Like it or not, if you’re going to a conference any time soon, you need business cards to network effectively. Smart phones are great, but they just can’t compete with the advantages of a well-thought-out business card.
Why Business Cards?
Business cards are 100% reliable. Your smartphone could hit a black spot or unexpectedly run out of juice, but your card will keep going. Business cards are great because they serve as a physical reminder of a face-to-face interaction. But, be prepared: people will ask for your card, and if you don’t have one you run the risk of looking unprofessional. Also, keep in mind that, when networking with a large group of people, it is ideal to hand out cards because people then feel obliged to reciprocate with their own cards, making it easier for you both to connect after the event.
Push Your Brand and Personality
Your blog wouldn’t be your blog without your personality, so it’s important that your card mirrors who you are. Give it some pizzazz. However, make sure that your card has at least three items: your name, main point of contact (normally your email or phone number) and the URL(s) of the blogs that you’re involved with.
A great way to make your interaction memorable is to add a conference-specific incentive to your card. This could take the form of an offer or free information in exchange for the recipient subscribing to your newsletter. Either way, an offer is a great talking point when you hand over each card.
Get Social with Your Cards
Another creative way to encourage people to connect with you is by including a Quick Response (QR) code on your business card. PC Magazine defines QR codes as barcodes that are “widely used to cause a web page to download into a user’s smartphone when scanned with a mobile tagging app.” QR codes can be used to link to your blog URL, preferred social media profile, email sign-up page, incentive or even a page with your entire list of contact information.
Get Social with New Contacts
If you meet people whose cards don’t have a QR code, you can still quickly connect online by scanning their cards using the following services:
- ScanBizCards works on iPhone, Android and Windows devices. It has 27 features, including the ability to send card owners a quick intro email and the option to download contact information to your phone and Outlook calendar.
- Cardmunch is a free iPhone app that will automatically convert the scanned card into a phone contact. It also shows the card owner’s LinkedIn profile and any business connections that you have in common.