What to do with all those business cards…

Have you ever attended a networking event and came home with a handful of business cards; most from people, which you only briefly met? You might ask yourself: “Is it okay to add these people to my database?”

No. Unless they explicitly give you permission to add them to your distribution list, DON’T DO IT! People are much more likely to mark your email as SPAM if they didn’t give you permission, and if you receive too many SPAM notices the ISPs will block your email because of it.

Studies show PERMISSION based email is much more effective than non-permission based email campaigns. So don’t just add those business cards to your database – ask permission first! Not only is this the right thing to do, but it’s also a terrific opportunity to follow-up in a meaningful way with your prospect; and if you forget to ask permission when you meet them, try sending a personal follow-up email instead. Sample Follow-up Email:

Dear ___,
I enjoyed meeting you at the mixer yesterday. I would like to learn more about your business – are you free for coffee next week?
In the meantime, I write a monthly email newsletter about XYZ. Please don’t feel obligated, but if you think you might find value in my newsletter you can subscribe here: [insert you subscribe link here]
Again, it was great meeting you and I wish you success in your business.

Use this opportunity to:

  • strengthen the connection you made,
  • ask for a follow-up 1-on-1 meeting, or
  • advance the relationship in some other fashion.