Earlier this year I wrote about the lack of safety in online dating. I think it’s a big problem in general that there is such a lack of real identity verification online.
After I had published the article I tweeted about it a few times. It got retweeted by all the love gurus and dating agencies you can imagine. Some companies that have developed products to verify who you are online also retweeted my article. As a nice gesture, I replied in a short tweet that it would be good to connect.
A few days later I get an email from a PR agency that, in an unclear way, talks about me, my post in the Huffington Post, and the issue of lack of identity verification. I ask for clarification. It turns out that the agency represents a brand that deals with online identity and wants to set up a meeting between the ‘online identity’ company and me. For me this feels confusing; wouldn’t the company itself connect with me if it wanted to chat? No, instead the company gets a forceful PR person, who is obviously only doing their job, to try to set up a meeting between the company and me. I have to spend over an hour emailing back and forth trying to explain that I would only have considered meeting with the company if they had asked me themselves in a personal way. I also tried to find out if there is something in it for me.
Having a middle-person involved in this case was both annoying and insulting. Why would I have met up with them? There was no incentive at all for me.
Maybe I’m naive and don’t get how it works in business, but having a PR company try to set up a meeting offering me free coffee to learn more about their online identity product just felt weird.
If you and your business handle your PR in this poor way, please rethink your connection strategy. There is no way that busy people will appreciate an invitation sent this way.
You must make the effort and connect personally.
Last week I spoke to a friend who is a property developer. One of her talents is her beautiful handwriting and it’s a pleasure to read what she’s written. She has started writing handwritten letters to potential investors instead of impersonal emails, sending random messages over social media and cold calling. In a world with too much information being shared online, we have lost our ability to write letters. Her plan is to write two letters per day until she has connected with all of the potential clients she has on her list. This will take her over one month to do; sending impersonal emails would take her two days.
People are busy. We lack personal connection. There is a lot of ugly communication around that no-one feels they can trust.
Never forget that all ‘prospects’ are real people with busy calendars and lots of options for what to do with their time.
If you write a personal letter, I can promise you that both your opening rate and meeting conversion rate will be higher than ever before.
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I read every message, tweet, and handwritten letter I receive, so please stay connected.