There is no shortage of companies asking small businesses to shell out hundreds if not thousands of dollars to promote themselves. But if you’re like most small business owners, you could really use some free marketing ideas and tools to jumpstart your marketing. That’s why we’ve begun a weekly blog series featuring free tools for SMB owners to help you with your various marketing needs.
Email marketing remains the most effective channels for converting sales prospects into customers. Why? Not only is it cost effective, it provides you with the most direct line of communication to prospective customers. Our free tool of the week is Rapportive, a free plugin that both gives you a wealth of social information about your contacts and turns strangers into valuable connections. It’s a useful tool for any business professional or small business owner to grow their network, manage communities, and develop sales contacts.
By cross referencing the email addresses of your contacts with various social networks, Rapportive gives you a profile of your contacts, complete with a photo, social information and links to connect, and their most recent public status updates from multiple social media outlets.
Once installed, the Gmail add-on replaces the right hand sidebar that normally displays ads with the profile of your contact. Use Rapportive to put a face to a name, establish rapport through shared interests, grow your network, and add notes for later use.
Use Rapportive to find common ground with who you’re emailing. Although this might not be possible to do on a large scale, learning about the people you’re emailing through their public status updates will give you a point of reference when communicating with them. Mention shared interests and refer to recent tweets.
Since the plugin also pulls up photos of your contacts, making it easier to connect to contacts during networking events. Remember, Rapportive only pulls up publicly available data (see their policy on data and privacy) so there will be instances where the profiles for your contacts will be incomplete.
Connect and follow your email contacts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more. The plugin will pull information from a wide range of social networks like Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, GitHub, and much much more. Rapportive makes it easy to find your email contacts on various social media platforms and grow your networks on different platforms. The “Follow” buttons are conveniently located in the right hand sidebar.
In addition to the information the plugin provides you, Rapportive also allows you to add information for each contact. Directly type your notes into the notes form that can be found at the bottom of the Rapport sidebar.
Lastly, you can find almost anyone’s email address with Rapportive. Although the process takes a bit of trial and error, it works faster than most other methods. Starting with the person’s name, generate a list of possible email addresses. Copy and paste those addresses into a Gmail message, in the “To:” form. Mouse over each address and check out the social media profile in the Rapportive’s sidebar to find a potential match.
To try out Rapportive for your Gmail account, download the free plugin here (available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Mailplane). Integration with your Gmail account takes just a couple of minutes but currently, the plugin only works for Chrome browser. Try it out and make more meaningful connections with your email contacts.
Looking for more free online marketing tools to help you with your marketing? Subscribe to our blog to receive email updates or download our free guide,“45 Free Marketing Tools to Promote Your Business” to find more tools to help you research, create, and publish your marketing content.