Many writers have a business card—even if they don’t have publication credits yet. A business card, like an author website, gives the impression of professionalism and seriousness. It’s an important and inexpensive tool for making great connections and fans.
But many writers think inside the box when it comes to designing and using their business cards. They’ll include their contact information and nothing more. The fact is, your business card is your most powerful tool for face-to-face networking and promotion. And when you couple your print business card with active social networks and a dynamic author website, you’ve hit the trifecta of promotion.
If you’re using a business card to encourage new readers and make new connections, consider these five common missed opportunities:
1. Including only contact information. Your name and where you live may say a lot about you, but it doesn’t say much about your writing. Consider using the backside of your business card to include your author bio. When people take your business card home from a conference (along with many other cards), they’ll remember you.
2. Not incentivizing website visits. By giving a person a reason to visit your website, you give yourself another shot at making a fan or nabbing a new subscriber for your email list. But you’ve got to give people a reason to move from your paper business card to your digital website.
What can you offer to readers who visit your site? A free e-book? A free short story? The opportunity to sign up for a free bookmark? TIP: Create a “secret” page on your site that is only accessible to your mailing list via an emailed link. Your email management program should allow you to either create a landing “success” page for new subscribers or allow you to send them an automatically generated email with your secret link.
3. Not taking advantage of cover art. How many business cards have you seen that are plain black font on an eggshell background? For writers, that’s a beginning but not a “best practice.” If you have a book or collection published, use the cover art as an eye-catching graphic on one side of your bookmark. Consider including a one-line caption that describes your book. On the other side, include your incentives, URL, and contact info.
4. Not seeing opportunities to hand out business cards. If you had a dime for every time someone asked you, “What do you write?” you’d probably have a lotta dimes. Instead of giving a vague and dissatisfying answer (“I write words”), simply say “Hold on one moment.” Then, fish your business card out of your wallet or handbag. You’ll find that people will be thrilled to really get a sense of what you write and where to find out more about you.
5. Not including social networks info. In the old days, people stayed in contact via phone, email, and home address. These days, social networking is a fabulous, low-pressure way to stay connected. Remember to include your social network addresses on your business card, and you’ll find you have more and more cyber friends!
More Tips For Writer Business Cards
Give away business cards with your book cover art on the goodie table at writing conferences: attach a mint or a piece of chocolate (otherwise, your promo item might not be able to compete).
Punch a hole in the top of your business cards, thread a long ribbon through, and offer them as mini bookmarks. Bonus if your cover art is awesome.
Tuck your business cards in thank-you letters.
Leave your business card when you pay your bill at a restaurant.
At networking events, hand over your business card right away.
At readings and signings, pass them around. Point out your “freebie” to get people to visit your site.