Don't let your leave-behind get left behind.
Don't let your leave-behind get left behind.
Several years ago I was working at my desk, and my attention was drawn to a growing, unruly stack of business cards that I had collected over the previous few years. I attend a lot of networking events and industry meetings, and I've grown a pretty large collection of business cards, not to mention all the other SWAG that comes along with the territory (Stuff We All Get = SWAG, in case you missed it).
I have a habit with business cards that some of you may share. I have an old check box that I toss them all into and then I forget about them. In looking through all the cards, I realized that I didn't remember most of the people I'd gotten them from, and then I wondered how many of them might remember me just from keeping my business card.
I realized then that I was missing a boatload of business opportunities because I relied too heavily on my business card to bring people to my door. And my business card wasn't set up to do the bringing.
When I asked people what they habitually did with the business cards they collected, only an alarming few said they kept them and referred to them. Some people used scanning to add them to their CRMs, but the vast majority of people either put them in a box or drawer or they threw them away.
I come home from every trade show and networking meeting with a tote bag filled with SWAG - pens, calendars, jar lid openers, notebooks, post-it notes, stress balls - I even have a CD jewel box case opener from the International Folk Alliance Conference in 1999.
Businesses invest mega money in these kinds of giveaways, and I have to ask - are these items really moving the needle? I can think of only a few I regularly use, and I haven't become a customer of those businesses. I can only think of one of them that I regularly refer to, and that's not because of their sexy jar opener. It's because they're friends.
During the time I was reconstructing my approach to networking, I spent hundreds of hours learning about all the components of a first contact experience. The Elevator Pitches That Don't Suck workshop was one of the products of that research and experimentation.
In that workshop and subsequent online course, one of the most requested follow-up sessions was a special class specifically about business cards and freebies. After the realization I described above about what people do with business cards after they receive them, I did a lot of experimenting with an idea that was new to me:
You only have to attend one networking event in your lifetime to understand that there is an abundance of freebies glutting your desktop and office space. My question is:
In other words, which ones do you feel compelled to keep close so that you can use them? How many of them fulfill an ongoing need, no matter how minor or small? And an equally important question:
Even your business card can contain an easy-to-accept offer that opens the door for you to deliver another level of value to its holder. Is the stress ball or mug with your logo on it really doing that for you?
In this course, I'll teach you how to design and create a Fridgeworthy Freebie - a value-laden object that you give away to people you meet in every setting that they are happy to receive, delighted to use, and that positions you as the right person or business to work with. And it will include the invitation to step into the next phase of your business relationship.
I may have already given you enough information on this sales page to stimulate your imagination. And honestly, if that's all it takes for your freebie to breathe new life into your business, I'll be happy. If you want a little more guidance, go ahead and take the course. And if you'd like even more help, schedule an IdeaBurst Session.
There's a gallery below that will show you a few of the freebies I've created. They don't have to be expensive to be useful. If all you have is an idea and a working inkjet printer, you still have a universe full of options and opportunities.
How about a working eye test chart on the back of your business card or possibly as a fridge magnet. Give instructions for how far away to stand and for reading the lines. If they can't read the bottom two lines from five feet away, they need to set an appointment.
Make it specific to your specialty.
Wedding photographer? Make a PDF guide or printed booklet with a list of questions to ask photographers as you interview them, a suggested timeline for making photography arrangements and scheduling sessions, a list of things to remember to bring to your session, and a checklist of all the suggested groups and settings to capture on the day of the wedding.
Business photographer? A card or flyer with suggestions for how to take a more attractive headshot, along with a reminder to schedule a new headshot session every year.
Make the freebie line up with your niche and think about what the next step in your relationship sequence needs to be.
A preparatory checklist to help clients remember all the compliance regulations they need to meet, those that are most often problematic, and a reminder of how frequently they need to schedule compliance consultations for their permits and licenses.