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How to use Evernote to Build your Contacts Database

Bootstrapping tips by NextStep

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NextStep has made "Bootstrapping" its passion. Finding tricks, tips and ways to do it fast at little or no cost has become very easy when you know where to look for it. We thought that sharing what we have found will help you go from Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur too.

How to use Evernote

to Build your Contacts Database ?

NextStep Bootstrapping Tips - How to use Evernote to build your contacts database

Evernote is an application that many of us have downloaded once but never really managed to make a good use of right away. If you're one of those who have uninstalled this app, this would probably be the best time to list it as one of your favorite go-to apps.

Like most, I have uninstalled and reinstalled Evernote a few times. That was until I stumbled upon articles of users who were sharing how they managed to accomplish great things for some very specifics needs; learning languages, remembering great bottles of wine, sharing projects, writing blogs, keeping cooking recipes, etc.

After spending some time using the app myself and looking at what it was capable of, I managed to make Evernote work for me. Here's how you can make the most of it too.

A - Scan business cards using Evernote

Evernote added a cool feature a few years back where you can scan documents and automatically recognize business cards while extracting and digitizing infomation, much like Card Scanner. However, this feature is only available if you are subscribed to their premium plan. If you want to try it out, take advantage of a free month's worth of their premium plan with this link.  

Since we want to limit the number of actions, we first need to make sure that the info we will “Scan” with Evernote will be used and saved properly. Here's what you need to do:

1. Save all the contact information into your phone :

By going to Settings on the top left hand corner on the mobile version of Evernote, follow this path :

Settings > General > Camera > Business Cards > Save to Contacts > Yes

Evernote Main Page - NextStep Tips - Affiliate Link

2. Connect your Linkedin profile to Evernote

You can connect your Linkedin profile to Evernote. This will allow you to automatically send Linkedin Invitation to your new contacts.

Evernote Contact setting - NextStep Tips - Affiliate Link

3. Fill in "My Contact Infos"

Once LinkedIn and Evernote has synced, it will now allow you to automatically send an email with your contact information to the new connections.

4. Notebook and Tags

You can also make sure that all the scanned business cards go into one “notebook" and organize it to create your own directory. "Notebooks" are for a vertical classification, while “tags” are for an horizontal ones. You can change your tags based on the event when you just collected those name cards, a year, or a topic (Don't forget about changing it all the time). In terms of classification, my suggestion is : the simpler the better.

5. Scanning :

From the home screen of Evernote, simply click on the “camera” icon.

Choose the “Auto Mode : On” with the button on the top right hand corner so that it can automatically recognise if this is business card or a different kind of document.

Camera > Format > Auto Mode : On

Evernote Card Scannig Tips by NextStep - Affiliate Link

Place your business card on a contrasted background so that it can easily identify the edges of the cards. On your screen, you should see a “green” layer that should come on top of the business card and if you don’t shake too much, it will automatically takes a picture of your business card.

Evernote Scanning Business Cards - NextStep Tips - Affiliate link

After a second of processing, it will automatically digitize the text of the card, and extract all the contact information.

If the font used on the name card is clear enough and not too “artsy”, it should be very easy for Evernote to pick up the whole thing without any spelling errors. In case you encounter a few mistakes, you can easily edit the form.

Evernote Scanning Business Cards - NextStep Tips - Affiliate link

If your contact is using the email address from the card for Linkedin, Evernote should sync the information with your contact's Linkedin profile (including the profile photo).

Evernote Scanning Business Cards - NextStep Tips - Affiliate link

It then offers you to “Invite him/her to connect on Linkedin” automatically too, while potentially sending an email with your contact info back (you now understand the first steps of this tutorial).

Evernote Scanning Business Cards - NextStep Tips - Affiliate link

Those infos are now saved in the contact list of your phone (with all the details based on the Linkedin Profile)

Evernote Scanning Business Cards - NextStep Tips - Affiliate link

B - Build your database

For a few years now, some applications have been able to "talk to each other". Tools like IFTTT.com and Zapier.com do just that.

First is IFTTT.com, which is based on the simple formula of "If This, Then, That."

It will take you a few seconds to sign up, and start adding the channels you would like to use, like Evernote, GoogleDrive, IOS to name a few, for which you will have to download the IF app on your phone in order to enable some mobile only features. It can also be used to automate functions on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a lot more, as you will see below.

IFTTT.com - If This Then That - NextStep Tips

The idea is to create what they call “recipes” where a “trigger” (one of your channels) will ask another channel to do a task or an "action". For example, “If you take a picture with Instagram, then it’s automatically getting posted on Facebook”.

1. Automatically update a spreadsheet on Google Drive

Every time a new contact is added to your phone, it will automatically be added to a spreadsheet on Google Drive.

Update a Spreadsheet from your IOS Contact using IFTTT.com - NextStep Tips

2. Automatically update other contact lists on Google Contacts, or Office 365

Once channels are linked, the recipes you set will make sure you never loose your contacts again. And since you can also resynchronise your phone using those database, a loss or broken phone will bring you less drama.

Update your IOS Contact on your Google Contact - NextStep Tips

3. Building your Mailing List

a) On MailChimp using IFTTT.com :

With all your contacts automatically updated in a very simple way, why not push the chain of actions further by updating your mailing platform directly? IFTTT.com works well with MailChimp and this recipe will automatically take the new uploaded contact from your phone and update your mailing list.

Update your MailChimp mailing list when you have a new IOS Contact - NextStep Tips

b) On Constant Contact using Zapier.com :

On the other hand, Zapier.com works well Constant Contact channel. You will even be able to easily use recipes to copy a mailing list from MailChimp to Constant Contact for example. The information will then be transferred from either IOS Contact, Google Contact or from the spreadsheet that has been updating by itself on GoogleDrive with our previous examples.

Add contacts from Google Sheets row to Constant Contact using Zapier.com - NextStep Tips

The possibilities with IFTTT.com and Zapier.com are almost endless. With over 300 apps in access, you can even get creative and make your own recipes too.

Tutorial Recap

It might look complicated and intimidating at first, but it will greatly benefit you in the long run. All you have to do is set it one time, use Evernote to scan a business card and get everything automated. Here's a recap of what Evernote can help you do:

  • Save new contacts and business cards to your phone
  • Connect with new contacts on Linkedin
  • Update your mailing list somewhere safe in the Cloud on a Excel File (Easily modifiable into a .csv file for the future)
  • Update your go-to contact platform
  • Update your mailing platform like Constant Contact or Mailchimp

Resources we used:

I have managed for some of the listed resources to share an affiliate link so that the readers can benefit 1 month premium for free or a few credits to use some options. Sign-up for the following accounts using those links :

written by Greg Prudhommeaux, NextStep co-founder.

If you'd like to get more infos about the "Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur" program,

contact us at LetsDoIt@NextStep-Workshops.com

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