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How to make sure your card doesn’t wind up in THIS pile

little piles of money

Do you have a box that looks like this? Business cards you’ve collected over the weeks, months, or years that have yet to be recorded, added to your mailing list, or followed up upon? Perhaps the cards you’ve collected are a bit less organized. How many business cards and little bits of paper with the contact info from interesting people you’ve met in your travels do you have in piles on your desk, in your wallet, and strewn throughout your purse or briefcase? As my financial advisor friend Todd Smith once pointed out, would you leave little piles of money lying about? That’s what you’re doing when you don’t follow up and have a way to connect with people regularly.

In October 2011, we wrote a post about building your your email list. Here are some of the other important questions we posed in that post:

  • How big is your list?
  • How accurate is your list? Are the names and addresses current, or do half of them kick back as undeliverable?
  • How niched is your list? Is your list made up of everyone you have ever met, or do you have it categorized so that you can send marketing messages about your book to the people who will actually want to buy it?
  • How regularly do you update your list? How often do you toss the bad addresses and add new ones?
  • Do you have your list organized into an A-B-C system? A indicates the individuals who have expressed direct interest in your book or subject matter. B are the people with whom you have a personal connection, but who may not have a direct interest in your book or industry. C are those folks who are one step from elimination. You met them, but don’t remember where, and just happen to have their card in your pile.
  • How often do you contact your list?
  • How many different ways do you connect with your list? If you’re relying only on e-mail, you’re missing a significant opportunity to impact your list. But, in order to be able to send the very effective occasional greeting card (or contact them by other channels), you will need to collect more than just their e-mail address.

Following that reminder, my major question to you is:

How do you keep your card from staying out of such a pile?

The answer, quite simply, is: Be the first to follow up. Trust me, it works! I attended a networking luncheon yesterday, just a few days after sending out my newsletter. Out of 40 or so women there – not all of whom are on my mailing list – three approached me and told me they appreciate my newsletter, two asked me about the process of writing a book, and one of those indicated she may  be ready to begin working with me after the first of the year. All were, at one point, strangers whose cards I had to add to my list.

I will admit that the cards in the picture at the top of this post belong to yours truly. So just know, this has been an evolving process for me. I’m much better at follow up now than I used to be! Guess when I collected those cards? Would you believe it was 2009?

The good news for you is that it’s never too late to follow up. I found in my research of the individuals belonging to these cards that many of them have changed jobs, careers, or moved away from Phoenix. But I can still find – and connect with – most of them via LinkedIn. So maybe they never made it to my mailing list. Email is a good way but not the only way to connect with people.

Ways you can follow up:

  • email
  • phone call
  • video
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • snail mail

Some of the success of following up is in knowing how best to reach out to specific people. That may be a hit-or-miss process, unless you got to know the person pretty well on the first contact. But the most important thing is having a process at all. Develop one, and use it! I guarantee it will make all the difference in your success.

Here’s to a staying out of the random box of cards!

Laura

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Are you playing Hide & Seek with the people who are trying to connect with you?

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about contact information – or lack thereof – because it’s SOOO

How about an old-fashioned phone call?

crucial to your marketing campaigns. Again, it seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to talk about it, and yet, I see it again and again and again: people neglecting to make themselves easy to connect with.

This all started out with did a post I did a few weeks ago with this piece of advice: Make your blog user friendly by including your e-mail address up front where everyone can see it. Yes, it’s possible that someone would want to contact you directly, via a mechanism other than the comments.

Here are a few other REAL-LIFE examples.

WEBSITE

Most web designers know to include contact info somewhere on the website, but many miss out by making it way too hard to find. The best strategy is to include your contact info visibly, on every page. Please don’t do what I’ve seen so many websites do, which is bury the contact info on a Contact page that is buried on an About page that I’ve got to dig through a menu to find. Remember, you’re in the book business, so make it easy for people to do business with you!

SPEAKER HANDOUTS

I recently attended an event where a speaker did a pretty nice job with a presentation about SEO. She distributed handouts with good information the audience could take home and implement. But nowhere on the handouts did she put any contact information for herself. No phone number. No email address. No Facebook link. Not even her name. Good golly – was that a missed opportunity or what?!

MEDIA RELEASES

I attended a panel discussion a couple years ago where various members of the Phoenix media offered words of advice to the audience about submitting media releases. One reporter said his biggest problem was when the news releases didn’t contain contact information – and all the others on the panel immediately nodded their heads in agreement! Seriously? You’re contacting the media about doing a story or promoting you in some way and you don’t include your contact info? How is that possible?

Of course, today most media releases are done electronically, so at the very least an e-mail address is attached. But if you submit your release as a Word doc or a PDF attachment, make sure your contact info is on it! You can easily imagine these reporters’, editors’, and producers’ inboxes filling up with release after release from people just like you. If they decide to follow up on a particular release, they might just print it and dump the e-mail. If your contact info’s not on the actual release, trust me – they’re not going to go back into their e-mail trash and try to fish it out. They’ll just move on to the next release that does include contact info.

BUSINESS CARDS

OK. I get that we’re inundated with e-mail and some people misbehave when it comes to adding folks to their mailing lists. Unfortunately, handing someone a business card with an email address on it is often construed as tacit acceptance to be added to such a list. That being said, isn’t the whole idea of a business card to make it easy for people to contact you? Again, you’re in the book business, so make it easy for others to do business with you by including all of your contact info, including e-mail and snail mail addresses. Today, this especially means including your social media contacts. Save them the trouble of having to go to your website and hunt down some remote Info@MyBlog.com or Web@MyDomain.org address.

However, you needn’t be the person who lists every form of contact under the sun: Phone. Direct line. Cell. Home. Fax. Home fax. Pager. I’m reminded of Drew Barrymore’s scene in He’s Just Not That Into You when she does the rundown of how our myriad connections play out in dating scenarios.

DO NOT do this with your card!

OK you get the message. Remember why we brand and why we use particular colors or fonts. We want people to remember us. So when they do want to contact you, make it easy for them to reach you!

Happy connecting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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