January 22, 2014

Post-Conference Network Building with Contactually

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A subsection of my pile.

Attending conferences is a lot of fun! There are countless people to meet and always something to learn. As much work as is needed during the conference, what you do after is just as important -- especially if you leave with more business cards than you deal with.

I went to Inman Connect in New York last week and was encountered with this exact peccadillo. I amassed a healthy number of business cards and was trying to figure out the next steps. Sure, I can put everyone in an excel document and add to my growing address book, but what after that? Email? Sure. Adding on LinkedIn? Absolutely. But all of that takes time.

It turns out that the solution was to use Contactually, the very product I was repping.

Step 1: Import all of the contacts

Import contacts to a bucket.

There are plenty of ways one could go about this. You can use apps such as Cardmunch or any other business card reader to quickly go through all the cards. What I did was I entered each contact as I got them, so if that works for you, go right ahead. I did this for a few reasons: manning a booth allowed me to input contact information during down time, and Contactually plays very nicely with CSV imports.

So in my CSV file, I had the requisite fields (name, phone number, email, etc) as well as a column for the bucket I wanted to put them in. But worry not, if you forget to add a column for buckets, you have the option of importing the contacts into a bucket automatically.

Step 2: Figure out your next steps

[caption id="attachment_4189" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Scalemail (don't forget the dynamic field for the first name!)[/caption]

So now that everyone is in a bucket, the next thing to do is to figure out what to do next. My plan of action was to get in touch with everyone I met and say hello. I am trying to build relationships after all!

With 50+ people in this bucket of mine, figuring out how to send them all a message is easy. The scale mail feature fits the bill. The initial message is easy, and it'll probably look like this:
Hey __________


It was great meeting you at Inman last week! I hope you had fun in New York!


With at least 6 inches of snow now, I'm glad Inman was last week instead of right now! :)


Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and see how things were!



Even though I'm messaging a ton of people, I'd also like individualize each message with something that would make sense for that person, which I can do for each email before sending.

Step 3: Figure out the how

Now, that I know what I want to say and who I want to send this to, things get interesting. And I can approach this from a few ways:

  1. I can link the Conference Contacts bucket to a program that, in a few steps, will automatically message a contact placed in that bucket and add them on LinkedIn. That's just one example, but the possibilities are endless. Here's how to set one up. I went with this one so that I can reuse this for every conference I go to.

  2. Or, I can select everyone in that bucket and just message them all (Contacts page > filter by bucket > select all > Scalemail). And here's how to get that done.

I hope this gives you a few ideas of how to keep in touch with those you meet at a conference! If you have any other ways you like to get this done, drop it in the comments below!

Don't let those in your network slip through the cracks! Here's who to own your network in just seven days!