No matter how much money you spend on premium business cards, they’ll likely end up in a junk drawer or in the trash. To avoid this fate, many entrepreneurs add new contacts directly to their phone or schedule a follow-up call on the spot. This eliminates the need for a business card.
Experts from the Forbes Agency Council agree that business cards aren’t always the best option for networking. They’re great for getting a private email address, but clutter up pockets when given out as a formality.
Although standard business cards are phasing out, certain situations call for handing someone printed material. For example, say you’re a graphic designer networking with potential clients at a popular tech conference. You can deliver a brilliant elevator pitch to everyone you meet, but they’ll never know what you’re capable of producing unless you show them. You can send them to your website, but do you really want their first impression of your work to be on a tiny screen?
This is where booklets can help.
Booklets are visually impactful
With a small, square 6×6 booklet, you can showcase your portfolio, products, or services exactly how you want them to be seen – no scrolling or zooming required.
Hire a professional desktop publisher to create a layout that keeps pages turning, and then print your booklets online in a small run.
Booklets stand out among other materials
Sorting through a pile of business cards after a networking event is like sorting Halloween candy. If you’re not paying close attention to the label, you might accidentally give away your prized Snickers bars.
The same is true for business cards. People who want to stay connected with you might not recognize your business card among all the others. Each prospect that saved your card will have to read every single business card to figure out who it belongs to, and that’s only if they can read their scribbled notes.
On the other hand, a booklet won’t blend into a giant pile of business cards. If you hand out a booklet to serious potential prospects, you won’t be forgotten.
Printed booklets are a marketing opportunity
Booklets aren’t an exact replacement for business cards. Smartphones and digital contact lists replaced business cards. Although booklets are handed out like business cards, they’re a completely different game.
A physical, printed booklet gives you access to an extraordinary marketing opportunity. Even a simple portfolio booklet holds all the potential power of a direct marketing piece. You may not be selling physical goods, but you are selling something, whether it’s services or your expertise.
With the right marketing strategy, printed materials will sell your services better than an elevator pitch.
Booklets give you more control
You’ve probably been involved in an interesting conversation with a prospect when they suddenly need to leave to catch another speaker or panel. If you haven’t yet impressed them with your services, it won’t do any good to hand them your business card as they leave. A booklet, on the other hand, would be perfect in that situation.
Say you’re a parts manufacturer and right when you start explaining your breakthrough technology, your prospect has to leave. He or she will walk away having no clue what’s so special about your products. Handing them a beautifully created booklet will give them something to read when they get a free moment. When they read the booklet, they’ll know exactly who you are and why your product is different.
Booklets will improve your networking success
A perfect elevator pitch and a dynamic personality are important for networking, but will only take you so far. Networking events are busy and chaotic. You’re guaranteed to run into potential leads when you don’t have time for a long chat. A business card won’t help you continue the conversation later, but a booklet will.
If you’re not getting many connections by handing out standard business cards, consider switching to booklets. However, don’t give your booklets to everyone like you would with a business card. Wait until you’re on solid ground with the person you’re talking to before attempting to do business with them, including handing them your booklet.
Networking can be exhausting, but it should be fruitful. By creating a marketing masterpiece and getting it into people’s hands, you’ll have an easier time landing genuine connections from your networking efforts.