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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