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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: business cards

Business Cards Should Lead to an Amazing Website

Dave Delaney

I seldom see a business card without a web address. When you are actively networking, or casually meeting people, your business card is essential. Where your card leads people is also important. If someone receives your card and visits your website, they better like what they see.

Metacake is a Franklin company that specializes in creating websites and online platforms that convert visitors to clients. Full disclosure, they are a client.

One of Metacake's customers, Providence Auto Group, is an interesting case study for why having an amazing website is important. I spoke with Nathan McCauley, one of the owners of this unique, previously owned car dealership. He shared interesting insights into the before and after of updating the businesses website.

A company that donates cars to needy families

McCauley explained that nearly every customer they have goes to their website before visiting their showroom. He told me how their site's transformation has enabled Providence to share their story and promote their culture. It is an amazing culture, too, because the company donates cars to needy families.

Metacake worked with Providence to take their vision and elevate it. McCauley told me how their system works, but a visit to their new site achieved this, too. For every car they sell, they contribute a portion of that sale toward a new car for a local family in need.

There was a time when the business card lead potential buyers to the site, where they had a poor experience navigating. The design and user interface did not communicate what Providence Auto Group is all about. Now they have had more leads than they can handle, and they save money on their advertising budget, too.

McCauley told me in the first six months of the year, they sold 50 to 65 cars per month. Since their website re-launch in June, they sold 67 cars in July and 73 in August. On average, they gave away six to eight cars each year. So far they have given away nearly 20.

Re-thinking how your website appears is crucial to communicating who you are and what your business is all about. Next time you hand out your business card, consider where that card will lead the recipient. Will they become a customer or client from what they see?

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.

What to Do with Piles of Business Cards

Dave Delaney

Business Card Pile by Christopher Penn
Business Card Pile by Christopher Penn

Every so often, I like to surprise my newsletter subscribers with some free advice on a question they have. I recently sent an email that simply asked for a business challenge each subscriber faced. I received loads of replies with questions related to my areas of expertise like social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking.

One question that stood out was specifically about networking from Paul Schatzkin. Paul asked me what to do with the stack of business cards, which had accumulated over the past year on his desk. He joked that most of the cards were received from the “ritual card swap” at events. His problem is that he doesn’t recall many of the people. What should he do with these cards?

Prevent Business Card Pile Up

This happens to most of us from time to time, especially when we return home from a large conference where we meet many people. The best way to prevent this from happening in the first place is to follow these steps:

  • When you receive a business card, find a quiet moment to write a note on the back of the card about the person. Be sure to include how you should follow up.
  • When you return home or to your hotel room, scan the business cards using the free Evernote app. Send a LinkedIn connection request automatically (unfortunately, this defaults to the generic connection request message.) Add private notes about the person, like how you can help them and what you spoke about.
  • Send a follow up email. Determine how you can bring value. Why not share a link to a story you were speaking about at the event? How about scheduling a coffee or lunch? It’s good to add a note that you sent them a LinkedIn connection request, and you are happy to provide an introduction to someone in your network should they need it.

Now back to Paul’s pickle. I still believe there is value in growing your network using the cards you received, even if you don’t remember the person or where you met. In this case, I would scan each card and connect on LinkedIn using the aforementioned Evernote app.

How to Deal with the Pile of Business Cards

Your LinkedIn connection request may jar their memory. They may remember you and help you to connect the dots. If they don't remember you and ask how you met, it's time to be honest and tell them you don't recall. You can politely explain that you received their business card, but you have attended so many conferences recently that you're not certain which one you met at. Now would be a good time to ask them if they attended one of the events you attended.

I love email, because you have a record of your communication, whether it's the immediate follow up, or the humble reminder of how you met. I recommend using a service like Contactually to keep your connections in check. It automatically tracts your contacts in your email and reminds you when you should follow up. You can also use Baydin's Boomerang to set a reminder date for this too.

Now that you have the pile of business cards scanned in Evernote and connected on LinkedIn, you can decide whether to store them in a box or recycle them back to mother nature. The next time you're doing the ritual card swap, be sure to add the step of following up as soon as possible. This will make things much easier on you and your connections stronger. Thanks for the great question, Paul.

I answer NBN Club member's questions frequently. Join us today.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Essential tips for business cards

Dave Delaney

gagaSticks Did you hear the recent story about Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao's outrageous business card? His card made big news across the web recently (so did he) because of the outlandish job titles he had featured on it. Three of my favorites are, "Most Influential Person Of China", "Most Prominent Philanthropist of China” and “Most Charismatic Philanthropist of China". In my book, New Business Networking, I reserve a chapter dedicated to the importance of business cards. A smart networker never leaves home without cards. Don't believe anyone who tells you they are going away or a thing of the past. Business cards are here to stay - at least for the foreseeable future.

[Tweet "A smart networker never leaves home without business cards."]

It is not only paramount to carry your business cards, it is also important to be smart in how you use them. There is nothing worse than the guy at the networking event who rapidly hands out business cards. Are you guilty of trying to hand out and collect as many cards as possible? Think again, it's quality over quantity. I would rather walk away from an event with some genuine new relationships than pockets full of cards.

I recommend using apps like CardMunch and Evernote Hello to scan and upload card information to your LinkedIn account after you receive them. Be sure to take notes about the people you meet on the cards if possible. My business card is designed to encourage you to fill in the blanks. The rear of the card has fields to write where you met me, what we talked about, and how you should follow up.

Business Card Design is Important

The design of your card is important. I use a photo on mine, so you can remember me after we met. A company called Tribe Gaga impressed me recently by sending some personalized chewing gum business cards called, GAGAsticks. Each package of what appears to be a stick of chewing gum includes two wrapped items. One is a traditional stick of gum, which is great to refresh the breathe of any busy networker. The second is a magnetic business card. Mine includes my photo, contact info, and my book information on the other side. I think it's a brilliant way to be memorable.

I asked friends on Facebook for their favorite examples of unique business cards and many recommended author, Jay Baer's bottle opener card. It's a brilliant idea, because it's a card most people won't want to part with. I have included some photos of these cards here.

Be Mindful With Your Business Cards

No matter the type of business card you choose, it's crucial to be mindful with it. Always ask for someone else's card before offering your own. This doesn't mean you should ask for everyone's card you meet. Strike up a conversation or join others. If it's appropriate, ask for their card. There is no harm in asking if the moment is right or if you are wrapping up your conversation.

Lastly, be sure to follow up. Find a way that you can help them, like introducing them to someone in your network. Invite them to join you on LinkedIn by using an original connection request message that reminds them who you are and where you met. Refer back to the notes you made on the cards when following up. Who knows, you may have just met the most charismatic philanthropist of China.

If you have an idea for a business card, get started right now. MagicPrint has a sweet deal plus free shipping (affiliate link).


This article, "Be smart in using your business card", originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Dot-Matrix Business Card

Dave Delaney

I love unique and unusual business cards. I've seen everything from steel cards to cards made from bacon. Just when I think I have seen them all, a dot-matrix business card pops on my radar. Tom Ward has created a scrollable, electronic business card. It's a dot-matrix scroller with buttons that share the different information stored inside the card’s flash memory. It's certainly unique and unusual, but may not suit every situation.

Tom's product page on Instructables explains...

The design is really quite simple for what it does - a matrix of 5x15 LEDs, connected to a single-chip "PIC" microcontroller. A handful of resistors and switches complete the design. By keeping the microcontroller in sleep mode unless the buttons are pressed, the battery can last several years, and still allow a couple of thousand displays of your messages. 

Personally, I am a big fan of the traditional business card. We will certainly see more use of virtual cards and other types in the future, but I would bet we will never see paper cards disappear.

I encourage recipients of my business card to write where we met, what we talked about, and how we should follow up, directly on the card. I recommend Overnight Prints (affiliate) to order your cards from, they are who I use and there is a 50% off sale right now.

How about you? What's the craziest or coolest business card you've seen?

5 Tips for a Better Business Card

Dave Delaney

 

In my book, New Business Networking, I put a lot of emphasis on the importance of business cards. I stress that you should not be the person at the party handing out cards like a Las Vegas dealer. However, you should have them readily available when the opportunity arises to exchange your contact information.

Business cards are not just for people gainfully employed. Use them when you are between jobs or to promote your personal blog or hobby. The following are my five tips for better business cards. I get my cards inexpensively from VistaPrint if you are interested.

5 Tips for a Better Business Card

  1. Use a photo of yourself. Be memorable by adding a headshot to your business card.
  2. Include several points of contact. Don't just use a phone number. Include a couple of different ways a person can get in touch with you.
  3. Leave white space. Save a little white space, so a new contact can add a note about who you are and how you met.
  4. Include your URL. Where can people go to learn more about you? I recommend buying yourname.com if you can get it. Then redirect the domain to your blog, business site, LinkedIn profile, or a personal landing page. Use a free service like About.Me or Flavors.Me to create your own personal landing page.
  5. Be creative, but remember who you will be handing your card to. They may not be ready to play it on a music box or carry around concrete, although I love these ideas.

What is the most creative business card that you have seen?