Self-promotion is not a part-time job – part 2

There is a certain sequence to promoting yourself. First you figure out what you can do for people and then you tell people about it. One of the most convenient means of getting people to remember what you do is to give them a business card.

My friend Wayne Hurlburt says it very well:

The old fashioned business card is still one of the best offline promotional tools available. They are low cost, can contain all of the necessary contact information including blog and website URLs, they are easy to carry and distribute, and recipients actually save and read them.

However, you need to realize that business cards will only do their job if people can remember you in the first place.

Consider your own experience. How many business cards do you have that you cannot remember why you are holding on to them? On the other hand, you probably have some cards that you keep because you had a memorable discussion with someone and want to get back in communication with them.

Promoting yourself is more than mumbling your name and putting your card in someone’s hand, you need to understand that it is a performance! You are introducing people to your global microbrand and you need to make sure that every contact counts! You want every possible prospect for your services to go away with a lasting positive impression and a way to get in touch with you. Like any performance, practice is required for professional results.

For example, if you give out a card at the beginning of a conversation, too often the recipient takes the card and puts it away without reading it while continuing to talk to you. This is a wasted card and he may barely remember he has it.

There is a better way. Get in good communication with the person. It takes only minutes to see where your mutual interests lie. If the person needs, or may need, what you can provide, give them your shortest elevator pitch. If they appear interested, give them your card while saying something like, "You can find out more on my website. It’s here on my card. If you are interested, give me a call."

When you put a business card into someone’s hand, tell them why you are giving it to them. Make sure they see you web address or email address. It will make it easier to remember why they have your card when they discover it in their pocket later.

Your business card is best used as a reminder that a conversation has taken place. Make the conversation meaningful and make sure that the person receiving the card knows why you are giving it to them.

You will know when you are succeeding because people will follow up later and say that they still have your business card.

I carry and use at least three different business cards. One when doing interviews for this blog. Another when pitching Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day. Still another when discussing design projects. All three make it much easier to get the word out in a relaxed and professional manner.

Wishing you success in your self-promotional efforts. Send me an email if I have left anything out that you need.

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0 Responses to Self-promotion is not a part-time job – part 2

  1. Adrien says:

    Hi David, your post talks to me as I always carry two business cards : one more personnal and one more business. Different cards for different objectives. Still I’m impressed with your 3 cards but why not.

    And as you stress it, I keep my cards for people I had an interesting chat with. It’s worthless to give away cards without talking.

  2. J Wynia says:

    I recently had a cartoon portrait done of me and have been using it to build my *own* microbrand. As part of that, I’ve put the image as a stamp on the top right corner of all of my sites as well as redesigning my business cards. The new design* really focuses on my personal microbrand and uses this new image as well instead of the focus I’d had previously on my cards of the business name. I’ve been startled by just how much more effective these new cards are. Nearly everyone who I hand one to comments on it. That NEVER used to happen. And, I’ve gotten far more email and calls that say, “Someone gave me your card”. Your concept of the card as a reminder is I think behind it. Rather than trying to sell my services outright, the card serves as a placeholder and entry point into “my little world”. And, because it contains a distinctive image of me, that reminder is much stronger than it was with my previous card design.


  3. It was pointed out many moons ago to me that when you hand someone your business card, they usually hold it in the hand for a while as you converse. The cardholder unconsciously feels the card. The physical nature of the card such as thickness, embossing and other quality determinants are transmitted to the holder, reflecting on you wordlessly.

    It’s the same reason resumes should be on quality, bonded paper. Touch talks without a voice. Spend the money necessary to transmit quality.

  4. Stephan F says:

    I have 5-6 business cards, that I carry around at any given time. A business card is a great promotional tool. Since you can make them yourself you can make different ones for different occasion and tailor them to the audience if you can.

    A tip I got from an employment specialist for job hunters is to have a resume card, have a short skills list on the back I improved that by adding an autoresponder resume (keep it updated.)

    For any business card you can make an autoresponder just a little report that they can download for lots more information.

    Always carry a business card or two dozen.

  5. You are right David. The business card only works if used properly. As a hammer can either build a house or hit your thumb, the business card requires proper use. Before offering the card, establish a rapport with the person with whom you are speaking. One a connection has been established, the card recipient will associate you with good ideas. Let the business card be the icing on the cake, and a visual reminder of a truly memorable meeting, leading to even more in the future.

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