If you’re like me, you’re back from South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, with a backpack full of business cards from people you met at panel session, parties, and on the tradeshow floor. What to do with all those cards and contacts?
For those of you who have an email newsletter, I’m hoping you asked the folks you met and grabbed a card from if they’d like to be added to your mailing list. If they declined, save the contact information, send them a “nice to meet” you message from your regular email account, connect with them on social media if you’d like, and be done with it.
If you’re one of the lucky ones with a stack of people who want to be added to the list, I highly recommend reconfirming their permission when you send your first newsletter or your thank you message just to make sure A) they remember agreeing to be on your list and B) still want to be on your list. Here’s how to reconfirm permission (assuming you’re using an Email Service Provider):
Upload the new batch into its own segment separate from your general mailing list. The first time you send these new people a message — be it a thank you for joining, nice to meet you at the tradeshow, or copy of your regular newsletter — add a confirm permission link at the top of the message, which will kindly remind recipients that they asked to be on your list and gives them the option of opting out. Add those who do confirm to your list. Each email provider handles the details in a slightly different manner, but you should be able to customize the confirmation message so that the person knows where they signed up (e.g. “Great meeting you at SXSW. Thanks for joining our list.”)
Reconfirming permission is a good practice any time you upload a batch of names collected at a tradeshow or another event. It gives the subscriber a reminder he did signup and lets him opt-out easily if he’s had a change of heart.
And never (repeat, never!) add people to your list just because they gave you a card. You have to get permission. Remember: When it comes to your email mailing list, it’s always best to have it contain addresses of people who want to receive your communications.