Timothy I related to the drawer, file holder, box, special card holder with business cards to the greatest degree. You reminded me about all my many stashes I have for them. Please email some more information about the scanner? I have worked in retail sales of paintings at an art gallery. Our business cards were thought of as a last ditch effort to maintain contact. Unfortunately, the reality of success generated by distribution of them was slim to none in this difficult market. The life expectancy of a business card was about three seconds once a client left the gallery. It occurs to me that putting info on the back of them was probably a reminder of the objection to closing a sale. I was thinking about this the other day, while preparing for attending my next biznik event. All this being said, reinforced that a solid, exciting, engaging presentations creates more success than actual business card. I agree that making more contact through use of business cards is a pathway which should be explored. Thanks again for the info and the timely presentation of your article. Tom
3 Steps to using Business Cards in Marketing Plan
I have business cards coming out my ears! Do you? I am rethinking how to use them for marketing.
If you are like me, you have a desk full of business cards and it keeps growing. Ok, so some of you are a little more organized than I, you have yours in a sleeve with all the others stuck in some binder. But if you are like me you wonder "Now what?" What do I do with all of these business cards? More importantly how can I use them in my marketing, which is why we all pass them out every day.
I did some looking by Googleing "business card marketing," and I found a lot of information on what to do with your card, how to get it in front of people. In addition, we have all been following these suggestions, right. However, what I wanted to know is how to best use all the cards that I have received over the years. I was disappointed that I did not find much information on this subject. Perhaps because it is so basics that it needs no further discussion. Perhaps we all know what to do with them, we put them in our drawer, card sleeve, rolodex, etc until we need something, is this correct? Am I the only one that has done this year after year? Only to look in my drawer and be amazed at how many cards I have that I did not even know I had. Alternatively, I become exasperated trying to find that one card that I need. I know for sure it was here last week, I am sure of it.
I have the suspiccion that I am not the only one doing this practice. So how can we best use these cards for marketing and help our business grow? I have come up with my own 3-step approach to using these cards more effectively, which also allows for a bonus step.
- I have purchased a business card scanner. The one that I purchased can scan in color and can do OCR (Optical Character Recognition) fairly well. I found that there were a few things that I would have to fix depending on the type of card that I scanned in, or if the font was unique. The software was easy to use, and easy to export/import into Outlook. Now at the very least I have them all saved electronically, so I can easily use the information. I can sort, search, group, etc. All very powerful tools. Having this information electronically allows me to use the emails addresses for those all-important email campaigns, without the hastle of typing everything in one by one. This is usually why they stay in the drawer in the first place. Who wants to take the time to hand type the info into the computer? Another benefit is that the software saves a picture of the card, so you can always pull up the original card, and yes it will scan 2 sided cards.
- I now have an easy way to follow-up on the card that I have received. I can easily email the person; thank them for the last meeting or for meeting them at such and such function. This provides a good segway into asking them to be a reciepient of my newsletter, etc. With all the SPAM circulating, I would not just begin sending information out without asking if they would like to been added to my list. As I would also appreciate someone asking me first before sending their materials.
- So now that I have permission to send information and I have their info electonically I can build my merge list and send my newsletter and other important information notices out to all. Because I have this information electonically, I can import into CRM (Customer Relations Manager) software such as Goldmine or ACT and track different marketing campaigns. I can use the CRM software to track the success of my efforts. Many CRM software packages also help by indicating the last time that you contacted so and so. This is very helpful when as I think we have all experienced, a time when we have not placed that call to or email, and need to follow-up with them. Even to just say hello and see how things are going on their end. I find little things like a call to say hello is very valuable in maintaining the business relationhip.
There is also a not so hidden fourth step. By having people's business cards electronically it makes it very easy for me to forward the entry to someone I know that is looking for a particular service. I can help in the business card's life by passing it along to the needed party, and because I have the information, electronically I have the benefit of being able to find it quickly and I can pass along without losing it. Traditionally I would hand the persons card off to a friend, giving up my only card for so and so.
As for me, I am working on scanning in all my cards as my new little toy makes it very easy. Soon I will be sending many emails asking people to join my newsletter. I am on my way and have a bit of work to do, but I have a plan. If you would like more information about the card scanner that I am using, please let me know, I am always happy to share technical information.
Learn more about the author, Timothy Knuth.
Comment on this article
Posted by Thomas Willa, Renton, Washington |
Nov 04, 2008
Posted by Timothy Knuth, Bothell, Washington |
Nov 04, 2008
Thanks for the feedback! I was planning a follow-up article on the different business card scanners out there and some of the differences, etc. I am not sure at this juncture if I want to add that information as a comment to this article, or if I want to write a seperate article. I am mostly worried about length, as to fully produce the pros and cons of the different devices out there I will need more than a comment length.
What do other's think? do you want me to add that info here, as best as I can? Or do you want a seperate article, where I can add a bit of extra details?
Posted by Rosemary Levesque, Portland, Oregon |
Jun 13, 2009
Tim, As I look at all my biz cards that I have accumulated and organized to death over the years... maybe I'm a slow learner... I need a scanner and a management system. I'd love some advice. Can one use a scanner without the management system?
Posted by Timothy Knuth, Bothell, Washington |
Jun 16, 2009
Sure you can use a business card reader without any other software or management system.
I have the Worldcard Color, and I have found that this is a wonderful product. The scanner does double-sided cards and in Full Color.
The software that comes with the unit not only scans the cards, but also has a way to organize them. You have a multitude of ways to sort the cards, you can view them in full color, thumbnails, etc. The unit does a fair job of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) meaning that it will try its best to determine things such as Title, name, address, etc. Some cards are easier than others.
The program is fairly easy to work with and you can use it as a stand alone business card finder, for example, if you wish to have just an electronic version of all your business cards, then this is a great product. You can also export this info to Outlook or other software such as ACT and use the info directly in your email campaigns.
Finally here is a link to the product that I am using.
- business cards
- card scanners
- email marketing