There may be no one in history who resisted business cards more than I did.
I didn’t see the need for them. After all, I’m an artist. I have CD’s. I have a website. Isn’t that enough?
Maybe you have your own reasons why you think you don’t need or want to have a business card. And maybe they’re good reasons.
I got some cards printed before I went off to eWomenNetwork this past weekend. I’m glad I did. What I realized is this: It makes you findable. And it’s simply one more avenue for connection and outreach. So, why not have a card?
What if 100 of the 110 people you give your card to end up tossing it out because they’re just too overwhelmed to do anything constructive with it? (We’ve all been there.) But what if those other 10 people keep it and remember you? Maybe they decide to check out your website one day, or subscribe to your blog, or call you about some coaching. Who knows? Internet marketing teaches you that it takes multiple avenues to create business connections and income streams. And yes, that’s true even if you’re an artist with a website.
After keenly observing people all weekend long, I compiled a these ten tips for basic business card networking…
Business Card Tip #1: Listen first
The reason some people don’t like the idea of business cards is that they can seem shallow. (Artists and musicians really get weird about this.) Business cards don’t have to be shallow. Always remember that the human is more important than the card. Listen when someone speaks to you. Be present to the conversation before reaching into your pocket or purse to shove your card at someone.
Business Card Tip #2: Write notes on the back
When you’re at a conference and collecting lots of cards, you might soon forget the amazing connection you had with someone at a lunch table. Even if it seems like you could never forget her fabulous taste in clothing or her sparkly eyes and funny laugh, take a second to write on the back of her business card: “Cool jacket, great eyes, funny laugh. Talked about our dogs.” Write it in your own language. Make it brief. Believe me, this works.
Business Card Tip #3: Use your photo
I know. I know. Photos can be a little much sometimes. It makes you think of a realtor’s business card. But photos work. The cards I received this weekend that had photos on them have helped me remember exactly who this person was. I didn’t think of it as flaunting or bragging. Women remember faces and expressions. They relate to photos. If you’re networking with women, they’ll appreciate the extra touch.
Business Card Tip #4: One-sided cards
Some cards just have way too much information. Two columns of writing all over the front. And then there’s more on the back! This actually works against you for 2 reasons:
1 – Most people aren’t going to read that mess of tiny writing. That’s what websites are for – all that extra stuff.
2 – When there’s writing all over the card front and back, it makes it hard for people to write notes about connecting with you.
Business Card Tip #5: Offer a Freebie on the back
If you do put some text on the back of your card, try offering a link to a freebie – like a download of your eBook. (And make the text small so that there’s still room so I can jot down our great conversation about our dogs on there!)
Business Card Tip #6: Don’t get your card made at the nail salon
Is it me? Or do some business cards seem to have a layer of acrylic coating on them that would make a Jersey manicurist proud? There’s just no way to write any notes on these cards! At one point, I found myself literally carving a note in one of these high gloss cards with the tang on my fork. These cards are often quite lovely. They’re just not practical. Matte finish is boring – but it offers better usability for us note-takers.
Business Card Tip #7 – Be discerning with your business card
Some people hand out their cards like Tootsie Pops on Halloween. I don’t know the logic behind this, but it seems pushy. You don’t need to hand your card out to everyone. Not everyone connects with what you do! So, it takes away from your authenticity when you randomly hand your card to everyone. Sometimes it’s good to ask permission. “Can we exchange cards? I’d like to contact you next week about that.”
Business Card Tip #8 – Keep your card updated
Handing people your card while saying, “Oh wait! That’s my old phone number!” Or crossing out an email address. Or writing in a new website address. This’ll make you look like…well, let’s be honest…a musician!
Business Card Tip #9 – Don’t add people to your newsletter list just because they gave you their card
When someone gives you their card, they’re saying, “Let’s connect.”
They’re not saying, “Oh please put me on your once a month mailing list that you send out to your fans, readers and family!”
Honor their trust. I can’t tell you how many musicians put me on their list just because we did a show together at some random venue. Even if I liked their music, I always felt a little slimed. Don’t assume that anyone wants to be on your newsletter list. Always ask first.
Business Card Tip #10 – Start a database
If you make a connection with someone, keep them in a special database. Even if don’t have your own rockin’ business, and even if this seems like a stupid idea, you never know when you’ll want to connect again, or if you have some exciting news to share. (“Hey everyone, I wrote my first book!”) Some of these people will become your cheering section, or even your fans! At some point, when you do start a monthly eZine, you can ask people if they want to receive it. But in the meantime, just begin collecting the names of people you meet. Don’t forget to type in the notes you made!