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5 Creative Ways To Market With Business Cards

by Catherine Lott
money & life

marketing ideas for business cards

Slinging business cards is simple when you’ve got networking events, trade shows, and conferences packed on your calendar. But when you’re hunkered down at your desk getting work done, it’s not as easy to share your information with colleagues and potential clients.

Don’t let that keep you from getting your name out there. Let your business card and the people around you do some of that work for you.

Just by getting a little creative — and that’s what you’re good at, right? — you can let your business card put itself in other people’s hands. Here are a few ideas to consider that will also help generate new approaches for you and your creative business card distribution.

1.) Create a referral program on your card.

Leave room on the back of your card to make five to 10 lines for your clients, colleagues and friends to write their email addresses. Either include instructions on the card or explain to the first person you hand it to that your business card is a referral card; encourage them to write their info on the back and pass it along to someone else who could use your services and request that they do the same. The last person should return the card to you (or take a picture and email or text it to you) and everyone on the card gets a percentage off services (or the benefit of your choosing) when you receive it back. Bonus: You now have email addresses to add to your contact database!

2.) Make a game of business card distribution.

This is similar to the referral program, but it adds in some friendly competition. See who can get the one card in the most people’s hands, or how far your card can travel from home. You can also connect the game into social media. With any game, there has to be a prize at the end, so be sure to plan for something.

3.) Partner up with complementary services.

Create your own referral network with noncompeting services by offering to trade distribution of cards. Oftentimes someone who needs a graphic designer or web designer will also need a photographer and could benefit from a copywriter.

business card marketing ideas

4.) Partner with past clients.

If you have a past client who is pleased with your service, ask if you can display your business cards at their location so they can easily refer you. It will take a little extra effort, but if you write on those cards “designed ABC company logo,” your potential clients are already exposed to some of your great work.

5.) Catch people off guard.

Just because you’re not at a networking event doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to people you come across about your service. While you’re in line at the bank, sitting at the coffee shop, or in the repair shop waiting room, be mindful of those around you and ways you may be able to connect. Hint: Well-placed and honest compliments, or finding something in common, are great ways to strike up conversations.

If you’ve done any searching online for this kind of thing, you’ve probably also come across some ideas of your own. Unfortunately, many of them are just plain absurd. (Taping my business card to a public toilet? Thanks, but I really don’t want my services being associated with … that).

Here are some of the more common but higher quality ways to get your card out there that might also spark a new idea for you:

– Include a few business cards in everything you mail out.

– Ask friends and family to carry your cards and distribute when they see fit.

– Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center to see if they have a place for local businesses to leave cards and brochures.

– Ask to leave cards at businesses where your service would connect with that clientele.

– Leave them on community boards around town.

– Slide a card in books and magazines related to your service.

– Give more than one business card when you hand them out, so they have one to keep and one or two to give away.

When it comes down to it, nothing beats meeting someone face-to-face for the first impression and letting your business card be the lasting impression. However, it’s just as important to keep your name and information out there— even when you’re not.

As a small business writer, Catherine knows how to make connections. She recommends Tiny Prints to all of her associates when it comes to personalized business cards.

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Catherine Lott

Catherine Lott is a nonprofit public relations professional who is passionate about connecting organizations and people in inspiring ways. Follow Catherine on her blog.