When I come home from networking events I usually have a dozen business cards in my pocket. These are from people I met at the event and had a short conversation with. Now what do I do with them?
Don’t add them to your newsletter
Let’s start with what NOT to do. Don’t add your new acquaintance to your email newsletter list. Unless you specifically had a conversation about it, they don’t want your stuff.
This is SPAM – pure and simple.
Even if they don’t mark your emails as SPAM, you’re not leaving them with a good feeling about meeting you. In fact you’re going to send them a monthly reminder of how rude you are. If you’re lucky they will unsubscribe.
Send them a thank you email
A better option is to send them a one-off email from your regular email account. Remind them of who you are and the great conversation you had. Thank them for spending some time with you.
In this email you can mention an option they have to further connect with you…
- A link to a white-paper you wrote
- A recent blog article you wrote
- A link to sign up for your newsletter
- A video you posted on YouTube
Whatever you choose to mention, make sure it applies to them. Tell them in the email why you think this content would be a good fit for them and why they should take the time to read it.
Prospect, recently I wrote a white-paper about the adverse effects of yellow-jackets on the mongoose population. Since you mentioned this morning you have a pet mongoose, I’m sure you will find it as valuable as other mongoose owners I’ve met.
Also make sure you select only one action you want them to take in this email. Don’t ask them to read your white-paper, subscribe to your email newsletter AND follow you on Facebook. It’s just too much and people will choose the easy way out. They won’t do anything. One email = one action.
Sending a direct thank you email is best for folks who fit your client profile and you have content you know applies directly to them.
Make a connection on LinkedIn
Another option is to find and connect with your new acquaintance on LinkedIn. This is a good low-pressure way to make a permanent connection.
Again, in the message I always thank them and remind them of who I am and where we met. Most people will accept a LinkedIn request from someone they met earlier in the day.
The long-term strategy here would be to strengthen this connection over time by adding strong relevant content to your LinkedIn stream. Also commenting on their content or announcements is important.
By posting blog articles on LinkedIn you can get your connections back to your website where they can start at the top of your sales funnel.
Personally I use the LinkedIn method for people who don’t fit my client profile or who I don’t think I can immediately help. But if their status ever changes or they have a friend who can use my services, I’m still in their life and top of mind.