A business card is still the most powerful business tool in which you can invest. How many other marketing tools are passed from hand to hand indefinitely, spreading your name and contact information throughout your community? Even if you work or want to work for someone else, get and use business cards. You really never know whom you’re going to meet and, hey, you can’t carry resumes in your wallet. To whom do you give business cards? One word: Everyone.
Thirteen ways to share business cards:
- Keep them in your purse, wallet, and computer bag. Put them in your schedule book, books you are reading, your car, and the pocket of your coat.
- Carry them when you are out walking in the neighborhood, running errands, or going out for your birthday dinner. Never again be embarrassed by having to write your number on a piece of scrap paper.
- Give your business cards to people you fall into conversation with at church, your child’s school and soccer games, networking meetings, or any event where you participate or volunteer.
- Have them on hand for family reunions, holiday gatherings, and kids’ birthday parties.
- Post them on library, grocery store, and café bulletin boards.
- Leave your card with your tip at restaurants.
- Include one in the envelope with your utility payment. You just never know whose mother or daughter could call you up one day because someone casually passed on your card.
- If your focus is on stress relief, give a couple to the check out clerk at the grocery store, to your kid’s bus driver, or to the grim woman standing behind you, tapping her foot and sighing, in the coffee line. Offer to let her go ahead of you, then ask if she would like your card, maybe mentioning your first-time client discount. Your card can become more than your contact information. It can be a souvenir of the meaningful connection you made with her.
- Seek out other businesses with clientele like yours. One of the best places you can put business cards is in the offices of non-competing businesses that market to the same kind of client as you. For example, ask if you can leave your massage business cards at your chiropractor’s office, hair salon, or acupuncturist’s clinic. (Ask for some of their cards in return.)
- Enclose them with all your communications! Receiving snail mail is special, so adding your business card just reinforces the message that you are one who goes the extra mile.
- Create a version of your business card that has a “Special Offer” on the back. For example, buy four sessions and get the fifth free, or 1/2 off the next massage.
- Tell friends and clients you would appreciate their passing your card on to anyone who could use your services.
- Make a note on the back of the card to make it stand out. Let’s say you are a Reiki practitioner. Jot down, “I help many people with headaches,” on the back of your Reiki business card, and hand it to someone with whom you’ve been chatting. If that person doesn’t have headaches, he or she will be happy to pass your card on to a friend or relative who does. (While you’re at it, give them a couple of cards, one for their friend and one for themselves… and maybe one to pass to a third person!)
Business card etiquette:
Always ask permission, if appropriate, before posting or leaving a stack of cards anywhere. While you’re at it, hand one to the person you ask. When someone asks for your card, ask for his or hers in return. Make sure you look at it before you put it away. This can open the door to a conversation that can help you make a deeper connection.
The bottom line:
Create a business card that you feel really represents you. Order more before you run out. Then—don’t hoard them. Spread them around! Hand them out, mail them and post them. Make them the tool that helps you really take advantage of community networking.