On a dollar-for-dollar basis, a business card is the single-most powerful business tool in which a professional can invest. After all, they’re compact, inexpensive and, once purchased, can be used indefinitely – or until your information needs updated.As always, business cards are an efficient way to advertise the name of your business, provide prospective clients and networking partners a way to contact you and even showcase your work style and personality. But with so much business being done digitally, you might think that business cards are on the verge of becoming obsolete But such assertions couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, as much as ever, the proper business card could lead to a great new job, client or business partnership, not to mention more money.
Still, the changing ever-changing business landscape requires all of today’s professionals to find creative and innovative ways to market their businesses. It’s no longer enough to showcase your cards on your desk and hand them out during business transactions. Fortunately, there’s plenty of other ways to use your business card, and we’ve compiled a list of our top 10:
10. Become Johnny Cardseed
Millions of people walk along city streets and ride on public transportation each day, so if you live in a large market, you have an enormous marketing hub at your disposal. Next time you’re riding the subway, waiting at the bus stop or hitting up a newsstand, leave a card or two behind. You never know if a potential client will be coming up behind you.
9. Get By With a Little Help from Some Friends
Give cards to family and friends – anyone who will take them. You’re loved ones will love acting as walking billboards and free advertisement. Anytime someone mentions a service they need that you provide, your friend or family member will instantly think of you and jump at the chance to give out your cards.
8. While You’re Waiting…
Airports are one of the biggest marketing hubs to promote your business. Just imagine how many other professionals, potential clients and people of all walks of life pass through each day. Since people are usually looking for something to read or do while they wait, try dropping some cards at waiting areas, the food court and various magazine newsstands, for free and easy marketing.
7. Check It Out
Visit local libraries, and place business cards in books related to whatever product or service you provide. For example, a handyman might leave his cards in books about home improvement, while a party planner could leave her cards in books about holiday celebrations, wedding planning and other related topics.
6. Make a Trade
Just as you benefit from networking, other business owners are usually on the lookout for potential networking partners. There are plenty opportunities in which you can pass on your card to prospective clients, customers and referral sources, especially if you ask for theirs in return. Make sure and bring plenty of cards to mixers and social events, as well as any sort of business meeting. Conventions and trade shows are another great venue for exchanging business cards. Obviously, the vendors at the trade shows are anxious for you to take their card, but don’t make that a one-way street. Be sure you give them your card, as well.
5. Network and Partner
When you visit a non-competing business that might attract the same people you would like to have as customers, ask if you may leave a supply of cards to be handed out or made available. In most cases, a business that’s complementary to your own is always looking for a networking partner. A sports nutritionist, for example, could leave a stack of cards at a martial arts studio, or a music teacher could leave some business cards at the local guitar store.
4. Spread the Word
Whenever you communicate with someone in writing, send a card if it’s appropriate to the occasion. Enclose several cards in every packet of sales material you mail out. Along with your thank-you note to the businessperson whose referral brought you a major contract, include a business card to replace the one she gave away, plus several more. The more of your business cards are out in the world, the more likely you are to benefit from your placement.
3. Pay It Forward
Leave a great impression along with your business card. At a restaurant, for example, leave your card with the tip and write a personal thank-you note on the back. You might even pay the highway toll for the car behind you and leave your card for the driver. Making a positive impression with your card will speak volumes about your character and professionalism.
2. And the Winner Is…
Of course, there’s always the side benefit of business cards: winning free stuff. We’ve all seen the fish bowls in the front of all sorts of small businesses. You know, the ones that allow customers to leave their business card behind for a chance to win a free meal, a free consult or even free product. How many times have you wished you could enter the drawing, but you don’t have a card to drop in the bowl? Well, there’s only one way to remedy that situation…
1. Don’t Leave Home Without Them
Never leave home without your business cards. You’ll be surprised who you just might run into as your go about your daily activities. You could even keep a small box of your cards in your glove box, just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need more than you’ve carried in your briefcase, computer bag, pocket or purse. Don’t forget to watch your supply, and be sure to reorder before you run out.
Business cards are cheap, portable and easy to give away, so there’s really no good reason not to have one. It’s a good thing, then, that Vistaprint offers the largest selection of cards with plenty of customization options – all at rock-bottom prices.
What’s the most unusual way you’ve ever passed out business cards?