Sunday, February 14, 2010

More video silliness: Twitter Uncovered: History and Monetization Revealed!

It's been one of those months. Sorry. But though I've been neglecting the blog, I've not been neglecting fun.

Here's a bit of stupidity that Jeff and I came up with some time ago that has finally been green-lit. Green-lighted? Green-lanterened? Anyhow, it's all about the little-known monitization angle and history of Twitter.

Or maybe we just made it all up. My money is on the latter.

And if you missed what kicked this off, here's the two of us pontificating on social media. Yes, we're serious about being not serious some times. And all the props go to Joe Holt for shooting and editing. He truly is the man.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Help me find an email management system for

Email contact help needed for
Image by evo_terra via Flickr
You know about, right? Pushing around 80,000 episodes of close to 400 serialized free audiobooks out to thousands of listeners every single day. Some listeners opt to make a donation to a book, and the author gets 75% of that. Yeah, I'm a hell of a guy.

I use PayPal in a very non-automated system to handle both the collection of donations from donors and distribution of funds to authors/producers. I've got a pretty good system going, but there's one spot I constantly fall down on -- thanking those who have donated.

I've resigned myself to the fact that I simply can't thank each of these people one at a time. It takes me the better part of 2 days to do it when they pile up, and I simply don't have the bandwidth to do it daily. It's hundreds of people that donate per quarter, but thanking them individually takes time.

And I really don't like the thought of an auto "thanks" to be sent out as soon as the donation is received. Yes, I could set up PayPal or something else to do this. But I don't want to. What I'd rather do is wait -- maybe a month -- and then send out a big "thanks" email to everyone who donated during that time. I'd include some quick stats on growth, new books coming... that sort of thing. Something of more value than just a "thanks", but something that doesn't have to be customized for each donor.

And that's why I'm turning to you. I need personal recommendations on good, solid and inexpensive contact management services. I'm perfectly capable of searching Google on my own and doing research on my own, so spare me the links to LMGTFY. I want to hear from those of you who know of a system that will accommodate my needs.

Here's the weekly/monthly/quarterly workflow as I see it:
  1. Export week/month/quarter of donations from PayPal
  2. Import that list -- just names and email addresses, probably -- into CMS
  3. Write up a nifty little letter of thanks and tells the list a bit about what happened to Would like this to be pretty-fiable.
  4. Send.

That's it. Of course, I know I'm building up a list -- possibly a big list, though we have many repeat donors -- of donors. I may opt to, though I never yet have, send them important updates from time to time. Things like the new site launch, and when we start selling versions of some of our books, too. Those will be one-off and certainly few and far between.

I have the names and email addresses of everyone who has donated in the past, so I'd like to start with a big import of those (no sending of anything), then import a list of donors since October 2009 that have yet to be thanked... and thank them.

So... what do you think? More importantly, what do you use? Spread this around if you know someone who uses email/contact management software and may be of assistance.

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