Lots of new BuzzStream features to talk about. The addition we’re most excited about is the Outreach Module, which we think has the potential to significantly improve the quality and speed of your outreach efforts…if BuzzStream were an 80′s teen sitcom, then this would most certainly be our “very special holiday episode.” Some might even say that it’s the most shocking episode of BuzzStream yet.
Now that you’re done rolling your eyes, let’s take a look at the new stuff.
New Feature: The Outreach Module
The Outreach Module gives you a way to conduct broad-based outreach, but without sacrificing personalization. You’ve told us that the way you often conduct outreach is to create a list, select a template and then customize it for each person to make it relevant to them (based on their interests, your relationship with them, their location, etc.). You’ve also told us that the process is time-consuming and not as effective as it could be because: a) you don’t have a quick and easy way to segment your list and apply a template to them, b) you’re bouncing between your email client and all of your sources of info for each person, and c) it can be hard to keep track of the status of the outreach efforts (e.g., who still needs to be contacted, who requires follow-up, etc.).
To address this, the Outreach Module makes it easy to segment your contacts into a list, apply a template to your contacts and then view the relationship info needed to personalize your emails without ever leaving the email. It also ties into BuzzStream’s task management and contact filtering capabilities to help you keep track of the contacts that require follow-up.
The Outreach Module is pretty simple…there are three steps to it:
1) Segment your contacts into an outreach list using BuzzStream’s filtering capabilities
2) Create an email template, which will serve as a starting point for each email you send
3) Personalize each email and send
The personalization step is where the fun begins. For each contact in your list, BuzzStream provides you with the contact record information on the same screen as the email you’re writing to them (populated with the template). All of the information about the contact is on the left-hand side and the email is on the right-hand side. You can hover over any articles, links, notes, etc to see all of the info. By putting this all in one screen, there’s no need to click back and forth searching for emails you’ve sent them in the past, blog posts they’ve written that are relevant to you, notes about them, etc. And once you’ve personalized the email, just click “Send and go to next contact” and you’ll be taken through your list.
For a full walk-through of the Outreach Module, check out this tutorial.
We took a very different approach to the design of this feature and we owe a big debt of gratitude to all of the people who contributed to the “Help us design the new outreach module” post on GetSatisfaction. This is the first time we’ve designed a feature in such a public way and I wasn’t sure how effective this approach would be. The results completely exceeded my expectations. Not only did the feedback have a major impact on the current release, it also gave us outstanding ideas for the next version. Special thanks to Adria Saracino, Blake Bookstaff, Jeremy Bencken, Margaret Conway, Jeff Novak, Christine Sadler, and Jools Weller. You guys rock!
New Feature: Improved Support for Team Discussions
Let’s say you’ve added a contact into BuzzStream and you need to ask a team member if the contact should be added to a campaign. BuzzStream now better supports contact-specific collaboration by letting you notify people when you add a note. Just click “notify team members” when you’re adding a note and select the people you want to notify:
They’ll receive an email notifying them that the note has been added and they can access the contact record with one click.
New Feature: Notifications for New Contacts and Overdue Tasks
We’ve added two new email notifications to help you make sure that the activities that are most important to you are getting done. First, if a task that you assigned to a team members is due or overdue, you’ll receive notification. You’ll also receive notification when someone assigns a contact to you.
New Feature: Add a Task to More than One Contact
Suppose you need someone on your team to research a list of contacts to find their email addresses. Rather than creating a task for each one, you can now associate the task with multiple contacts. To do this in BuzzStream, I might start by sorting by “email address” to find contacts that don’t have an email address and select these contacts:
Click ‘Edit’ and select “New Task”
If you assign the task to a team member, they’ll receive one email with a link that takes them to the full list of contacts.
New Feature: Bulk Notes
Similar to bulk tasks, we’ve also added the ability to add a note to multiple contacts. To do this, just select the contacts, click “Edit” and click “Add Note.”