no, No, NO: My business card shouldn’t add me to your e-newsletter list

“When people give you their business cards, you’re in a relationship, so you can add them to your e-newsletter list.”

Photo by Almoko

I disagree with the statement above. But I’ve heard it from many people.

Technically speaking, you may not violate the CAN-SPAM Act if you email everyone who gives you their card. But, in my opinion, you’re violating the spirit of the law. You’re also making me unhappy.

I use two techniques to keep my conscience clean.

When I meet people, I ask if I can add them to my e-newsletter distribution. I tell them they may enjoy the newsletter’s tips for client communications and articles on investment and wealth managers. For prospective clients, the newsletter is a gentle reminder of my availability, so they can find me once they need a writer.

If I obtain an email address, but forget to discuss my newsletter, I send an email asking if they’d like to subscribe. I include a link to a sample issue.

Rather than force people to sign themselves up, I offer to do it for them. “Just hit ‘reply’ to this message and send me an empty email. I’ll add you to my distribution.” This is a technique I learned from Andrea Novakowski, a coach. Interestingly, most people write a brief message in reply to my newsletter subscription offer.

Maybe I’m too conservative. I don’t automatically add my clients to my newsletter distribution. I treat them as I’d like to be treated.

3 replies
  1. Robyn B
    Robyn B says:

    I agree with this 150 percent, and it drives me nuts when clients, marketers, and others ignore the important concept of permission marketing. My newsletter list is small, but it’s clean, and it has between a 40 percent and 50 percent open rate as a result. I’d much rather have a small list of people who actually want to receive my newsletter rather than a huge distribution list that doesn’t engage. What’s the point in that? I’ll never get it.

  2. Neil Rhein
    Neil Rhein says:

    People seem to forget this whole concept of “permission-based marketing.” I agree with Robin: a smaller, clean list is the way to go. But I have to confess that I don’t always explicitly ask for permission. Sometimes it’s a judgment call, and I have only received a handful of unsubscribe requests.

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