Imagine if you had followed up with everyone you handed your business card to. Throughout your entire career.
Would your network be larger? Would it make getting referrals easier? Would you have more valuable, lasting relationships?
Following up is crucial to networking and consulting.
It’s easy to attend networking events and meet people. It’s much harder to actually follow up — and do it consistently.
Following up shows the people you meet that you’re genuinely interested in building a lasting relationship with them.
In this article, I’m going to teach you how to use your website to systematize your follow-up process.
Collecting business cards is important, but merely collecting them won’t do you any good. Instead, I encourage you to use your website in connection with materials like your business card. You can use it to give new contacts a “Call to Action” to follow up with you.
This is a part of your “offense.” It’s taking that extra step to give value to the people you meet with your unique set of skills.
Meeting is the easy part. Following up is where the magic happens.
Credits go to Brennan Dunn of Double Your Freelancing for teaching me this technique.
The beauty of having your own website is that you can create memorable links with any content you choose. This allows you or your designer lots of creativity in creating marketing and sales material.
You can use your website to connect the pieces of your network together.
To do this, you’re going to create what I call your “hello” page.
This page is a link between meeting a new contact to adding them to your audience (your email list).
The link to your “hello” page goes on your business card or anything else you hand to people when you meet them.
Instead of giving them contact information, you’re creating a direct call to action. You’re giving them the method of following up that is simple and easy.
For reference, here is my hello page:
And the back of my business card:
I recommend you create an email list so you can link to it via your page. If you have one already, great. You may also want to create a brand new list depending on the types of people you meet.
NOTE: Please don’t plagiarize the copy on my page. In the words of Liam Neeson in Taken: I will find you.
Write your own copy. This isn’t a high traffic sales page, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
The Website Follow-Up
The central idea of this page is to…
- Greet them again with a picture of who you are and what you do as a reminder
- Give them a summary of the type of problems you solve in your career and why
- Write some copy containing the benefits for them to join your email list
For example, I’m a web consultant who works with consultants and consulting firms. I take my knowledge of the web and design into terms that they care about.
If I talk about WordPress, themes, typography, and colors, their eyes will glaze over. I’m passionate about these topics, but my marketing efforts would be terrible if I focused only on what I cared about.
If my copy discusses…
- making self-promotion easier and more cost efficient
- color psychology to influence the decisions of buyers
- using design to enhance credibility and trust
…they will be much more interested in what I have to say.
The copy on your page should follow this principle: translate what you know into what the people you meet care about.
How can your skills and your email list benefit them and their business?
You don’t need any more than 300-500 words on this page. Since you’ve met this person already, they don’t need a complete introduction on who you are. Give them a reminder and a clear call to action of how joining your list would provide value to them.
Once you’ve created this page and updated your business card (or whatever other material), go out and meet people. Hand out your business card when it makes sense.
This time, you’ll be giving the people you meet a direct, clear, and simple call to action. These are the same types of calls to action that make your website effective. The link to your “hello” page gives them a clear process as opposed to contact information.
Not everyone will sign up, but the people who appreciate your effort will. This is a form of systematization and automation that saves you time and grows your network.
It also keeps you more accountable. When you say you’re going to follow up, do it. Your website claims you do.
What about when people hand you their business card? What steps can you take to follow up with them outside of your website?
There are many ways to tackle this, but here’s what I do. This relates to the CRM you use.
I use 17hats. Whenever I meet someone and exchange business cards, I add them to 17hats as a contact.
I write a note on them – one thing they are working on, struggling with, or enjoy doing. I’ll do this the day of meeting them so the information is fresh in my mind.
I write a to-do item in 17hats with a reminder from 60-90 days to follow-up with them. If I find anything relevant to their interests like a great article or book, I’ll let them know before my reminder. Make sure you actually write this down, or you won’t remember to do it.
If they don’t sign up to your list, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. They may just not want to receive any more newsletters to their inbox. Fair enough.
People appreciate you following up in this way. It’s a nice personal touch that shows you’re interested in them and were actually listening.
If you say you will follow up and don’t, were you being genuine? Is what discussed that important if you don’t follow-up?
This may feel as though you are being pesky or self-promotional. As long as you take the time to listen, jot down what they are working on, and provide them with value, you aren’t being pesky. You’re providing value to people in your network and showing them you care.
“Hello Page” Examples
Daniel G. Siegel sent me some fantastic examples of how other consultants do this. If you want some more ideas of how you can use a single page on your website to improve your follow-up system, check out the links below.
Do’s and Don’ts
There is no right or wrong way to do this, but here are some things you want to consider — and avoid.
- DO make sure you remind the people you meet who you are. Include a picture of yourself, your name, your title, and a friendly greeting. This page is for people that you have met. Setting it up this way helps them remember who you are and what you do. This also sets up your copy.
- DO keep your copy focused on the benefits for your reader signing up to your list. It’s a good idea to have a paragraph or two explaining a bit more about yourself. But you want to write your copy so that it demonstrates the value of your list for their business.
- DO create different types of hello pages for different types of follow ups. For example, if you speak on a podcast or for a presentation, you can create your own “hello” page for each event. With each page, you can write copy focused on that audience. Effective marketing comes down to targeting. Creating landing pages for specific groups of people will boost your conversion rate.
- DON’T jump straight into the copy. The goal of this page is to get people to follow up with you via signing up to your list. Your list is where you can provide value for them. It’s where you can open up a line of communication whenever they decide to hit reply. Give a bit of background on yourself and a greeting before doing this.
- DON’T try to sell them something on this page. The only thing you should be selling them on is the value of following up, which is free. If you have a lead magnet, this page gives you the perfect opportunity to offer them a valuable piece of content for their email address.
- DON’T add them to your main list if you’re list isn’t relevant to them. Create a segmented list for these personal connections to follow-up. You can use this list as a reminder of who to follow up with individually, or use email marketing software to message them at mass. Keep the messages short, valuable, and encourage them to hit reply and start a conversation.
Get your designer to create a simple hello page and update your business card. Then get to work go meet people.
If you’ve created your hello page, share it in the comments below.