The Six Step Method to Using Business Cards Effectively

Business cards have been used historically as a personal method of advertisement for businesses. Are they used now, in the age of internet for the same thing? The answer is a resounding yes. Using business cards as a way to market your business or network yourself is even more important now than ever before because it brings back that personal touch that has been lost to faceless emails. There are a number of steps to successfully use your business card as an effective marketing tool.

Build The Business Card Habit
The first step seems like a no-brainer, but it is probably the most over-looked, and yet the most important step. Use them. Take them out of the box they came in and use them. Give them to people without fear of running out, they are inexpensive enough to order by the thousands. Seriously, when your supply starts getting low, order some more; but they will do you or your company absolutely no good wrapped up in a box and stuck away in some drawer of your desk.

If you Have Pockets, Have Business Cards
Step two would be to always make sure you have some with you. Make it a part of your routine to check when you are going anywhere. Keys-check, wallet/purse-check, cell phone-check, business cards-check. There is nothing worse than getting a good introduction to someone and they actually ask you for your card so they can call you and it is at that time you discover you do not have a single business card anywhere on your person. This not only makes you look unprepared, but unprofessional as well. This is not the impression you want to leave with anyone.

Pleased To Meet You, Have A Business Card
Step three is to give them away to everyone you meet, and not just the people you think are important. Everyone you meet. If you think that shoving a business card at someone is a little pushy, then try the “perhaps you would know of someone who could use my services” approach. Asking them for a referral is a great ice-breaker, takes the pressure off the person you are handing a business card, and is essential in the networking process. If they ask you for your business card first, this is an opportunity to give them two (or three) and ask them to pass it on to someone they know who would benefit from your offer or service.

Send Correspondence, Send A Business Card
Step four is including your business card in all of your correspondence. Put one in everything you mail out, including your personal or business bills. Do the same thing with electronic business cards. This is like planting a seed without knowing whether or not the seed will sprout or take root, but knowing the more seeds you plant, the more fruit is available to harvest. You just never know who will read your card, and who they know that might be referred back to you, or just how many degrees of separation is between you, the recipient and a “make my career” client.

Look To Extend Your Networking Through Relationships
Step five would be to look for situations where you can leave a supply of your business cards. Complimentary, but non-competing businesses can be good networking partners and a source of referrals for your business. Ask the business manager or owner if they would be willing to work together to increase business for each other. There are very few businesses in the world that will not agree, so this becomes an excellent opportunity to exchange business cards. Ask the manager if you can leave a stack of your business card to either display or to give to personally to referrals and that you are willing to do the same for them. This is a very effective tactic considering that a good portion of traffic for small business comes from word of mouth.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
Step Six is that after you have exchanged cards with someone, follow up with them. Send them a short hand-written card to thank them for making their acquaintance. Be sure to include one of your cards in the envelope and send it off. This really makes a lasting impression on people that can set you, and your business apart from the crowd. Using business cards did, for a time, seem to be falling out of practice, with the ease of nearly instantaneous electronic communication, but if used properly, they are still a very effective way of networking, as well as putting a little personal touch back into the way you market your business.