List Etiquette: Do You Wanna Go Steady?

Twice this week on Facebook, I’ve had friends post their frustration with people automatically adding them to their list.

How would you feel if you were to go to a house party, meet a new fella for the first time and tomorrow you found out you two were married?

That’s kinda what happens when you go to a networking event, meet someone, exchange business cards, and the next thing you know, you’re getting emails, newsletters, and promotional offers for something you had no idea about.

Wikipedia defines Permission Marketing – a term popularized by Seth Godin – “Marketers obtain permission before advancing to the next step in the purchasing process.”

Notice the keyword here????



Before adding someone to your list, you must get their permission first.

And just like if a fella were to overstep his boundaries on a date, you can get into trouble if you overstep them with your list service. You could easily get shut down by having people lodget complaints. And you wouldn’t want that to happen to your list. 

The next time you head off to an event where you collect business cards or other contact information make sure that you get their permission first.

Here are 2 strategies that I have used:

  1. Ask permission if they want to be added to my newsletter to get great tips about how to create systems in their business. If they say “yes” I mark their card with a N (for newsletter). Then before automatically adding them, I add an extra step, and send a courtesy email to remind them that we met, and in the very near future they will be getting my next newsletter.
  2. My favourite: GIVE THEM SOMETHING JUICY. Again, like above, I send a courtesy email as a follow-up to us meeting, but instead, in this email, I say something like “It was a pleasure to meet you at the XXXX Event last week. [and perhaps something personal if you made note of it on the card :-)]

    There is always so much to take in at these events, and I wanted you to know that connecting with you was important to me. I would love to learn more about what you are up to and what you are focusing on in your business. Perhaps there’s an opportunity that we could support each other.

    I wanted to share a gift with you. It’s calledNetworking Success Blueprint: How to Turn any Networking event into a Huge Success in 3 Simple Steps. I usually offer this for sale on my website, but for those who I met at XXXX event, I am giving it to them for free. If you’re interested, just click this link [insert URL] and enter the coupon code [insert coupon code], and you will get the blueprint for free. The coupon is good until June 22, 2011.

    I’m glad we had a chance to connect!”

The first time I used the second strategy, I came home from an event with 35business cards, sent out the email by doing a simple mail merge using Word and an Excel file, and 54 names were added to my list!

I was completely OK with the fact that more people were able to download my free gift.

By the way, the blueprint is for sale on my website, it was not a tactic. They could see that I normally sell this. And by giving them a coupon code and a deadline, there was urgency to download it.

I didn’t have to ask them to join my newsletter list – they did so by downloading the free gift.

Now I may enter into dialogue with them because of our connection.

Depending upon the event, I may in the future set up a similar page, and have those names tagged so that I know where the names came from. I can then target my messages as well as sequestor them from promotional offerings that I might be running at the time.

Build that relationship by courting them – not by jumping straight to the wedding – and get their permission!