Business Cards Are Essential for Offline Networking
Most of us still use business cards on a regular basis to communicate who we are, what we do, etc. Yet so many seemingly professional people do not adhere to basic business card rules. Thus my cheat sheet on business card essentials. I didn’t think I needed to spell these out, but I’m often taken aback by how many times I meet a business owner that either runs out of business cards or doesn’t have pertinent information listed on the card. Don’t you know, business card marketing is alive and well! Tsk tsk…
Keep it current
Make sure you have business cards with your current contact information on you at all times. You can’t predict when a business opportunity will strike.
Has your contact information recently changed, and you haven’t had a chance to order new cards? NO EXCUSE! I’m not letting you off the hook that easily. You can go to an office supply store and print your own cards, or go to a local print shop and order a small print run in the meantime.
I suggest keeping business card stock as part of your office supply stash. This way, if your contact information changes, you can print a stack of business cards at home while you wait for a larger order from a professional. Scribbling a new phone number is a big no-no.
Have you been out meeting and networking like crazy all day and ran out of cards? This is understandable, but stay prepared. Have a .vcf card already created in your phone so you can immediately email your contact information to the person you’re talking to.
Be Social and Encourage Engagement
Please list at least one social media site you’re using, preferably the site you most often use professionally. If someone visits your profile it won’t have stale content. If you’re networking it’s usually for business purposes, right? Please put your company name, website and/or blog information on the card. A QR code can also help you out here, since you can direct a person to your site.
Here’s a Bonus Tip: Use the backs of exchanged business cards to take notes on conversations you’d like to remember – what you talked about with a person, what they wore, more info not listed on the card, etc. You don’t have to rely on your memory when you need to follow-up with 40 people, just use the card for hints. You sound far more interested in building a relationship if you can refer to a previous conversation when you’re trying to connect via phone, email or social media. I do this faithfully and it works!