As I've said in the past, starting a small business can be overwhelming at times. Just the thought of putting all you have to do on paper can make you want to throw in the towel before you get started. It takes determination and a "You can't beat me!" attitude.
I am going to assume that if you are selling your handmade items, you already have business cards. If not, read my past posts on the subject of business card design. If your design is done and you've ordered those cards and you have those boxes in hand, you might be wondering how to get the most out of using them as marketing tools.
Business cards are more than just something you have to pack up for shows or exhibits. They need to
become your best friend. They need to go everywhere with you and be involved in every aspect of your life. Yes, even those holiday parties with friends. That may sound like overkill, but this is your business so you can choose to build it timidly or take the bulls by the horns and jump in with both feet.
I always have business cards on me and I mean "always." I may have them in a pocket or in my purse, and they are hiding in my car (I don't want them exposed when I'm not in the car. I make jewelry. That's a ticket to getting my car broken into. So use common sense.). My husband carries them and hands them to his clients, as well.
One of my favorite tricks is to leave business cards behind wherever I go. When leaving a restaurant, I leave at least one on the table. I might accidentally drop one on the floor under the table and without further thought, forget to pick it up. Am I bad? You can find my cards in ladies bathrooms, or on the floor in a clothing store. I don't make a nuisance of myself to the point they are going to call me and ask me to quit. I'm pretty discreet and work at being non-offensive. But hey, it is my business and I want the peeps to know where I am and what I do and where they can find my product.
Another trick I use, which is fairly easy because I make jewelry, is to wear a piece or two into a store and keep touching it. Some people will notice. If not, I might walk up to a sales person that isn't busy and ask what she thinks of the piece. I will tell her a little of what I do and that I just finished it and can't decide if I like it or not. I ask for her opinion. Nine times out of ten she will get excited and ask if I have a website. That leads straight into the business card handout.
After you've handed someone your card, be sure to tell the potential client that you are always adding to or changing things on your websites, so they should be sure to bookmark your site so she/he can check it regularly. Will she do it? Maybe not. But always be on the lookout for that one customer that becomes a fan and a regular shopper. They are out there. There is always someone out there that will love what you do.
When at a show, make sure you put at least one card in a shopper's bag, and leave plenty laying around your tables. Some sellers think their cards need to be in a card holder, but they don't. I have told many people to be sure to take a card, just to see them fumble around my booth looking for the card holder, while disrupting the shopping of other clients. So now I put at least six smaller stacks tactfully around my tables, where they will be within easy reach, no matter where the customer is standing. I put my two card holders on the left and right entrance into my booth.
When mailing out an order, use one business card back for a thank you message and add another card for good measure. If you are exchanging information with someone, write your info on the back of your business card and hand it to them. If they don't have anything to write on, use another one of your cards. They will turn it over, if only for a split second. That is true marketing...the more impressions a person gets of your business, the more apt they are to remember it.
If I need to use a repairman in my home, I exchange business cards with them and tell them to hand it to someone special in their family or use my website for gift-giving. Most men will throw them away, but a few don't and hand them over or use them themselves. You are looking for just one...that one that will make a purchase.
Your friends might think you're a little weird...like me...but put some cards out during a holiday party. If your friends reprimand you for doing so, and if the party is at YOUR house, they probably aren't much of a friend anyway. Ugh...I love people who support the cause! They don't have to be a top customer, but they should support your enthusiasm for wanting to be a success small business owner.
Have you ever walked into your dry cleaners or favorite restaurant and seen an area where you can leave business cards? If you've been smart and not used your home address and phone number, feel free to leave a small stack of cards there. Again, I recommend discretion. Make sure that you aren't leaving your personal information behind that might add risk to your life or business.
The main point of this post is to let you know that it's okay to use your business cards as a strong marketing tool, and don't be afraid to do so. They are not a huge expense, and they are one of the quickest ways to market your business. Here are my four B's for business card marketing...Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Consistent, and Be Smart, and you can create a great avenue for driving up your business sales.
Stay Wired Up! Gail