Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Lead generation: How I created more leads by handing out fewer business cards at events and conferences

Christoph

February 7, 2017

Creativity, Sales

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I used to hand out business cards at events and conferences. I used to have like five different kinds, and you’d get the “right” one based on our conversation. Talk about making things unnecessarily complicated.

But handing out business cards doesn’t lead to that many business conversions, social media connections or even blog subscribers. So I stopped carrying business cards completely. I quit cold turkey. I had way too many versions at one point, anyway. LOL.

This hit me hard when these two unrelated conversations on different continents happened:

  • “Your healthcare content marketing services sound intriguing. If you give me your card, I’ll send you a note.”
  • “I enjoyed your talk. Would you consider speaking in Munich? Give me your card, and I’ll follow up.”

Neither followed up. And I get that maybe they just changed their minds. It’s possible, though, both came up to me to start the conversation. But had they given me their cards instead, I could have followed up. But instead, I didn’t even know who they were.

Related: How to make the most out of business trips

Or they did with business cards what many of us do: Throw them in their laptop bags and find them again when they pack for that same conference the following year. Whose card is this again? Ha.

So I stopped handing out cards. I completely stopped even taking them with me. But that doesn’t mean I stopped connecting.

I now take other people’s business cards and immediately move their contact info to my phone, either through a photo or by emailing it to somebody else to follow up later. It’s just easier and actually sets the connection up for potential success.

But then one person came up to me at a conference and said he didn’t have a business card on him, either. He was about to write down his email on a piece of paper (but couldn’t find one – or a pen), when he stopped and said: “Why don’t you just send me a quick email from your phone?”

Related: How to live tweet from a conference 

He actually wanted some specific information that was included in a blog post on this site. So I just grabbed the link and emailed it to him. Done.

He later came back over and said: “I was just reading your site and have a question …”

Awesome! That would have never happened if all follow-ups were saved for later. Later easily becomes never.

In-the-moment communication is easy enough today. There’s no reason to use old school tactics when new school tactics are more efficient.

Related: How online and offline connect

That’s not always the case. But it is in this case. Save a tree and get more leads. Something like that.


Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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