First off, let me say that I’m not here to proclaim the death of the business card. Traditional business cards are still very useful, and you should certainly have some on you at all times. However, it’s no secret that most business cards either end up buried in a filing cabinet or in the nearest trash can.
That’s why it’s a good idea to look into business card alternatives that catch people’s eyes and give them a reason to hold onto your contact info.
Here are just some of the top alternatives to business cards. Feel free to add your favorites by leaving a comment.
Branded flash drives – This is one of my favorite alternatives to the business card for a few reasons. First, a branded flash drive (USB drive) just creates an image that your company is on the cutting edge. Second, no one in their right mind is going to throw away a perfectly good flash drive, so they’ll be seeing your name on a daily basis. And finally, you can load some of your marketing materials onto the flash drives so that customers can learn more about your business…inching them a bit closer to conversion.
Resource cards – One way to make sure your business card doesn’t get thrown away is to include useful information on the back of it. For example, let’s pretend you’re a DUI defense lawyer. On the back of your card, you could have information about the local DUI laws as well as people’s rights (e.g. right to refuse breath test). This turns the business card into a highly useful resource that the person wants to hang onto in case they ever get pulled over.
Brochures – Print brochures can be used to educate customers on who you are, what you do, and how they’ll benefit by doing business with you. Give people an extra incentive to hang onto your brochure by including time-sensitive offers and coupons inside.
Coasters – Branded coasters are a good idea because they’re small enough to fit in someone’s pocket if you’re handing them out at a trade show and useful enough that a prospect will likely put it to immediate use on their desk if you send it with your direct mail. Just make sure you get a decent quality coaster as you don’t want your contact info peeling away when it gets wet.
Social networking – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have millions and millions of members. There’s a good chance your target audience is on one or more of these sites. Instead of swapping business cards, you could simply add one another on these social networking sites. That lets you go a step further by actually building a long-term relationship with the individual online.
iPhone apps – There are several iPhone apps that make it easy for you to exchange information with prospects and clients. From ScanBizCards that stores a digital image of your business card to Bump which allows iPhone users to exchange contact information by literally bumping their phones together, there are plenty of great iPhone alternatives to paper business cards.
Substances related to your line of work – I’ve seen home remodelers who hand out little pieces of sheetrock with their business info on it. I’ve also seen hardwood flooring companies use actual wood for their business cards. And I’ve even seen people who stamp their contact info on a rock.
If you can find a material relevant to your business that you can stamp your info on, go for it. Sure, it might not be the most convenient “business card” for carrying around, but you can be sure the people you hand it to will take notice and never forget you.
Have you seen any creative alternatives to business cards? What are your favorites? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.