One of those little-known nuggets of marketing wisdom goes like this, “when times get a little tight or business is slow this is not the time to cut back on promotion – which is the natural instinct – instead, you have to step up the promotion.”
The trick is to find ways to get the maximum results with the minimum expenditure, but never to cut back and promote less, because that’s suicide.
One of these ways how to get maximum results when promoting your services or when seeking job opportunities that is cheap but highly effective is to step up your marketing with business cards.
In this post-COVID slowdown a lot of people will be looking to find work following the layoffs. Other will be looking to drum up more business.
Your business card says a lot about who you are, what you offer and how serious you are at marketing yourself or your business. Here are ten proven tips how to use business cards to increase your chances of landing a job or to have new customers or clients beating a path to your door who need your services.
1. Always have your business cards handy when you leave your home
This should be one of the first things on your checklist. So, besides checking that you have your driving license and your wallet with you, check to see that you didn’t forget the biz cards!
Then use any chance meeting to give out a business card. Out on a quick morning run? Give out a business card to that gentleman you meet who you remember exchanging rocking chair restoration tips with, at Martha’s garage sale. Quick trip to the local store? This could throw up another unexpected networking opportunity, so make it a habit to carry business cards everywhere you go.
2. Attach a business card when mailing out bill payments
Many companies have for long used bills to advertise. You too can advertise your skills or services this way. Simply insert a business card with your payment. Don’t underestimate the power of networking, thinking who will ever help me from a business card I mailed 2,000 miles away?
You never know, but this isn’t impossible, or unheard-of. Like the movie, “6 Degrees of Separation” goes, apparently we are all 6 people away from knowing someone of influence. The person that receives that business card may be one who knows someone that lives in your city/town who needs the services you offer, or is looking to employ someone like you.
This is a powerful networking attitude, and if you can embrace it and apply it in your life, it can be a fountain of continued success for you.
3. Give card, take card
Any time you give someone a business card, good etiquette requires that you ask for a business card from them. When another person gives you a card, don’t just take it and put it in your pocket immediately. Take the card and look at it for a few seconds. This has the effect of making the other person feel important.
Additionally, you might see something on the card that could take the discussion in another profitable direction.
It also pays to make brief comments onto the card that may prove helpful in future. You could for example note the date, the location, or some common points of interest you have with the other person.
These comments help when you finally want to follow up with the person. But even more importantly, this act of writing them demonstrates to the other person that your interest is sincere.
Now you can put the card in your wallet, safe in the knowledge that the other person knows that they’re residing in a special place in your “circle of interest.” When you make people feel important, you make yourself important to them.
4. Business cards are cheap, so be generous with them
This means giving them out to everyone, including to family members and your friends. Even if you’re down to your last card, give it out! Also it is good practice to give out two cards at a time to each person.
When you give out two cards, you are making it easier for this person to refer you. So, they will be telling a third party about your services and they will flip through their deck of cards, find they have two of yours, and, without thinking, they will say to the other person, “Why, I have a spare business card form Jim! Call him at this number.”
Don’t hoard your business cards, because all it does is make your wallet feel full, while keeping your bank account empty.
5. Always ask for referrals
Think about it… nobody will feel that you’re putting them on the spot when you say, “If you know anyone that could use my services, I would very much appreciate a referral.”
This makes the other person more comfortable than if you asked, “is your company hiring?” or “can you check with your boss if there are job opportunities for me where you work?”
By asking them instead to do you a favor and refer your services, you make them feel better because people are hard wired to want to do favors for other people, and to recommend good products and services.
This works like a charm if they have enjoyed your services themselves, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. Whether they’ve enjoyed your services before or not, this will make them feel a whole lot better about you, and motivate them to do what they can to help you out.
6. Leverage all social events
Any social event can be a great opportunity to meet someone who could be in a position to help you. Attend family events and events organized by or for your friends, because they can be a rich source of unexpected networking juice.
7. Develop the art of being in the right place at the right time
We’ve all experienced it… You go to a job fair or a business conference but you come back very disappointed with the networking results? Well, now’s the time to turn the tables!
You do this by volunteering to help out at the job fair or similar event. When you do this, this puts you in a better strategic position. Now you can more easily give out your resume or your business card.
Additionally, the people of interest that you’re trying to target might look at you differently when they know that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them make the event more successful.
You can hunt for networking events happening near you by searching Facebook, or visiting websites such as Eventme.com, TheLunchClub.net, Craigslist or JavitsCenter.com. Volunteering for events can be a very effective way to jumpstart your business card marketing.
8. Leverage proactive follow-up
Do you remember applying for a job and having a job interview or meeting with a recruiter or employer, or a prospective customer/client, only for days, weeks, or months to go by and you’re left wondering why they never called you back?
Like they say, “out of sight, out of mind!” Remember too that today you’re competing with 25, or 50 other people for this person’s attention. And they have TV, their smartphone, and the internet begging for their attention!
This means it’s a huge task for people to stay focused on what they said they would do in the face of so many competing demands on their time. This leaves you more and more responsible for keeping your needs top of mind, in their minds! So, give the other person a reason to call you back.
You can do this by sending a handwritten “thank you for your time” note soon after you met with them, with your business card inside the envelop. When you do this, this puts you in the driving seat. It will also make you standard out from the others who want to have their attention.
In case they do not respond to the first thank you note, send another. Sometimes people will not respond, but if you persist and you’re patient, this impresses them into finally responding and/or taking you seriously.
9. When a prospect gets promoted, use the opportunity to promote yourself
You can always get word when people get promoted to higher positions in their companies or businesses. This can be via press releases, newspapers, in Google news, etc.
This is an opportunity for you, whether you’re job hunting or looking for business opportunities. So, what you do is you get invitation-size blank greeting cards, and with the internet you find out the address of the company’s executive offices.
This is where you send the blank invitation-type card. Pen it with your hand and sincerely congratulate this person on getting promoted. Insert your business card, and what do you know? For just a few cents you have made this person’s day and possibly made it impossible for them not to respond to this unexpected pat on their back.
So, if you’re having a hard time landing a new job, why don’t you get into the habit of finding one prospective employer who was just recently promoted and sincerely express your joy with a hand-written note?
This little “ploy” could land you that job faster than you know because people open invitation-type envelops faster than any others.
10. Create a slogan/tagline and brand yourself
Your business card should feature a slogan that answers the question “Why should I give you a job? Or "What makes you different from all these others who want the job?"
A catchy tagline, slogan or motto insures that people always associate a company name with their product or services. Big businesses invest a lot of money to create lasting slogans that communicate the value they bring to their customers/clients. And so should you.
The big players do this as part of designing their company's offer and image so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in their target customer's mind. So, a company such as Nike will use their slogan, “Just do it!” and repeatedly pair this with images of sports stars wearing their product to associate their brand with achievement, celebrity, aspiration, performance, power, status, etc. in your mind.
You can do the same with a slogan on your business card. This ensures that people will remember you long after you met them. A slogan/tagline can make all the difference between getting hired or not hired, because people will remember you long after a meeting.
A good place to start creating your slogan is the site Shopify.com They have an online slogan maker script, if you can believe it. Go here: https://www.shopify.com/tools/slogan-maker
Play with it if you need online assistance. I input “fast” into it where it says “type a word” and it spit out 1,076 suggestions, including this one: Fast Kicks Ass!
In a recession or downturn you don’t cut back on marketing and promoting your services. You actually should step up the marketing. Just use the cheaper marketing strategies. Business cards are one such strategy.
With these ten tips on ramping up your business card marketing, you will get much more effective at finding a new job or driving sales of your services.
Want to become really good at marketing/promoting your services business? Follow this link for more from Chloe...