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Tools for the Trade: Flowtown finds online presence of contacts

Whoever told you that email is dead is wrong. Email addresses are still where the gold (or money, unless you’re Scrooge McDuck) lies. Thanks to tools like Flowtown, you can now use all those emails you’ve been collecting and turn them into real marketing power.

Flowtown is a social media marketing tool that takes your customer list of emails and digs up all the social info about your customers, including what social networks they are on and their influence online. (Image below, screenshot of Flowtown card for Ethan Bloch, from flowtown.com/tour.) Flowtown will also sync into all of your current workflow operations like your CRM, email marketing apps, and contact forms. I’ve integrated my Flowtown into both MailChimp email campaigns and Wufoo forms.

To me, using Flowtown is really a no-brainer, but if you’re not sure they offer an easy way to get started. For free you can import 50 contacts and play around with the tools to see what data Flowtown pulls back on your contacts. Then if you don’t want to commit to the quite affordable $17/month basic plan, you can use the pay-as-you-go plan which costs five cents per email import.

One of my favorite aspects of Flowtown is that they practice what they preach. Flowtown is a tool that helps you harness emails to improve social media marketing and the Flowtown team does an excellent job marketing themselves via the Flowtown blog. Chances are if you’ve clicked on a few viral infographics that one of them was created by Flowtown.

Because of their activity online, I connected with co-founder Ethan Bloch a few months ago and we’ve stayed in touch. I had Ethan answer a few questions for me via email about Flowtown and how the tool became to be.

Silicon Prairie News: Where did the idea for Flowtown come from?

Ethan Bloch: The idea for Flowtown came of out the desire to make marketing simple for small businesses. Dan Martell (co-founder) and I took a look at all the different problems small businesses faced when they choose to use the web as a marketing channel and built a ton of prototypes to solve many of these problems. We wound up doubling down on social marketing as it was something both Dan and I deeply understood, there was no good solution yet and it was a very big problem.

(Photo from flowtown.com/about-flowtown.)

What were the biggest challenges in developing your tool and getting to the point you are today?

Our biggest challenge has been building the team. We were three people for the first 18 months when we went from zero to 15,000-plus businesses on the platform. Dan and I always believed team came first were willing to undergo extreme growing pains as we found the right people. There were many and continue to be sleepless nights as we do with six what other companies do with 15-30.

How do you market/promote Flowtown?

Our blog is a pretty big driver of awareness, it does roughly 150k unique visits per month. We also get quite a lot of customers through Twitter and Facebook. We’re a social marketing company so it only makes sense we build our business off of social.

What type of users benefit from Flowtown?

Any business that uses the web to stay in touch with their customers would benefit from using Flowtown. Naturally if your company uses email to market to their customers Flowtown is a natural extension. Additionally if you’re just getting started with social media we’re a perfect fit as we help you get onboard and active wherever your customers are currently hanging out.

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