Have you heard about ConnectUp, the new service that helps you organize and maintain your contacts across a variety of platforms and social networks? Imagine your Outlook and Facebook contacts working in harmony, your LinkedIn connections right alongside your Google friends. There’s also some great marketing potential as ConnectUp lets you create groups, personalized templates and targeted messages to segments of your network that I knew my fellow sellers and authors would be interested in learning more about. The only just opened to the public so I asked ConnectUp’s own Rob Garcia to stop by and answer a few questions about a service that you may not have heard of yet, but might be exactly what you need.

(Please note that this is not a referral post or paid advertising. I just stumbled on this service myself and thought it looked like something us whiners would be interested in learning more about.)

Connect Up

The Whine Seller: With today’s social media glut, we’ve all experienced that moment of exasperation where you know you’re connected to someone… you just can’t remember which of the platforms you’re a member of it’s on. Was it Facebook? Linked in? Gmail? ConnectUp sounds like a great way to help you organize this mess.

Rob Garcia: Not only that, Hillary, but we have all become what I call “hyperconnected”, but unable to communicate and engage with our connections. In other words, we have thousands of connections across all emails, social media outlets and phone, but we can’t seem to be able to take those connections and build genuine relationships to save our lives!

WS: It’s a problem of not just quantity of results but quality too. I have a few disorganized contact lists from a variety of platforms. There are duplicates, dead addresses, sometimes dozens of variations for a single human.

RG: You say “a few”. Actually, if we look at some recently published numbers, people are in at least 6 different sources of contacts (email accounts, your phone’s address book, several social and professional networking sites). Now let’s look at an average person with 2 email accounts (1 personal, 1 for work), LinkedIn, Facebook and your phone, and their average contacts “trapped” in there:

Here are some average numbers:

  • Personal email account: 581
  • Your phone’s address book: 664
  • Facebook friends: 350
  • LinkedIn connections: 930 (this is for professionals in leadership positions / CEO level)
  • Company email: 175 (this is a pure guess)

Assuming your contacts will be repeated in a couple of those sources, we are talking about a staggering 1,350 contacts that are trapped in multiple sources. They are unsearchable, incomplete, and unreachable.

This is the problem we solve: we help you bring all those contacts into clear view, but also de-dup, clean up and enhance your information so that all your contacts can be naturally filtered and searched, just like you would search on Kayak for flights or Amazon for products.

WS: Every site handles private messages a little differently. How seamless are messages sent through ConnectUp for the recipient versus the sender? Does a message sent through ConnectUp look different than one send through the Facebook or LinkedIn platform directly? Are text messages and emails handled differently?

RG: The reality is that all these platforms that have added messaging capabilities have different levels of engagement: InMails and LinkedIn messages have the worst open and response rate of all of them and is riddled with spam disguised as business opportunities. Facebook is more effective, but we have to understand that people don’t use it for business nor is every one of your contacts paying attention to those messages.

The best way to communicate and engage with your contacts comes down to 2 options: email and text. ConnectUp makes it easy to email and text to many people at once a message that is personalized to each recipient in your selection. We have made bcc, group emails/texts and copying-and-pasting obsolete. All you need to do is draft a message, we personalize it and send it to many people in your recipient list individually, via email or text, and regardless of where/how you are connected with that person.

WS: As a seller and author with stuff to market, I really like the idea of being able to group my contacts and send out customized templates that make a bulk email seem like a personalized one. It almost seems like ConnectUp could replace the traditional mailing list platform and let you contact your existing network directly but worry that it’d quickly be abused by marketers to send blasts outside of privacy rules and opts ins. What makes ConnectUp group messages different from an email blast? Are their limitations to what the service can do that necessitate still using a traditional mailing list service?

RG: Great question. ConnectUp is different from bulk mailing platforms in 2 ways: 1) those platforms focus on marketing to people you don’t necessarily know, and 2) ConnectUp sits in that space between 1:1 messages and mass emailing with a hyper-personalization product. ConnectUp is not about quantity, but about quality of the messaging, it’s about connecting and building stronger relationships through relevancy. Think about it as a way to scale your relationship building and networking activities.

WS: I, for one, have 4 main Gmail accounts that I use regularly to run my business and I know many sellers and authors are in the same boat where we’ve got multiple accounts on the same site. Many also have connections on a both a Facebook page and a profile or a separate account for each of their brands. There’s a real need to organize our contacts across accounts within the same service? Does ConnectUp allow support for multiple accounts?

RG: Yes, you can add multiple accounts and ConnectUp will read all your contacts from those accounts. But what’s more interesting, is that ConnectUp will figure out, with a high level of accuracy, if a contact you have on multiple platforms is the same person (you may be connected on LinkedIn, but have his/her phone number on your phone’s address book.

WS:  I don’t own a smartphone (I know, right?) but I need a way to group and organize my contacts as much as anyone. Is this service designed only for the mobile market or can someone take advantage of all the features from their desktop?

RG: ConnectUp is designed as both a web-based product and mobile app. The web product is very powerful, but the mobile app gives you that ability to quickly look up contacts and send a fast email to more than one person. For example, you are boarding your plane to New York, and want to see who you know there, then send them a quick note to connect while in town. The Web app is designed for larger scale, richer analytics and contact intelligence.

WS: Well, I’m excited to give it a try! So how do people sign up, and is there a cost?

RG: We recently opened up publicly after 5 months of invitation-only beta testing. You can get a FREE-forever account at www.connectup.com. We also have professional and business accounts that enrich your contact data and provide more advanced CRM-like functionality, at several monthly subscription costs starting at $8.99.

A big thanks to Rob for stopping by. If you find yourself with more questions, you can connect with Rob himself on Twitter @RobGarciaSJ.