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Death By Inbound Marketing: The Business Card


In preparation for INBOUND15, my boss was cleaning out the bag she used last year and found business cards from INBOUND14. They were just sitting there for a year, cold and alone. 9 times out of 10, that’s exactly what your business card is, a wallet stuffer or bag liner, simply wasting space and KILLING TREES. Do you hate the environment, do you? 

Of course you don’t. The business card has become the professional equivelant of, “How are you?” It’s polite to ask in conversation, but you don’t really want to know the answer. The same goes for business cards. If someone is making an effort to speak with you at a conference or networking event, the polite thing to do is to ask for their card. But you don’t reallyy want it. They’re simply no longer an effective technique when it comes to connecting with people. But with death there comes life (or something), and in this case, new opportunities to innovate how we connect with people face to face.

SEE ALSO: What It Means To Humanize Your Business Through Inbound Marketing

We live our lives online, being handed a small piece of cardboard as a relationship catalyst isn’t going to cut it. As inbound marketers, we pride ourselves on the ability to be a magnet, not a megaphone. Providing value to people’s lives in a way that draws them in, not chases them down. So why do we give people small pieces of direct mail? Luckily, business cards don’t hold a gun to your head and force you to hand them out. This is where we have the upper hand, we can do it better!

Implementing the same inbound techniques we utilize on a daily basis to solve this problem is the key. Now, I’m not saying walk around telling people you’ll give them a free downloadable ebook if they give you their name and email address, but you're getting warmer.

For starters, try actually trying to get to know the person. This can be challenging at events, but will go a long way if you’re successful. Someone is far more likely to remember an enjoyable conversation they had with Brian who “also used to mix all the restaurant condiments together!” and runs an inbound agency, rather than another face harping on about increasing revenue.

SEE ALSO: The Secret Sauce To Delighting Your Clients Through Email Is Wicked Easy

Get THEIR information. This is probably the most common dropping of the ball. If you’re trying to connect with someone who you deem more important than yourself (it’s ok, it happens), or, who deems you less important than themselves: Get. Their. Info. Giving them your card, name, number, email address, or first born will do you no good if you’re the reacher. This will increase your chances of linking up later exponentially.

Try your best to have them tell you their email address personally, this will engage them in conversation for even a few moments longer. Have your phone out and ready to deter them from simply handing you a card, and jot down specifics from the conversation or moment to reference in a message later.

RIP business cards, you won’t really be missed, but you have that “you used to be a big deal” thing going for you, so there’s that. Maybe you’ll make a retro comeback like denim jackets or Ramen Noodles. But hopefully not.

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