To Add Or Not To Add That Is The Question

I get asked this question a lot by business owners; if I should be adding people automatically to my database. Especially since I tell people that your aim is to grow your data base and turn those lovely contacts into happy customers using the Marketing Production Line. Down load your copy of this here – How to get more customers and increase sales

So if you are networking or attending an expo, what’s the big deal of adding all of those lovely contact details on that shiny business cards mountain in your office to your data base? Here is one such enquiry I recently received:

I’m new to networking and not sure if there’s an etiquette involved.

I received an email with the subject line “Lovely to meet you”. The email, among a few other things, informed me, I had been added to their list and would be contacted 1-2 times a week.

I was surprised, as I didn’t “meet” this person at the event, or even speak with them, and didn’t give them my details to add to a list (which I didn’t think was allowed generally anyway).

I just wanted to check as I wasn’t sure if that is just how networking is, as clearly I can just unsubscribe, but this was all unsolicited and I was a bit undecided what I thought about that.

If it’s all just part of the networking scene, I’m just a bit of a newbie! But I’m not sure I would send people emails claiming to have met them and sending them stuff they hadn’t asked for. But that may just be me, which is why I wanted to check!

Okay so let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of this approach.

Firstly the pros from the viewpoint of the proactive business owner sending the email;

  • It is said that if you send something to the people you meet within 24 hours you are still “Hot” in their thoughts and so more likely to take action. The longer you leave it the slower the burn and the more likely you are to forget the “why” they were interesting.
  • You are reinforcing the “Why us. And laying out how you will keep in touch to build a relationship. By doing what you say you will you are helping to build a relationship.
  • Keeping in touch between meetings enables you to increase the touch points. Traditionally it was considered necessary to have 3 to 7 touch points for someone to be ready to buy from you. 21st century marketing need a lot more, because the consumer is far more savvy as to what and how they wish to buy. So by keeping in touch consistently can be a good thing.

However, what does it say about you and your business that you assumed that the other party would want to buy from you. In theory I have 100’s of people I could add to my mailing list every month and yet I don’t.

I was once advised that business to business by law we are allowed to add each other to our mailing list as long as they are able to “unsubscribe” it is only business to consumer that is not allowed to do this. (I would like to add that I recommend seeking the advice of the experts here. Angela Lock from the FSB Essex would be a good place to start since they have free legal services as part of their membership.) Regardless of whether I can or can not I don’t and the reason why?

Because I have absolute respect for how busy you are. I make no assumptions of what you want, need or wish to achieve. Or on whom you wish to work with. For some people I personify Marmite, I am so cringe worthy they are backing out of the room as if someone is screeching talons down a chalkboard, however for those few there are thousands that love working with me. So I’m happy. And yet I still don’t add anyone to mine or The Business Woman’s Network databases. I do this for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, As stated I have absolute respect for you as a very busy business owner and I don’t want to add one item to your inbox that could stress you out. People buy into what I do because they very quickly see that it genuinely works and is genuinely very good for business. I don’t have to sell at people. They just love it. (So get your marketing right and they will come, right?)
  • By adding people to your website every time you meet anyone, how do you know what percentage of your database is actually interested? Yes you have statistics you can read however even they have their limitations. I currently use Mailchimp however I’m looking into Mail Poet too. I once had a client who hated me for a few days when I made their company get in touch with every single person on their database by phone, they didn’t hate me so much when they discovered the disconnected phone lines and dead people. They were able to sell more by targeting what they sell to and to whom they sold to. How many sales do dead people make?  I want a database alive with people energised and buzzing for what I do and how I can help, so by not signing people up but by engaging in an interesting relevant manner people come to my website and want in. Easy right? (It is with the right marketing, are you seeing a trend here right?)
  • If you send out a “Great to meet you” email and you didn’t you actually see them, then you risk looking like a liar. Now I was always told “Never trust a liar Mand, a thief will always try and rob you however you never know where you stand with a liar.” You are on dangerous ground if you make people feel like they can’t trust you. And the first thing the successful networker is aiming to do is build trust to build great relationships. so does an email that risks lying do that? I question whether it does?
  •  By not knowing who you are talking to you don’t actually know what that person wants and what their needs are. My blog is usually written for one or two people. Crazy! I hear you cry. Not really. My 7 year old successful network The Business Womans Network was built out of an understanding that all business women present with similar issues in business regardless of background or industry. So my theory has worked. If I write a blog article that works for one business owner it tends to resonate and help a lot of other business owners too. so by getting to know the people you are emailing in your database, you can create far more powerful content and get better results. i.e., more sales and more happy customers!
  • You risk talking to people that are not interested.
  • You risk annoying people. Even if they are not interested. They are likely to know people that are. I may be self employed and not employ people. However my clients do employ people. Lots of people. So its essential that I know great HR companies and great mediators, etc., etc.
  • You risk sending straight into the hands of the competitors. Scary right.

I think on top of this there are a couple of other cool lessons to be learnt;

  • How cool that this business owner had the confidence to get in touch and ask my advice. For everyone that asks there are a good few that take months to pluck up the courage.
  • Each to their own. When I worked with this very exceptional business mentor years ago he was the opposite of me and added everyone to his mailing list, stating that its their choice to remove themselves from his list. I’ve not changed my viewpoint and I’m still attracting the perfect clients for me and I know he is for him. So if it works for you, you can sleep at night with your choices, it fits with your values, whose to questions your marketing strategy (as long as its legal).
  • Respect busy business owners. The business that respects other people tends to find they don’t lack clients. I seem to have a steady stream of work coming in. Okay admittedly sometimes it feels like a tidal wave, but nothing I can’t handle or stop smiling about. So horses for course, respect, if you can hold your head high, it works for you and attract the results and customers you want. Then go right ahead. On the other hand. If there are gaps in your diary and your bank balance. Time to have a rethink on your marketing strategy? I suggest you start with the Marketing Production Line at the start of this blog article. And the book and online course couldn’t go a miss either.

And as I published this blog article the business owner in question said that they unsubscribed because it just didn’t work for them. So I think it kind of speaks of volumes right?

Yes you may be allowed business to business to add people to your data base as long as you give them the option to opt out however does it really help build good relationships? Does it really help boost sales?

To add on not to add?

I have my answer. Do you have yours?






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