I have attended several conferences and meetings lately. Like many of us, we pass out business cards or have our badges scanned, etc. It amazes me that following an event people and companies are still casting a broad net or using a general scatter gun approach by blasting random emails. Spray and pray doesn’t work unless you are interested in helping a Nigerian prince reclaim his lottery winnings.
Curiously I am receiving emails from people or organizations like this:
1. Confirmation for registration to an event that I didn’t register for.
2. Thanking me for attending an event I didn’t attend.
3. Sending me automatic generic introduction emails from specific individuals when I have already had conversations with those people. (Major turn-off!)
I have built my career around developing and implementing marketing strategies to develop and maintain a strong customer base. At one point this email behavior may have been excusable. Now it’s not. (Plus it can be illegal in some cases.)
In the age of marketing automation where a range of solutions are available for businesses of all shapes and sizes, gaffs like these can and MUST be avoided. The risk is relationship and reputation destruction. Send the right information to the right people at the right time.
Here are some basic practices to consider:
1. Avoid Laziness: If you receive a business card or e-contact info from a 1:1 conversation, don’t lazily add that contact to a random list for general follow up. Send personal follow up messages to the right people. Remember, relationships matter. If you do intend to add to them a general list, remember to…
2. Ask Permission: Did you ask your contact if it was OK to send them a message or add them to a list?
3. Set Expectations: When you have a general lead capture mechanism at an event, set expectations that their names will be added to a marketing list. You can do this in such a way that doesn’t scare people off. It is also a self qualifying mechanism to keep out the riff-raff looking for free giveaways. Most major events now require their exhibitors and partners to openly and clearly state contact information will be added to a database for follow up.
4. Maintain Commitments: If you have a 1:1 conversation and make a follow up commitment that is 1:1 and not intended to be generic – FOLLOW THROUGH. Don’t add that contact to a general pool of generic email follow up. Make sure that contact is identified and TREATED in such a way that is more personal in nature. If you can’t handle that level of touch, you’re in the wrong business.
Dr. Udi Schlessinger wrote a similar post this week classifying 4 types of email spam he receives following events or handing out business cards. Read the entry here at the Industry Review. It’s worth a read.
This seems like common sense. But obviously businesses and organizations are lacking with the amount of random and impersonal and irrelevant follow up I’ve received lately.
Are you managing your personal and general follow up in the right way?