely study a few of these companies to learn what can be applied to selling subscriptions and advertising. The price level of software subscription offerings are often very similar to those of magazine subscriptions so there shouldn’t really be a reason why publishers can’t adopt the model.

Intercom - Subscriber asking about free trial subscription

In the example above, a potential subscriber engages with Nifty Magazine to ask about a free trial. Kristen responds and provides a link to where Otis can get a free copy. In the process, Otis will provide his email address so that even if he doesn’t sign up, Nifty Magazine will have the email address for future messaging. At the RunMags subscription page, Otis will definitely provide his email address in order to get the free copy and at that point his home address along with all other details he’s providing will go into RunMags.

Intercom chat to convert subscriber

Above is the Intercom conversation interface that Kristen is using and she can also use Intercom’s mobile app if she’s on the move. On your website you can have targeted messages from your specific employee’s areas of expertise. For users investigating your advertising offering, craft messages from the sales reps and present them on the page(s) that explain your value proposition.

Integrate your favorite apps and bots into Slack

Slack has become so popular that many software vendors develop integration apps and bots for Slack, rather than building similar functionality in their own applications. The simple but yet capable interface make it possible to feed updates and messages to employees who can benefit from being in the know.

Intercom channel in Slack

The screenshot above displays the conversation between Otis and Kristen, the way that other employees at Nifty Magazine would see it if they subscribe to the Intercom channel.

In a similar fashion we can feed in payments from Stripe, website statistics from SimilarWeb, task assignments and completions from Trello or Asana, upcoming meetings in your calendar and more.

So where does RunMags fit into this?

The development of new RunMags features are driven by the needs of our customers. Send us an email with your thoughts around how RunMags would integrate with Slack to help you get more productive. Some of the ideas we’ve been playing around with is that RunMags can push messages on calls being made, email conversations as well as deals created, lost, and won. There could be notifications when advertisers pay their invoices and when subscribers sign up or renew their subscriptions. You may get notified about production deadlines coming up and when clients upload their artwork for your approval.

Also, a RunMags bot for Slack could send a morning message with your daily to-do list and clients to call, even as a printable PDF. You could ask it questions (in the Slack app) like “Has anyone talked with ACME?” so you wouldn’t have to bug your team or go into RunMags. The RunMags bot might reply “Steve called Peter Holmes at ACME last Tuesday and a $5,750 deal was closed the same day”.

Try out Slack and let us know your thoughts!

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Advertising sales team continual improvement

Don’t limit performance improvement to underperforming sales reps. There’s much to gain from basing your sales team cadence on an overarching continual improvement program, acknowledging that everybody can improve their performance and that it’s an ongoing process.

Employees want feedback and in case you are hiring millennials into your sales force, you better make sure you consistently provide insightful positive and negative feedback. Otherwise they will leave you. But besides keeping employees happy and the obvious driver of increasing sales revenue, your life as a business owner or sales manager will be so much easier if you already have a continual improvement model in place the day that your numbers are looking like crap.

Don’t wait until that day comes … because you know it will sneak up on you for sure. Use RunMags’ template and model for advertising sales team continual improvement. You can download it as a Google Slide and tweak it to suit your specific needs.

How to establish a sales team cadence with continual improvement

Whether you call it cadence, operational rhythm or something else, you probably already have a weekly staff meeting established and at the end of the year you have a performance review with each employee. Use our model to communicate the purpose of those meetings and allow for the team to collectively reflect over things that went well during last week, if they hit a road block and what they’ve learned. Lead by example and openly share if you misread a client’s needs and missed a deal. You’ll see that people will open up to share lessons learned and will help you remove bottle necks in your business.

There are three critical components of RunMags’ continual improvement model:

  1. Performance monitoring
  2. Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions
  3. Implementing solutions

Performance monitoring

Performance Monitoring

Utilize the sales dashboard and other insight tools in RunMags to monitor the pipeline of each sales. Is the sales funnel top or bottom heavy? Are the performance indicators for upcoming issues showing green or red lights?

Collectively review proposals that has gone out and any client feedback. Wins and losses should be discussed openly because it’s simply not enough to have a drop down in the CRM system to create a win/loss factor. Save notes for upcoming analysis.

Review your sales plan and monitor progress. Are we closing deals with the accounts we set out to target in the beginning of the quarter? How effective are we?

Finally, and not to forget, conduct joint sales calls whether they are performed over the phone or in person. Provide feedback immediately after the meeting and also be open to receive feedback.

Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions

Analyzing

While part the weekly staff meetings can be spent on analyzing performance, you should carve out at least an hour every month to dig into WHY your business is performing the way it is. Are we pricing too high … or too low? Do clients respond well to our media kit or is it regarded as fluff without an actionable value proposition? Do we need to conduct training on how to sell our latest offering?

As a team, discuss what you can do better. Challenge status quo and brainstorm solutions. Reach out to fellow magazine publishers and invite them to come to you to talk about something that is really working well for them. Evaluate to see if you’d benefit from implementing their ideas.

Create a joint plan as a team and pitch it to the executive leadership team / the CEO, depending on your organization’s structure and size. Even if you are a small company, make it part of your culture to do this and allow for sales team members to pitch their ideas from time to time to create a sense of ownership.

Implementing solutions

Implementing Solutions

Don’t be one of those who create improvement plans without executing on them. Use the meetings with the executive leadership team to report out on progress on past improvement initiatives and to get decisions on new ones.

If an initiative proves ineffective, kill it as soon as possible. Too many ongoing initiatives are only going to spread you thin and the team will loose sight on what’s important.

As solutions gets approved, assign the initiative to ONE person, assign the necessary resources needed to complete the task and set a reasonable time schedule. Shared responsibility is no responsibility.

Review progress during the weekly staff meetings to ensure things are going in the right direction. This is where the continual improvement cycle starts again … by monitoring how well the solutions are implemented and how effective they are.

Get help from RunMags to implement a continual improvement model

Our staff has extensive experience from implementing sales methodologies and improvement models. Send an email to sales@runmags.com for more information and to schedule a meeting to see how we can help you.

Performance Improvement Excellence

Download RunMags’ continual improvement template!

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6 precautions to take because sales reps leave

Sales reps leave their employment and move on in their careers. It’s just the way things are and it’s a healthy thing. But from time to time we get feedback from potential customers that RunMags is WAAAAAY to open and that it’s too easy for sales reps to walk away with customer data to a competitor. So how do we suggest you manage this?

Great collaboration vs. great protection

At RunMags, we believe that there’s more to gain from having the entire team collaborate to provide customers with the best service possible than there is from shielding data from employees. Making it possible for ANY person within your organization to receive a call, pull up the customer record in RunMags and HELP that customer do business is not only good customer service. It also makes your employees feel valued and trusted – a key ingredient in retaining your most talented employees.

With that said, you do need to take some precautions because even employees with the best of intentions may be tempted to steal your data … if the opportunity presents itself. Follow these six steps to protect your business when sales reps leave.

1. Include a confidentiality clause in the employment contract

This is the formal way to legally protect your business. Include one or two paragraphs that states that the employee will keep secret all trade secrets and confidential information of your company. Get a lawyer to write this up for you so that you are legally protected when sales reps leave.

2. Let it be known that customer information belongs to your company

Educate your employees from the start that customer records, sales information, email, etc. is property of the company they work for. Also, be VERY open about the fact that it’s possible for you to see if someone is downloading customer data from RunMags and that the company can see if an employee has emailed data to their personal email account. Also, openly state that legal action will be taken if misconduct is suspected. A word of caution: state this as fact – not as a threat. You want to make sure your employees feel that the CRM makes their job easier, not that its purpose is to control customer data.

3. Be supportive of employees who leave you

We live in a small world and there’s always more to gain from treating employees who leave well. If you’ve done anything right in managing your business, turning in the resignation is most likely not an easy thing to do. Recognize that and if the employee is a high performer, let them know they are always welcome back. Changes are that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence and hiring someone you know who is already up to speed on how your business works is cheap compared to hiring someone who’s fresh.

4. Reaffirm the confidentiality agreement when an employee resigns

The same day an employee turns in their resignation, send them an invite for their exit interview and also attach a one page document you ask them to sign to reaffirm that they will not leave their employment with any of the company’s intellectual property, i.e. customer databases, sales data, etc. In many countries the employee can just disregard the document since they signed up for the confidentiality clause when they started their employment. But that’s fine because the value of the document isn’t really to get a signature. It’s to REMIND the employee about the confidentiality clause they’ve been working under throughout their employment.

5. Check the user log in RunMags to see if data has been exported

In RunMags, go to Admin >>> Co-workers. Search and find the employee that just resigned and go to the tab called System events. Review the event log to see if large volumes of data has been exported. If necessary, use this if you take legal action.

6. Transfer accounts to another employee

As quickly as possible, create a transition plan. Preferably, if your employee is leaving on good terms, have them introduce key accounts to a new rep. Make the customer feel confident that they will get the same or better support from the new rep. As part of this process, bulk transfer the accounts in RunMags to the new rep. You can do this in Admin >>> System settings, under the Mass update tab.

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Cold calling script – coach your sales team to sell advertising

If you run a magazine and have been selling advertising, it’s likely that you have a lot of cold calling experience. Use our guide and free cold calling template to revamp your insight and coach your sales team in the art of designing awesome cold calling scripts for themselves.

Using a cold calling script will help you avoid sounding like a blabbering idiot

This should be the number 1 argument for sales reps who believe they can just wing it. If you’re not using a script it’s likely that each call will sound different and that the are progressively getting worse and worse.

The script will keep you on track so that you can gather intelligence about the client rather than trying to think of what to say next.

Research the prospect before calling

Scripts should be designed to intrigue the prospects you are calling. Depending on what your clientele looks like, their position, your geo location and other variables, take ten minutes to do a little bit of research before you call. This research will help you if you are able to get past the first crucial minute – the usual time it takes for most to say they are not interested or even just hang up.

Research their website, google them and also look up the person you’re about to call on LinkedIn. This makes them less cold for you. In today’s business environment it’s usually not good enough to just present your product, but if you can show them that you’re actually interested in helping them grow their business, you are more likely to grow your own.

Define your goal before calling

Your script should be laser focused on driving the prospect towards your goal so you better make sure you understand what your goals is. Do you want an in-person meeting, are you looking for permission to create a pitch and/or are you calling to determine if they are a good fit for your publication?

Don’t be afraid of being up front with this, even to put this into the second or third sentence in your script. People tend to be busy so if you are holding your goal back, you may just be making your prospect impatient.

Get to your value story quickly

Don’t spend too much time asking for permission to take up the prospects time, but rather weave that into the ending of your leadin. If your script is not good enough to hold water for more than three sentences you should not be calling at all.

—– Beginning of Script —–

Hi Terry?

(Prospect: Yes.)

Melissa here from Nifty Magazine. I have done some research about your company and I believe we can help … [replace with; grow your business, reach specific clients segments, generate leads for your sales team, etc.] Do you have a quick minute to discuss?

(Prospect: Sure, you can have 1 minute.)

Great! Terry, I’m sure you are busy and want to respect your time, so I’ll be brief. If my research is correct, your clients … [replace with; procure huge amounts of, are located in, have some time to kill on breaks, etc] Is this correct?

(Prospect: Yes, but they also …. ) [truly listen to the prospect, ask questions, and take notes in your CRM system, i.e. RunMags]

I understand. Nifty Magazine is published with premium content in print and then we have more up-to-date articles on our website to drive engagement. Experience tells us that people tend to give the print magazine their undivided attention during breaks and that related news and articles is effectively reaching them by email and on our website.

(Prospect: OK, so how does that help me?)

With your permission, I’d like to take what I have learned from you during this call, go back to my desk and device a cost effective plan for how we could add value to your business. I want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck as possible. Can we schedule a call on either Monday or Tuesday next week so I can present this plan to you?

(Prospect: Sure, Tuesday at 10 am works for me.)

Great! Shall I call you on this number and also, please let me know your email address so I can send you my plan and also a meeting invite.

(Prospect: Yes, that works. My email is terry@prospect.com.)

Perfect! I have what I need for now. It’s been great talking to you. I wish you a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you on Tuesday.

(Prospect: Sound good. Thanks!)

Thank you, bye for now.

(Prospect: Bye)

—– End of Script —–

Design cold calling scripts for your Buyer Personas

Prospects are not created equal and you will be more effective in your dealings with them if you understand what’s driving and motivating them. If you take a look at this Cold Calling Script Template, you’ll see that it’s actually designed with a specific Buyer Persona in mind – Terry the small business owner.

If you haven’t already defined Buyer Personas for your business and would like to know more about how to do this, read this blog post where you will also find a template for Buyer Personas. Design your scripts for each Buyer Persona so that you quickly can navigate past gate keepers or blockers, and be ready to strike if you’re able to connect with a decision maker.

More effective than circulation and readership numbers

Even if your publication is not well known and the client have not heard about it, try hold yourself off from listing proof points from your media pack. While circulation and readership numbers may be important indicators for agents, don’t assume that they are to a small business owner who leads with rational needs. Instead, focus on emotional needs and the actual value that you can delivery, i.e. more business for your prospect.

As you have done your research, increase your sales effectiveness by becoming a trusted confidant that help the client stand out as a thought leader and/or reach clients that they could otherwise not reach. If your website and subscriber database allow for it, be ready to talk about which customers you client would like to reach and how you can help with that.

If you are able to intrigue the client enough to the point where you get to talk about how you can help them get more business, you may also want to explore offering additional services, for example branding and marketing expertise, artwork design, cold calling 🙂 As you put together your Deal in RunMags, think of ways you can expand your product inventory and grow with your clients.

Practice, practice, practice

One final, important note: Do not read the script, under any circumstances. Instead, practice the script as written, and then practice it from memory–so that the words emerge naturally, as if you just thought of them, the moment you began speaking.

This is what great stage actors do. They rehearse until the words are “part of them”–then, when they speak lines they’ve spoken on stage 100 or even 1,000 times before, each performance seems fresh and exciting.

Also, when you ask a question as part of the conversation, stop and actually listen to the customer. Don’t plow through like a carnival pitchman. This is about having a conversation, not about getting the words out of your mouth.

Good luck!


Resources

Cold Calling Script Template
How to create Advertising Buyer Personas

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How to create Advertising Buyer Personas

In today’s business environment your clients are learning and informing themselves on their own, mostly using the internet. At the time they contact you (if they even contact you), they have already completed 60% of their buying process.

To you as a publisher, that may mean that when you are being asked to provide a quote, you have little chance to influence the client’s advertising strategy, or how your products can be combined, and on top of this … [scary horror sounds] you may be competing on price alone.

Create Advertising Buyer Personas to influence early decision making

Use your website, social media, and even IRL events to target your ideal customers with exactly the message they need to hear and adopt. Tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. To make sure your content creators understands who your ideal customers are, you should create Advertising Buyer Personas.

Create Advertising Buyer Personas to pave the way for your sales team

Cold Calling is not dead, regardless of what hard core content marketing supporters are preaching. Ad buyers don’t tend to don’t close themselves but your sales rep’s first call to a client is going to be a lot warmer if the client is already aware of your publication and the value you bring. To make sure your sales reps understands who your ideal customers are, you should create Advertising Buyer Personas.


Customer Purchase Decision Timeline

So, what is an Advertising Buyer Persona?

Think about the individuals that work for a select group of companies you want to sell ads to. Be picky. Go for the companies that can see a benefit in partnering with you, the ones with repeat business, the ones that pay on time. What group of people work there and who do you interact with? Is that only one individual, the company chief? Or is it two to three different individuals who influence the decision making process before the decision maker makes the final decision?

These people that come to your mind should form the basis for a set of fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers – your Advertising Buyer Personas. They help you understand your customers/prospects better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

In our blog post on Cold Calling Scripts we have created a script for a specific Buyer Persona in mind – Terry the small business owner. That is one specific persona. Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. If you’re new to personas, start small. You can always develop more personas later if needed.

If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer (and see higher sales productivity).

The process for creating Advertising Buyer Personas

Creating Advertiser Buyer Personas is an iterative process that involves several people in your organization; leadership, marketing and sales. The end goal is to create a document of some form – one for each persona – and this document should evolve over time to allow for fine tuning. There are five typical steps involved in creating the personas:
Step 1: Do research on the background of your ideal clients.
Step 2: List job titles, roles and also company information.
Step 3: List what the personas value, what drives them and what they fear.
Step 4: Sum all this up in a great looking pitch.
Step 5: Give your buyer persona a name that is easy to connect with.

Buyer Personas in the digital world

While it’s important to know your audience when you prepare targeted presentations and call scripts, it’s even more important online. There you’re not in control of the engagement in the same way and you can’t read the client so you can adjust your messaging on the fly.

Rather than just having one static page on your website where advertisers can access your media kit, create a micro site that offers education and really sell the value you can offer. Experiment with different landing pages and messaging targeting each of the personas. If possible, find a way to collect user information (email address, name, company name, persona) from people that download your media kit or educational content – then send more educational content to their email address and track them as they return to your website. That’s all possible with today’s web technology. When combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content.

Resources

Advertising Buyer Persona Template
Contact us today to learn how RunMags can help you reach your Advertising Buyer Personas


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RunMags Change Management methodology and best practices

How to Manage Change: a Do-It-Yourself Guide

People typically find change difficult and various studies show that a large portion of CRM implementation projects fail, often due to poor user acceptance of the new platform.

In the corporate world, consulting companies charge hefty fees to help you manage change: they sell workshops, offer project management services and support for the leadership team.

RunMags is all about cost effectiveness and our mission is to make magazine publishing manageable and profitable. That’s why we have created this Do-It-Yourself Guide on how to manage change within your organization and thereby saving money that otherwise would be spent on consultants.

Background

We have developed a RunMags specific Change Management methodology and best practices to support our customers in implementing RunMags in their organization. You can access it on our support site. As RunMags is really a CRM, part fulfillment and part Accounting system, the method is certainly focused on managing the challenges concerning implementing an IT platform, changing business processes, and motivating staff. But the foundation is generic in nature and can be used for virtually any change project.

Use our Do-It-Yourself Guide to avoid the pitfalls often associated with an organizational change, the implementation of a CRM platform or the roll out of your new sales rep bonus scheme.

Pragmatic approach to Change Management

As organization structure, culture and history varies from publisher to publisher, managing the change process when introducing a new company-wide software tool is bespoke by default. In a hierarchical organization, the change can be dictated in a very different manner than in an organization with a more informal management culture. But that doesn’t mean that it will last. It might just become the new flavor of the month that the staff adapts to, knowing that in six months, there will be a new thing.

The RunMags Change Management methodology is created to provide a framework that can be used in a very pragmatic fashion, regardless of which organization we’re implementing our software in. Key is that management is aware of the challenges and actively communicates to support the change throughout the various stages.

We must certainly manage the technical aspects of rolling out the software, but the softer side of the change is equally important – and this is what most organizations miss. To be successful, you absolutely HAVE to understand the personal drivers of your staff and align them with your change management project.

Access the Do-It-Yourself Guide and article on our support site here.

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Why Automated Email makes sense for Magazine Publishers

On average, automated email drives 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” emails.

If you are a Magazine Publisher, you may be using marketing emails to send out promotional (permission marketing) offers on behalf of advertisers or maybe your magazine website is set up to send a transactional email to those who subscribe to your various newsletters and updates. Both marketing and transactional emails serves a purpose, but they are frequently ignored by the people that receive them.
So what is then automated email and how can you employ that?

Automated Email bridges the gap between transactional and marketing email

Because of CAN-SPAM (and other country’s laws) rules and guidelines, transactional emails can NOT contain promotional content. Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. Email sending laws vary significantly between countries so make sure you truly understand the laws where you operate!

Transactional emails are an automation of customer service while automated emails, on the other hand, are a direct response to a user request or site visit and are part of an automation flow, with highly personalized and relevant content. Automated email is sent to individual customers automatically, like transactional email, but allows for more robust messaging opportunities like marketing email.

SendGrid’s Automated Email Guide

At RunMags we use SendGrid to send our own customer-facing emails but we also use SendGrid’s email service integrated into RunMags for our high volume customers that want world-class email deliverability of artwork reminders, renewal offers, and marketing email. Sendgrid provides unmatched deliverability, scalability, and reliability for companies like Airbnb, Uber and Spotify, plus their API makes for a really great integration with RunMags.

This past week SendGrid released a great guide you can download here. The Automated Email Guide provides you with an introduction to this automated email and gives you some key takeaways on how this new form of email can complement your existing transactional email and marketing email campaigns. Download your copy today to learn more about how you can start sending more relevant and timely emails.

Readers of magazines value targeted-relevant-timely content

Magazine publishers are uniquely positioned to leverage automated email with their (usually) large subscriber base. Each subscriber once opted in to receive emails so as long as the content is relevant to the subscriber and provided at a convenient time, chances are that the subscriber will consider them valuable. In other words, Content is indeed King, but a King need diligent delivery servants in order to be effective.

In RunMags you can segment and categorize advertisers and tag both advertiser and subscriber contacts. Along with demographic data that you can allow your subscriber base to share with you, automated emails can therefore be sent to cater to their individual interests as well as how they are interacting with your website.

Say you run a lifestyle magazine and one of the articles in your online magazine covers an amazing skiing resort and a subscriber clicks a Call-to-Action to learn more. At that very time, receiving an offer to get 20% off on the accommodation is likely not going to be the perfect timing. The reader is more likely to respond positively to the offer if they’ve had some time to think about it, maybe also talk it over with their spouse. So say they get an email offer during the following weekend instead, at a time when they are relaxed at home together with whomever the other decision makers are – THEN the campaign is way more likely to hit it off.

That is only one example of how automated email can be used by Magazine Publishers. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how you can set up workflows and automated emails in RunMags and have SendGrid deliver them for you.

Image and referenced guide, courtesy of SendGrid.

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Get your snail mail anywhere in the world with EarthClassMail

If you run a magazine, say a travel and lifestyle one, and you enjoy spending extended time in a new country with your family, learning how to salsa dance and drink great wine during your time off — How do you manage the inbound snail mail for your business so that important mail or a deadline isn’t missed?

Enter EarthClassMail

At RunMags Inc. we use EarthClassMail, a service that is bringing postal mail kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The only physical address that the State, the IRS and our bank have on file for RunMags Inc. is an address that EarthClassMail has furnished us with. There is NO other address in existence for RunMags. Granted, we don’t get that much snail mail, but most of the snail mail that we do receive is quite important, for example trade mark applications, banking documents, etc.

Any parcel that EarthClassMail receives on our behalf is digitized so that we can read and manage our mail online, from anywhere in the world. If we want to keep the original parcel, EarthClassMail will forward it to the employee that needs it.

Q&A with Robert Bergqvist, CEO of RunMags

If you like to travel and are interested in practical advice for traveling the world, check out the Q&A interview that EarthClassMail did with Robert Bergqvist. You can access their blog post here: https://goo.gl/kTrJEs

We’ll see you on Planet Earth!

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How to ensure data quality when importing into a CRM system

This post is actually long overdue. Data quality is such an important matter because on a mission critical platform, you live and die by that data. Bad data just makes life miserable for the users and who wants a miserable life!? 🙂

We continually add advice and tips and tricks to our support site at feedback.runmags.com. For you benefit we have created a whole page on how to go about importing data into RunMags, or any other CRM system for that sake. We have also created templates for use with Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel that you can use.

Because of the importance of the subject, we’re also posting the entire article as a blog post. Please let us know if you have additional advice!

The support article

If you want to bulk import company and contact information for advertisers, agents, and subscribers, we can help you do that. We can also import production data and magazine data from legacy systems, Please initiate a support case on the right hand side of this page, hand over a file and we’ll make sure the file is in good order and then import it.

Please take good care to clean the data before an import. User adoption will be much higher if the contacts are imported under the correct company name, if addresses and phone numbers are correct, etc.

How to ensure great data

Cleaning your data before an import is actually much easier than most people think. While it indeed is a cumbersome and time consuming process, there’s no black magic to ensuring you only import data that can be readily used by all employees. If you come to us with a list of some 300-500 advertisers to import, it’s not very difficult to open that up in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and manually change and add data in each field. It just takes a few hours. If you come to us with 5 different lists with 10,000 – 50,000 subscribers in each file, tools like Excel is not ideal. In that case, we’ll use Microsoft Visual Studio to open up the files and find duplicates, etc.

In the text below we’ll cover how you can clean your own data in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets before you send it to us. Since you know your advertisers much better than we’ll ever do, you’re better equipped to clean your data than we are. Plus you save some money when you do it yourself.

When we talk about cleaning data, we simply refer to filling to the process of creating a single Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets file that can be imported. In the perfect world, that file:

  1. Has some 15-30 columns and many hundreds of rows, one row per Contact (i.e. that you want to import and each column represent data for that contact, for example Organization name or the contact’s email address.
  2. Has each and every cell filled out only with data that should be imported. Since you want the Organization name to be correct, you want to have the exact letters, numbers and dots that make up the legal entity. The legal entity for our company is exactly “RunMags Inc.” and not “Runmags, Inc.” or “RUNMAGS INC”.
  3. Is sorted by Organization name and if you have several Contacts per Organization, you should make certain the Organization Name is identical for all those Contacts.

Tips & Tricks for catching bad data

If you know how to program code, you can write scripts that catch errors, finds duplicates and eliminate them. If you don’t know how to program, you can use your eyes and a healthy dose of common sense. For a list with 500-1,000 rows, it takes about the same time to clean the data and you will get better quality doing it manually rather than by code. Why? Because you are more adaptable to various issues than the computer. You can spot a problem simply by looking at it, while the programmer will have to go through an iteration of creating various rules for catching and correcting the issues.

  1. Set yourself up so that you can work without getting disturbed for a few hours.
  2. If possible, work with your data on a large monitor as this will help you view several columns at the same time.
  3. Start by sorting the data by Organization name, scroll though the file to find Organizations that really should have the exact same name and correct it.
  4. Then sort by Country, State/Region and Zip code. When you do this you’ll quickly find that you can add a lot of data quickly.
  5. Then sort by the Contact’s email address. When you do this you typically find a lot of duplicates that you can delete.
  6. Finally, sort by the Contact’s first name and last name to find the last batch of duplicates that you can delete.
  7. While you are going through the steps above, correct missing data, remove dots and split up data into the right columns.

After a while you will see that the file start to look better and better. If you see fit after completing the step above, reiterate the process in order to catch the last few items.

There’s one other trick that may help you and that is that you can use the templates in the next section to create your import files.

File formats for importing


We have prepared files you can use as a template for building your import file. You can populate these files with data from legacy systems as well as exports from email platforms such as Gmail or Outlook. Just delete the sample data row and paste the information into the corresponding columns. Don’t worry about formatting the data as the import will not recognize this.

Advertiser Data – Google Sheet
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gMQVYwOSgim3V-0aY5H72_slsOQrPPrA-vkmUyzAB3Q/edit?usp=sharing

Advertiser Data – CSV
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByBQyPdWHx8pczhNcWNQb1hNOFk/view?usp=sharing

Subscriber Data – Google Sheet
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/151Z_hyffU3Nscrd5W97bYOr12C7UT00oQQoe4ABr2QY/edit?usp=sharing

Subscriber Data – CSV
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByBQyPdWHx8pdHJrNHduUzd3d28/view?usp=sharing

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Communication apps that save Magazine Publishers money

At RunMags, we are Google Apps addicts! Our platform is deeply integrated with the Google Apps Ecosystem, making it possible for users to sign in to RunMags seamlessly using their Google account and when working in RunMags use Google Email, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Hangouts and more.

User frustration from multiple windows popping up, software that has to be installed, documents and forms loading slowly, and different passwords for different system must be avoided as much as possible. That’s why we love Google Apps! By avoiding these issues, we get happier employees, we improve productivity and we save money.

In our quest to run our own company on the Google Apps Ecosystem, we’re constantly on the lookout for other apps and services that work well with the tools we’re already using … and sometimes a new app appears that make us switch out one that we’ve been using for some time. With this post we’d like to share our experience because we believe that a few of the tools that we are using can also be communication apps that save Magazine Publishers money.

UberConference.com

UberConference is a freemium phone conferencing tool that let you schedule and conduct calls with multiple attendees, share your screen and collaborate. At RunMags, we use UberConference for customer demos, training and for internal meetings.

Attendees can join via your custom internet link or call your own dedicated number, toll or toll free within the US or Canada, but don’t need a PIN to join. When everybody is on the call, you can see who’s joined the call and where they are calling in from.

On the call you have HD audio and the ability to mute/unmute callers, text, record the call, and share your screen with impressive quality. The Google Apps integration also allow you start a conference within a Google Docs document, making it really easy to collaborate.

In addition, UberConference offers international call-in access from over 40 countries, custom hold music and outbound dialing to simultaneously call everyone when the meeting starts. Once the meeting is over you can have meeting notes automatically go to your Evernote account for future reference.

As a Magazine Publisher, you and your team can use UberConference to show potential advertisers available inventory in the upcoming issue, walk them through a target segment of your subscribers, and collaborate on any matters that may arise. Schedule your weekly calls with the team in Google Calendar and have everybody join with the click of a button.

Switch.co

If you recently have called us on our toll free 1800-RUNMAGS (786-6247) or toll 646-854-4001, you have used Switch.co without knowing it. It is also likely that the person at RunMags you talked to was not in the United States at the moment as we tend to travel and live quite a nomadic lifestyle.

Switch is a phone system for modern companies. There’s no hardware to purchase and users can make outbound calls and receive inbound calls using their computer or Apple/Android phone wherever they are in the World.

For $15 per month, you get one main business line for your company, unlimited domestic calls and texts, and if you want to set your whole team up with a Switch phone number, you would just pay $15 per person and month. Your Switch numbers will let you make and receive unlimited domestic calls and text messages from your mobile phone or computer-whichever device works for you and your team.

You can call numbers on the web by clicking the number. Whether from an email signature, your favorite CRM (i.e. RunMags), or any number on the web, the Switch.co Chrome extension enables instant calling to increase efficiency.

As a Magazine Publisher, you and your team can use Switch to organize sales, fulfillment, finance, and other departments with a virtual receptionist. Direct callers using a dial-by-name directory, custom greetings, and business hours. Switch will make it easy to transfer and forward calls to coworkers, check voicemail, and record calls all with a click from your desktop and mobile apps.

Calendly.com

Magazine Publishing teams are a busy breed. There’s usually not much spare time and the small amount of it you have should not be wasted on inefficient schedule coordination. Say hello to Calendly and say goodbye to email and phone tag.

Through a nice integration with Gmail and Google Calendar, Calendly let you publish your available schedule to your personal Calendly webpage. Make it super easy for customers to connect with you, regardless of timezone, and avoid back-to-back meetings by blocking out a time period before or after meetings, giving yourself a break.

Calendly is offered as a freemium service where the $10 per month version removes Calendly branding and allow you to personalize notifications and send automated reminders.

Try the tools by signing up for a demo of RunMags

Sign up for a demo of RunMags here to learn how you can use RunMags together with UberConference, Switch and Calendly.

Free 14 day trial

Try RunMags for free, set up your company and users to see how much the service will cost when your trial ends.

No commitment, no credit card, no spam.