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Ditch the Business Card - Use Flow

 

What’s up Friends!?

 

I’m not sure about all of you, but I am getting pretty tired of the idea of the business card..

 

This pile of small pieces of paper that we all carry around for the precious moments we have to make a connection with someone and share our information… In the age of the cell phone, why would we still do this? Not to mention the fact that you completely lose control of the conversation when you hand off a business card. Think about it.. We meet at an event and we connect, I hand you my card.. it ends up in your pants pocket, your backpack, or who knows where.. Maybe i never hear from you again? And that’s when it hits me..

 

I am losing far too many connections to the business card!

I need a better way to connect with people and share my information, and more importantly, my brand, with them.

So, as usual, I am going to solve my problem by building a Flow. This Flow will gather a persons name and email address along with some notes you may or may not want to take. It will add that info to a SharePoint list, and then wait 4 hours before sending a personalized email including all of my information and relevant links i would like someone to see, and finally. it adds them to my Mail Chimp mailing list, so this way i can add them to my nurture stream and make sure our connection stays warmer. You’re probably going to want to build this one too, so to follow along, you need to prep a few things

1. A SharePoint List with 4 fields – First Name | Email Address | Date | Notes – Like below:

 

2. A Mailchimp account with a mailing list ready. – Need to learn how to create a list? Click HERE

3. A Microsoft Flow account logged in and ready to go!

 

Got all of that ready to go?! GREAT! Lets jump in.

 

First, from the http://flow.microsoft.com site, click on My Flows and + Create From Blank then Search from hundreds of connectors and triggers and lets search for Manually Trigger a Flow – select it, and then add three text inputs. First Name, Email, Notes, Like this:

 

This is a very important step which will help us create a personalized email to this person in our next steps. Also, I have notes so that way i can add any quick notes to this persons contact info from the conversation i had with them, so that way i can have some clues later on when going back to my list to remember what me and this person spoke about, or where i met them.

Next, click New Step and then Add an action – search for SharePoint Create item and then connect to your SharePoint site and your list you created before we started, and then click on the fields and fill them in with Dynamic content like here:

 

Those were the steps we needed to capture the persons information. The next two steps will be to create a delay before sending off an email to the user. I do this because i found that if you send the email off instantly it feels a bit “cheap” or it is more obviously automated.. This delay creates a sense of me returning somewhere to then send this email off. it feels more personal. 

Click New Step and Add an action and type Compose 

 

We are going to create a simple expression that grabs the current time and adds 4 hours. To do that I use the expression “addHours(utcnow(),4)”

Click New Step and Add an action search for Delay Until and then use Dynamic Content Output from the Compose above

 

Again, click New Step and Add an action this time search for Send an email and choose your mail client. I am using Gmail. Here is how i use Dynamic content and html code to format my email: 

 

Also, be sure to go down to the bottom of the Gmail action and open the advanced options and set Is HTML to Yes so that way all our HTML code actually displays right.. 

 

And then finally, lets click New Step and Add an action and search for Add member to list for Mailchimp – Once chosen, select your List ID, the status of the person in your list, and then some info for the list, like so:

 

And then we are finished, Name your Flow at the very top and click Save Flow

And just like that, we have built a flow that not only replaces a business card, but lets us keep control of the conversation by us collecting the users information, emailing them an instant connection, and then adding them to your mailing list so that you can maintain the connection. Also, you no longer have to carry business cards.. and you are saving trees!

Now that we have built it, lets run it and see what the email looks like.

 

Clean, easy to understand, allows for connection with all my most important properties, and most importantly… doesn’t go in a trash bin or the bottom of a backpack. 

 

What do you all think? Do you know of other ways you could use this Flow?

 

Leave me some comments below with your thoughts.

 

(Reposted with permission from @JonL-MSFT)

Comments
I like this, though I've never been one for business cards anyway.
Could you further enhance this by using computer vision to ocr details off other people's business cards, so 1 photo and a verification rather than typing in their details. Wouldn't be universally useful but quite a showy thing to be able to do.

I did the other way round.

 

When someone hands me a business card, I have a PowerApp to handle that.

 

  1. "Scan" the card (-> Make a photo with Camera control)
  2. Send that image directly to my Azure Function
  3. Search for QR codes on the card containing vCard information
    • if found, return that data
  4. If no QR code was present, use MS Cognitive services to read all text and use my own logic to parse this text into
    • Name
    • Phone number(s)
    • mail address
    • homepage
    • address
  5. Return the parsed (+ unparsed lines) to my PowerApp
  6. Allow editing of the scanned info and save the contact (currently to Sharepoint)
  7. A flow then kicks in which sends an info mail about all the GDPR stuff to the contact (as that should be made when you store the data that was handed over to you...)

Nice Alex, that sounds incredible! Have you shared your PowerApp in the community?

@AlexN this is exactly what I've been hoping to do recently. Do you have any other more detailed writeups of how you set this up?

Meet Our Blog Authors
  • Co-founder of https://plumsail.com, Office 365 and SharePoint expert. Passionate about design and development of easy to use, convenient and flexible products.
  • Microsoft Business Apps MVP. Owner of ThriveFast, an Office 365 consulting company.
  • 7x Microsoft Business Solutions MVP (CRM)
  • Solution Architect with Slalom, and organizer of the Boston Office 365 User Group, and long term SharePoint/Office 365 veteren. Find more at http://www.davidlozzi.com. Follow @DavidLozzi
  • I'm keen in MS technologies, SharePoint, Office 365 and development for them
  • Michelle is an Office 365 solution architect in Twin Cities, MN. She has been delivering business collaboration solutions for years with her focus on SharePoint and Office 365. Michelle is a recent board member of the Minnesota Office 365 User Group and has been a member of the SharePoint community since 2009. She is a frequent speaker at MNSPUG and SharePoint Saturday and co-chaired the Legal SharePoint User Group for 4 years. Her most frequent projects have involved rolling out a large deployment of Office 365, SharePoint Online intranet, build of a "CHAMPS" Office 365 user adoption program and most recently, SharePoint On-Premise to Online Migration. Michelle is very excited about cloud technology as it is shifting her IT Pro focus to collaboration strategy and technical adoption.
  • I'm a Microsoft Office Servers and Services MVP with a special interest in SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Teams and PowerApps. I work at Triad Group Plc ( https://triad.co.uk)
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