As I do during or after conferences, I'm organizing to follow up with people I reconnected with and new people I met at SxSWi and the social media panel I spoke at in Philadelphia on St. Patrick's Day. Over the years, I found some things to be more helpful than others when it comes to the information you put on your business card.
However you handle the input of business card information into your database -- whether by iPhone bump, card scanning, or manual input -- the best way to be remembered is still to be memorable.
Given that I manage to still stay connected with a massive number of people, I'm happy to share with you 5 tips that will get someone quite busy to connect with you and not someone else.
(1.) Display your preferred direct phone number prominently
You may think that listing a Web URL is sexier and you might even be right. If compulsive Web browsers are your intended audience and you're not in a hurry for business, go for it. For the rest of us, a phone number does the trick, especially when we're looking to close a deal.
A direct line works best. Many smart phones cannot deal with an extension. Set up a redirect 800-number, instead. And you can be smart with direct lines and track your leads at the same time. Or get Google Voice if you're not spooked at the power of any one corporation over your information.
Make it easy for people to dial you with one touch on their address book.
(2.) Put an image on the card
It will help people connect you with your information better, and humanize your business at the same time. I mention it because unless you said something really interesting and I wrote a note on the back of your card, I'm a bit foggy on who you are a week later.
We all meet many more people than we used to. Use a visual that connects strongly to what you do. If you're the product, consider using a photo of yourself.
This doesn't mean your card needs to look like that of a real estate agent, unless that is your business, of course. It just helps jog memory if you have a visual aid. You can see how I implemented the photo on my card above. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that my direct line is blanked out there.
(3.) Give people your preferred ways of communication
A business card is a communication tool, it can be as technical or as low tech as you want to make it. When you choose what to put on it, you're orienting others on your preferred ways to communicate. If, for example, email is the best way to reach you, just list that.
List three ways, if you intend people to use either one based upon their preference. However, remember that less may be more. If you have four telephone numbers, I do wonder about the efficiency of your system.
Take into consideration your customers' communication styles and needs when selecting contact details.
(4.) Include content that sets you apart
In addition to using a distinctive image, consider either using a well crafted tag line that expresses your mission or statement of purpose best. Even better if you hone this short phrase to be your unique selling proposition or value. Set yourself apart, by being yourself.
The line "connecting ideas and people -- how talk can change our lives" represents who I am, as well as what I do. And it's broad enough to encompass the many ways in which I help companies with brand strategy and marketing communications to connect with customers, communities, and social influencers.
Communicate your tag line across your online and off line presence. Compare yours to 45 creative, clever, and effective blog tag lines.
(5.) Exchange cards after talking/connecting with someone
The best way for someone to remember you is to actually have talked with you more than the time it takes to hand them your card. Some people are so popular that giving them your card will get you totally lost in their virtual assistant tracking software with no project attached to it.
In most cases, in fact, having the patience to connect the dots between your work ethics and trusted referrals and cultivating those relationships by being helpful over time make the card exchange the contract. You are going to do work together.
Develop big ears to figure those nuances out and you will close more deals, while using fewer cards.
These are my ideas, based upon what works for me. What works for you? What else would you recommend?