I was at a conference the first part of the week and a GREAT question was asked. It went something like this “when you receive business cards, can you add them to your list?”
To be clear, when we use the term “list” in this article, we are referring to an email list that recieves regular correspondence, newsletters, offers, etc.
What I heard was: You can add all business cards to your list. (This is FALSE!!!)
I'm already an “on the edge of your seat” person. This speaker had me cringing because he was giving bad information!!!
Please know this is completely WRONG. In fact if you proceed to add all business cards to your list including the ones you didn't receive permission, you will quickly ruin relationships, lose potential clients, or worse become known as a “spammer.”
Now … Technically this is possible … but that doesn't mean you should. In fact you shouldn't, it goes against the CAN-SPAM act. Unless you have PERMISSION to send them “marketing materials,” you MAY NOT add them to your email marketing “list.” Which means you MAY NOT send them your newsletters, ask them to buy something via email, etc.
Part #1: When you are exchanging business cards you could offer to send them some valuable information. If they accept the offer you may add them to your list. It could be something as simple as …
“Would you like to receive my newsletter?”
“I have some information related to (discussion topic), would it be okay if I send them to you along with additional information?”
Part #2: I do believe in creating a “short” after networking nurture email series that builds the relationship and provides value, then invite them to receive your regular emails or better yet give them your free valuable offer (providing it pertains to them).
What I Do
To differentiate in Infusionsoft, I tag anyone that gets my regular emails with a NEWSLETTER tag. If they don't have that tag they are a contact only. This way I can still communicate with them via an after event sequence, or if they are in a program I have created, etc. I NEVER send to my entire list!
If you'd like more guidance on what is okay and what is not when it comes your your list, check out the Examples of Compliant and Non-Compliant Lists.
I'd love to hear your comments!