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Business Card = E-mail Opt In?

Ask before adding any new business contact to your email list.

A site visitor was curious and pondered:

…When I meet someone, they will ask for my business card and next thing you know I am getting their newsletter. Shouldn’t they ask first when they ask for my card their intention? Or is it OK for them to sign me up to their newsletter or weekly message? Also by me giving them my card, they request to be LinkedIn to me. I barely know them. Shouldn’t they ask me if they can link me in?

Since it is your business card, they probably assume your tacit approval to contact you about business matters. Otherwise, why did you give them your card? But, you are correct; that is the wrong approach.

They should always ask first before manually adding anyone to any business email lists. Otherwise, they are spamming you.

You may want to get in the habit of stating, “Please do not put me on any mailing lists.” Then, hand them your card.

Always Ask Before Emailing

Because you receive someone’s business card does not permit you to add them to your email lists. Period. You should acquire the card holder’s permission to add them to any mailing list specifically you may have — first.

I would never start emailing newsletters or notices based on getting a business card alone. An email approach for new contacts can be to email and say how nice it was to meet them. Then, in that email, ask if they would mind being added to your list. Without this extra courtesy, you risk being labeled a spammer.

Social Networking

LinkedIn is all about business networking. Sometimes those you may not know very well at first end up turning into great networking opportunities. LinkedIn works because interested parties do have to ask, then get your approval before they are added to your network.

Networking is all about getting to know others better so you can — network. Therefore, there is no harm in making LinkedIn connection requests to be added to your network so that you then have that opportunity. That is, if there is synergy at some level where it makes sense for both sides.

At that point, you have the opportunity to decline.

It could be they found out enough about you and your business to want to know more. And that’s a good thing! I agree that folks should be more discriminating with those they choose to network with. Too many are just collecting a list of connections which is not a focused or practical approach.

The larger the number of those in your network, the more difficult it is to keep tabs and connect individually. I see some users with thousands in their network. I wonder how many they interacted with personally before adding them to your network.

If I can’t determine where networking would be mutually beneficial, or I know, based on my years of experience, they want to pitch their services to me, I decline. I’m not into the number of followers I have. Nor do I worry about the number of folks in my network. I prefer to add those that I know and have communicated with.

When used correctly, business cards and networking requests can lead to new business and when it makes sense to connect. Always be on the lookout to connect with those whose skillsets, services or companies can complement yours. Then, make an effort to get to know them.

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