Ring! Your Best Web Marketing Tool is Calling

By: Guest | August 16, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Andy Crestodina.

The best web marketing tool is sitting right in front of you.

It’s on your desk. It’s in your pocket. It’s your phone.

Great online networking seeks to build even stronger connections. But stay online and you’ll eventually reach the “post of diminishing returns.”

Ask yourself:

1. How often do you upgrade past tweets and email to a real, human-voice conversation?
2. If you’ve never heard someone’s voice, can you really say you know them?

Yes, it takes guts. That’s why so few web marketers do it. But here’s the good news: In a world of posts, comments, shares, tweets, and email, it’s easy to be extraordinary. Dial.

How to Blow Someone’s Mind

Call the person who left that thoughtful comment on your blog. Call the person who wrote that lovely post. The person you tweet with every day. The person you haven’t talked to in years. Just look up the number and start dialing.

Hello! Now what? Thank them. Congratulate them. Offer to help them. Now share ideas, brainstorm, collaborate, make recommendations, make introductions. You may be surprised at what happens.

Pro Tip: Stop reading this post. Think of someone you’ve connected with online, but never spoken with. Look up the number and call. Say hello, introduce yourself, see what happens.

Example: The Best Tool in Action

Here is an example of how I’ve recently used the phone to the surprise and delight of the person on the other end.

I’ve never met Chris, but I mentioned his website in a blog post recently. He commented and I responded. Later, Nina wrote to me asking if I would recommend Chris’s company. Hmm, but I didn’t know Chris…yet. So I read his site, watched his video, then called him. It was a short but lovely conversation.

What happened next? Chris and Nina were introduced (via email) and they’re talking about her project. That call also led to an introduction between Chris and another friend, Marti (on Twitter). They made a quick video together the next day (on Google+). More connections soon followed (LinkedIn).




The outcome of the call was a blast of activity, new connections, and web marketing. Best of all, next time Chris is in Chicago, we’re planning to get together. That’s the final communication upgrade: Face-to-face.

Great Web Marketing is Calling. Pick it Up. 

There are a bazillion web marketing tools. But the best web marketing tool is offline. Like the forgotten inbox (your USPS mailbox), that phone on your desk is a powerful marketing tool. Try it. It’s fun!

Andy Crestodina is the strategic director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago. Yes, you can connect with Andy on and Twitter, or you can contact him using his favorite web marketing tool by dialing 773.353.8301.

  • Amen. A good reminder that I need to update my contact page. 🙂 
    So call me? 

    • crestodina

       @jasonkonopinski I literally just went to your contact page to call you…but there’s no phone number. That was almost an extraordinary moment… But it’s not too late! Call anytime for any reason. 🙂

      •  @crestodina Don’t tempt me. 🙂 
        But – I will definitely call you tomorrow. Scout’s honor. 

        • crestodina

           @jasonkonopinski Looking forward to it. 🙂

  • This makes so much sense it’s ridiculous. I’m going to be calling some folks real soon.
    (I hope @ginidietrich doesn’t think I’m just another stalker.)

    •  @barrettrossie  Don’t call me! I don’t answer.

  • So simple, and actionable, great advice!

    • crestodina

       @sanjayshetty Thanks, Sanjay. Called anyone today? 🙂

      •  @crestodina
        Andy if you’re on skype would love to chat, let me know your id. my id is sanjay.shetty
        To all the others commenting/reading this, feel free to connect with me on my skype id:sanjay.shetty
        Sanjay Shetty
        Mumbai, India

  • Love this!!! 

  • FelicityFields

    @ginidietrich I can testify as a phone-ee: some of my best, unexpected connections have come through people calling me up from a biz group!

  • terence.stephens

    Amazing idea yet so simple. Thanks — I’ve got some big plans for this piece of advice!

  •  crestodina This is great. I also love the hand written note; but however you do it we need to move from on-line to real time in order to move the relationship forward…

    • crestodina

       @blfarris I thought of you while writing this Brad. In the early days of social media, you were one of the people who first told me about the virtues of upgrading connections from online tweets to offline meetings.
      Thanks for leading the charge. Let’s get together for an analog and face-to-face beer soon…

  • This is great, and I try to do the phone call thing (or Skype) regularly. I remember the time my phone rang out of the blue and it was shonali just calling on a whim. Completely floored me. I’ve had conversations via phone or Skype with quite a few folks and I’ve even done this on a more hyperlocal level.
    But, I need to do it more. Just because.

  • magriebler

    True story: I met @socialmediadds here at Spin Sucks. When she reached out to me through Twitter and FB, we learned she works in my hometown, and now we’re having real tea in a real location next week. (Hopefully we both look like our Twitter avatars or I’m in trouble. I thought about suggesting we both wear red roses.) At any rate, thanks @andycretodina, for reminding us that we can deepen our online relationships by taking them into our three-dimensional world.

    •  @magriebler  @socialmediadds OMG! I’m sooooooo jealous!

      • magriebler

        Ditch that travel schedule of yours and join us!

    • crestodina

       @magriebler Thanks for sharing the story. It’s fun when two people who met on Twitter finally meet in real life. There’s that Aha moment of avatar-to-human-face connection, sometimes followed by “you’re taller/shorter than I thought you’d be!”

    •  @magriebler I LOVE this!!  Maybe, for once, I’m actually in that “perfect” generation that still revels in good old fashioned face to face communication and yet completely and thoroughly embraces digital technology and social media.  I see the amazing value in both forms of communication but…at the end of the day…nothing beats the warmth and “high” of “in person” meetings.  That said, I can’t wait to meet Marianne next week (it IS a fun story, isn’t it?) !  And @ginidietrich you know that you are always welcome!

  • Andy!Awesome post. I love talking to people on the phone (or in person). It adds such a human element and strengthens a connection. After live conversation, I feel like I know the person that much better. Social media is a great way to meet people, however I feel like it leads to introverted networking. It allows for a cold lead to become a warm lead but nothing beats live human interaction.
    Thanks so much for the post and I will talk to you very soon 🙂 

  • Andy!
    Awesome post. I love talking to people on the phone (or in person). It adds such a human element and strengthens a connection. After live conversation, I feel like I know the person that much better. Social media is a great way to meet people, however I feel like it leads to introverted networking. It allows for a cold lead to become a warm lead but nothing beats live human interaction.
    Thanks so much for the post and I will talk to you very soon 🙂

    • crestodina

      Glad you liked this, @GeoffReiner.  It makes such a difference. And since so few people do it, it’s so easy to stand out. 
      Feel free to call anytime. 🙂

  • Tanishaszglw


  • crestodina

    RT @geoffreiner great blog post 🙂 Attn Marketers: Pick up the phone and call your people!

  • chrisgoward

    Thank you for making the call, Andy! It was great to meet you by phone and I look forward to connecting next in Chicago or wherever our paths cross next.

    • crestodina

       @chrisgoward Thanks for the conversation and inspiration. Our quick call was the impetus for this post. I’ve been making semi-random calls all year and good things always happen. 
      Glad we’re connected. Let’s keep in touch.

  • chrisgoward

    @crestodina Good one, Andy! Thanks.

  • I’m not going to lie. I think I would creep out if a blogger called me to thank me for a comment. I guess that’s a testament to our society and the aversion to the phone. Having said that, I love your point. I really do. And having a chat in person, on the phone, via video skype just takes the relationship to the next level.
    I loved meeting shonali for the first time IRL at BlogWorld. It felt like we knew each other already so well; we hugged and just picked up where we left off!!! 🙂 I’m pretty sure I was just complaining about the long line at Starbucks. 🙂

    •  @Lisa Gerber  shonali See, I had the very same experience meeting you and Gini for the very first time last December at the BlueKey Tweetup. 
      Of course, hugging Shonali recently rocked my world, too. 🙂 

  • gettelfinger

    Hey Andy…taking your advice and calling you with good feedback on this article!

  • econwriter5

    Oh. Not supplants. “@ginidietrich A great case study on how the phone supplements your online activities by …

    • ginidietrich

      @econwriter5 Ha!

  •  @crestodina Love this post and have used that tool you reference very effectively over the years and have garnered business and built some strong business relationships using it. Well done, you. 🙂

    • crestodina

       @allenmireles Thanks, Allen. I use it everyday! I like partly because compared to other web marketing tools, you can only have one “stream” open at a time. This helps keep me focused.
      You wrote a response to the “you must be 25 years old or younger to be a social media marketer” post, didn’t you? I’m guessing that the tool I mentioned here may not be fully appreciated by younger web marketers… 

  • Great article Andy! I have played around with this idea a little, but it is good to see it in writing and to hear the ideas/responses of others. marcussheridan  called me about a year ago and it really had a strong impact on my motivation, energy, and confidence at a time when I needed a boost. I will be forever grateful to him for it.

    • crestodina  marcussheridan Thats a great example, Brent. Had he sent an email or tweet, “forever grateful” probably wouldn’t have happened.
      Glad you liked the post!

  • PatBannon

    Andy, this article is terrific!  And I couldn’t agree with it more!  Reading good news is one thing, but hearing it is even better.

  • Okay, but you also have to consider the “level of interruption” — and whether it gets you where you want:

    • crestodina

       @kimmolinkama We should call Chris and ask for his opinion. 🙂 
      But seriously, I love his advice, but he operates on a completely different level. If you and the person you’re considering calling have less than 100k followers, you may both be happy to have taken 5 minutes to deepen a relationship. I’ve been doing this about once a month and I’ve never regretted it.
      I even got a call from someone who read this post. It was a pleasant surprise. Everyone is busy, but also, everyone knows that and wants to be considerate…

  • Rebecca Livermore

    I’m not big on phone, but even I am intrigued by this idea. I’d be more likely, however, to text someone as a way of easing into it, unless I already had a deeper relationship with the person. I do love the idea of talking via phone or Skype with someone I’m connecting with well online in order to bring the relationship to the next level.

  • Pon Angara

    This post made me smile. In this age of impersonal high-tech digital communications, what will help you rise from the clutter and set you apart is, in fact, the personal high-touch human interaction. The mere fact that you made the time to pick up the phone and call me says you consider me to be important enough. After all, aren’t we in a relationship economy? Thanks Andy!

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  • As Tyrese, R. Kelly and Ludacris say: Pick Up the Phone
    Thanks for Stumbling this Kate Hamilton !

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  • This is refreshing. Twitter, Facebook and Email aside, we get some of our greatest clients just by the “old school” cold-call.

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