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If you’re going to spend the money to go to events, this is the Number One thing you MUST do or you’re just throwing money out the window. Actually it’s three things. Ready?
Okay, you’re right, it’s only one thing. But it’s so important I wanted to repeat it.
Look, if you’re one of these people who go to events, gets a stack of business cards, comes home and piles it on your desk with all the other business cards you’ve accumulated over the years, you are leaving a TON of money on the table. (Or in this case, on your desk.)
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve gotten from events who told me the biggest reason they hired me over some other copywriter or marketing strategist was simply because I followed up with them. And some other copywriter or marketing strategist they had met at an event and had a good connection with, never got considered because they didn’t follow up.
So with that said, let me share my system for follow up after events.
1. I take all of the business cards out of my purse.
2. I call one of my team members, who comes over to my house and picks up the cards. (Note — if your team members don’t live near you, you can also stick the cards in the mail.)
3. She inputs the cards into my database.
4. I don’t add emails to my list unless I’ve made it very clear that’s what I’m going to do (for instance, I’m speaking or I have a booth with a fish bowl for cards). But what I DO do is…
5. Mail them a Newsletter Postcard each month.
Some of you might be getting my Newsletter Postcard. It’s an oversize postcard that has an article, a little note from Nick the border collie, and a testimonial. It’s a template so it doesn’t take long to put together each month.
The nice part of direct mail is the connection. Many people who get my postcard take it with them to read. (How often does that happen with email newsletters?) And I can put people on my direct mail list who would never stay on my email list.
Now, if adding direct mail feels too big or complicated to you right now, let me give you some alternatives.
1. Reach out personally to everyone on your list through an email or a mailed card (like through Send Out Cards). You can have your assistant help you with this or systemize it so you add a little personal note but the rest of it is the same.
2. After you’ve reached out, ask them if it’s okay to be added to your ezine list. I’m really not of the mindset that you should add people to your email list unless you’ve made it clear that’s what you’re going to do. But that’s me, I know some of my colleagues disagree with me. I would rather have people add themselves or tell me they want to be added.
If they don’t respond or don’t want to be added to your e-zine list, I would look for them on social networking sites (Facebook, Linked In, Twitter) and connect with them there.
And if you have someone who told you they’re interested in hiring you, most definitely contact them. In fact, you should probably plan to contact them at least 7 times (if not more). No, you don’t have to pick up the phone — dropping an email or adding them to your mailing list is also fine (although I would reach personally at least a couple of times with email or by phone).
I can guarantee if you make a point of following up with people you meet at events, you will see a much bigger payoff than if you don’t.