How many business cards did you collect last year? What did you do with them after you got them? Maybe you put them in a box. Or maybe you bought an official business card organizer. Whatever your organizational choice, the most important question is: what did you do with them after you collected them?
Face-to-face networking isn’t going anywhere no matter what social media companies say. Because it is still one of the best ways for local businesses to connect and support each other. The most frustrating aspect can be what to do with all those little pieces of cardstock handed out like confetti.
Whatever you do with the actual card itself, there are apps to make it easier to “carry” them. I’ve been using one for about a year (CamCard*) and it’s working well. If I remember to scan them in. And make sure the contact info is right. The AI isn’t always able to read the card so double-checking the info is correct is important.
Using an app is a great step but it’s not enough. The business cards are still “in a box”. It’s an electronic version so it’s not as cumbersome but still a box. Add one more piece to your business card process and utilize those connections to grow your business: connect with them on LinkedIn.
My business card routine is simple: first I scan the card into my phone then I connect with the person on LinkedIn. This allows me to easily access their contact info on my phone AND grow that relationship.
People will better remember who YOU are.
Did you know people need to see your business 7 times before they buy from you? This means even if you’re a member of a weekly networking group, it’ll take almost 2 months for group members to connect your business with you. Connect with them on LinkedIn so they’ll see your name more often than once a week.
It’s easier to keep track of people.
If you’ve been networking for a while or, if you go to multiple networking events, the sheer number of connections can be overwhelming. Connecting with them on LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to look over their profile and get a better idea of what they do. And how your business interests mesh.
Easy to actually follow up.
I send every new connection a thank-you note. It says thanks for connecting, a brief overview of what I do and a video. For connections that I think are a warmer lead, I’ll wait a few days before sending a helpful article, or a tool or tip about marketing (my industry) or specific to their industry.
Why not Facebook?
Not saying you shouldn’t connect with them on Facebook but don’t skip LinkedIn. Facebook is a place for people to connect with friends, family and watch cute cat videos. LinkedIn is a professional network where business people go to do business with other business people.
Now the business card has fulfilled its purpose. You are connected, and the chances you’ll stay in touch increase. No matter where their (or your) career goes.
I still can’t tell you the best place to store the physical business card but if you follow these “rules” you’ll get more from them and your business will thrive.
*I use the free version and am not getting any fees if you sign up for it so make your own decision on which app you use.