If you think about it for just a moment, printed business cards are kind of like the “older version” of social media.
They were the main way to spread the word about who you are and what you do. The cards worked very well, as they tended to stay around forever in someones purse or wallet.
Handing out business cards still pays dividends
While text messaging, email and social media are all good communication tools you need to make use of, the old school business card it is still a fantastic tool to use. In fact that is what I depend on just about more than anything.
I hand them out at almost everyday in one way or another. This is especially true when I go to networking events, as the goal is to meet as many people as possible and get my business card in their hand.
I’ve also been known to hand them out at supermarkets, convenience stores, the local mall and even the gas station if the chance presents itself. I also have asked if I can display them where we purchase our cleaning supplies and at real estate offices. It’s just another way to drum up business.
While you will normally just be giving them out at every chance, sometimes it’s the other way around and people will ask you for your business card. Just the other day I had someone walk up to me in a parking lot after I stepped out of my company van to ask for one. Luckily for me I had a bunch on me.
Business cards are only part of the total package
Business cards are not the only printed medium that works wonders. Sending out thank you cards and greeting cards when appropriate are also good advertising tools for your business as well. They are an extremely cost-effective way to get your name out there.
Refrigerator magnets are another favorite of mine. They are a particularly long-lasting tool, and it seems that everyone holds onto them for years and years. When our carpet cleaning division gives them out to office managers and homeowners they always keep them handy.
They are either on the refrigerator or stuck on a filing cabinet drawer somewhere. This low-cost advertising approach keeps you in front of the customer at all times. I just saw one of our early prototype magnets on a filing cabinet the other day, it must have been over ten years old!
Another thing we always do in our business is keep “thank you notes” handy. Whenever someone has us out to clean carpet, or we get business from a referral, we send a thank you note to the person who referred us and to the customer for having us out to clean their carpets.
This approach pays unexpected dividends. Recently at one of my networking events, a past carpet cleaning customer stood up to give me a testimonial. I was really surprised at what she said, and I will paraphrase…
“Not only did they do an excellent job on my carpets, but they sent me a thank you note. I couldn’t have been happier with the service I recieved”
Just that little act of sending a simple thank you made a big and lasting impression on her. These little types of customer appreciation go a LONG WAY in getting others to give your service a try. Blowing your own horn may be part of your job, but when your customers do it for you it’s PRICELESS!
While we get our business cards and magnets printed professionally, our greeting cards and thank you notes are all hand written. It takes only a few minutes to say thanks for your business or we appreciate the referral to so and so.
At the end of the year you can get your holiday greeting cards printed if you have a lot to send. Usually it doesn’t cost much to have your name and company name printed on the inside, but it does cost to have the envelopes printed, so you may want to address them yourself.
There are many promotional companies out there so make sure to check around to see who offers the best deal. Maybe you’ll be able to get a package deal on business cards, magnets and greeting cards. We use Vistaprint and have been very happy with their work.
I’ll wrap this up by saying that we often talk about using social media and how it’s a great a tool for getting your name out, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon business cards. They are one of the most effective tools you will ever find to get exposure for you and your company.
I have a huge binder full of business cards that I have collected over the years, and I do refer to them if I need a professional such as an electrician, plumber, pest control, tree service or any other service type company. It sits on my desk, right at my finger tips when I need to call someone.
If I’m doing that then odds are many others are too! Besides not everyone is a techie, so using the good old business card and magnet are comforting for those who are not always comfortable with new age social media.
Feel free to tell me if business cards play a small or large part of your promotion efforts by leaving a comment below. Or perhaps you have a success story of some kind to share? Either way just leave a comment and get the conversation started!
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