Let’s Start With The Inbox:

When did it become acceptable to meet a person once at a networking event, collect their business card and then enter their email address into your distribution database?  That’s a trick question.  It’s NEVER acceptable to do this.

My inbox is a sacred place.  It is reserved for business related information… My business.  Not yours. (tweet this)

The proper protocol would be to follow up with the person you met, explain why your information might be of value to them (because it really might be) and ask them for permission to add them to your email distribution list for your newsletter.  It’s that simple.  AND, you’re building up a trustworthy relationship with that person.  They are going to appreciate that you respect their privacy and the beast that is their inbox.

Here’s an example of why knowing your audience is important.   I recently had a realtor from a state that I moved away from a year and half ago connect with me on LinkedIn.  This person took my email address from my LinkedIn profile and added me to their email newsletter distribution.

My LinkedIn profile clearly says I live in Savannah, GA.  It’s on line three (3) of my profile.  My email address is on line 71 of my profile.

I don’t have to tell you how much time this person wasted by searching for my email address and then inputting it into the database, just for me to unsubscribe.

Facebook Groups:

I’ve noticed a trend with Facebook.  Business owners are adding their friends list to groups dedicated to the sale of their products.  This too is unacceptable.  Your friends’ news feeds are not yours for the taking.  You must ask for permission.  That’s why Facebook created company pages.  Company pages are supposed to be the hub for the sales and marketing information for a business.

If you feel like a Facebook group is going to be an effective way to market your business, by all means, create one.  However, you must ask people for their permission to be added to the group.  You do not have the right to add people to your group simply because it will benefit YOU.  Remember that your business and your products and services are not about you. (tweet this)  They are about your customers.  When you know what your customers need, you’ll know how to best target your ideal customers. (tweet this)

Let’s take that a step further.  If you know who your ideal customers are, invest in some targeted advertising directly to them.  You’ll get more bang for your time and money if you focus on your ideal customer… not just your friends list.  I assure you, everyone on your friends list is not your ideal customer.

Ammie’s Assignment:  If you have a stack of business cards that you’ve recently collected at an event, sift through them and ask yourself who might benefit from your products and/or services.  Then send an email directly to those people and ask them when they might have time for a phone call or coffee to get to know one another and your businesses better.