Networking a Large Contact List

Ryan Allis



Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

For many marketers the gold is in the list. Building a large and effective contact list is one of the more important activities your business can undertake. The more your message is heard, the more you can ultimately sell. In this post I’ll explain how networking can help you grow your list.

If there’s one concept that has helped me grow my business, it’s networking. Nearly every person I meet is a potential business contact. Any time you meet with a business organization you can meet a slew of new contacts. There are numerous organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Support Centers, specialized industry groups, charitable organizations and small business clubs that meet to share ideas. All you need to do is exchange business cards then add the addresses to your contact lists. However, it’s important that you ask permission to add them to your mailing list.

Each time I meet a new contact, I usually send a quick email thanking them for their business card and the contact. I usually start by recapping our previous conversation then I ask for permission to add them to my contact list. I’ve found that it’s helpful to establish common ground through reminding them of where we met and only then asking for their ears.

Next time I’ll talk about some other places to grow your lists.

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