You’ve just had some swanky new business cards printed, and you’re wondering how best to distribute them. Rather than scattering your business cards around just anywhere (wasting your precious time and money, and potentially littering to boot) you should approach this with a logical angle.
There are many different places you can leave business cards, and some locations work better than others for different businesses. In this article we’re going to discuss your business card distribution goals, and give you a comprehensive list of the various places you can leave them, for the biggest chance of success.
What Are Your Business Card Goals?
Good quality business cards are an expense. To get the best value from wherever you leave them, it’s good practice to do some out of the box thinking and consider who your customers are.
A popular technique with marketers is to create a ‘customer blueprint’—that means creating a profile of a fictional customer who’d want to buy your product or service. That might include who it is (person or company), where they frequent and what problem your product solves for them.
For instance, say that your business provides home plumbing services. Where would you leave a business card?
A person in the market for your services would visit plumbing supply and DIY stores. Many of these shops, DIY stores especially, provide a section where local tradespeople may leave their business cards—what better place to leave your business card than a shop where your potential customer may search for a part to fix their leaky boiler or a new sink to upgrade their bathroom.
The above suggestion applies to other businesses, such as electrical installers or decorators. Even if it doesn’t fit your specific business, try the same customer mindset technique and plenty of creative ideas will pop into your head.
One last word of advice: wherever you choose to leave or distribute your business cards, make sure that you have permission. Unwanted cards will get thrown away, and they might also invite an angry phone call or bad words on social media.
Creative Ideas for Where to Leave Your Business Card
Without further ado, let’s get into our all-inclusive guide to where you can distribute your business cards.
Business to Business
If you provide a Business to Business Service (B2B), there are plenty of opportunities for places to distribute or leave your business card.
Sometimes customers at trade shows don’t wish to talk at the booth, and they’ll just do a hit-and-run, picking up promotional material on their way through. Stapling a business card to the material is a good way to catch these potential customers.
Promotional Gift Raffle:
This isn’t so much about passing on your business card, but getting one from your potential customer. As an exhibitor, offer the chance to win a high-value gift to customers willing to leave their business card in a bowl or bucket.
Most big brand hotels provide some level of business service for their guests. Ask the hotel if you could leave some business cards and promotional materials, or leave a few around if you’re staying as a guest.
Flexible Office Space Providers:
Office space in major cities is very expensive. Many start-ups and small businesses, who can’t afford the high rental, use flexible offices for hot desking. These are great places to leave business cards and promotional materials, especially if offering B2B services.
Join business networking associations. Attend meetings and exchange business cards and materials by hand or leave them around for people to peruse.
Through networking, you are likely to find other businesses offering complimentary services. Give them your business cards and offer sign-up bonuses for new customer introductions and do the same for them—quid pro quo.
Chamber of Commerce:
Most UK cities have a Chamber of Commerce dedicated to promoting business within the local community. They are a great place to leave your business cards and promotional materials.
If your business provides services to home or commercial building owners, consider giving your cards and information to an estate agent. They often keep lists of local tradespeople to give to house buyers, renters or commercial customers.
Don’t forget about using your existing Clients. Often existing clients are the best advertisement for your business. Leave a few cards with them and perhaps offer incentives for introducing new prospects.
In the Community
If you want to pick up customers out and about in your local community, here are some ideas for places you can leave your business cards for the highest chance of reeling them in.
Many shops and organisations have community bulletin boards aimed at the general public. They are great places to leave business cards.
If your business provides a community service, a church would be a great place to promote it.
As with churches, community centres provide services for the general public.
This is an especially good place for advertising legal advice.
These are great if your business is health-related—yoga, meditation, sports massage or some such service. Most facilities would be happy for you to leave your cards and promotional materials.
Check out their community section bulletin board. There are some clandestine tricks that you could try in libraries—leave your cards in books relevant to your business, or better still, create a bookmark shaped business card. For instance, for your business services company, leave your branded bookmarks in business books.
If your business is travel-related, there is no better place to leave your card and information. When visiting a place for the first time, most visitors seek the local tourist information centre.
People spend a lot of time in coffee shops drinking coffee, reading and using free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of this by placing your card strategically around the shop. Again, get the shop’s permission to do this.
Shopping malls often have their own community area with information on local services. Leave your cards and information around these areas.
Also, if you have the marketing budget, pay for someone to distribute your cards and information around your local area, perhaps attached to promotional flyers. Offering a discount service is a good way to encourage someone to take your card. Consult with your local authority first, to ensure it’s legal where you are to distribute material in this way.
Waiting Rooms, Receptions and Other Locations
Waiting rooms, reception areas and checkouts are other fruitful places for business cards. For instance, business cards for a beauty-related business might go well in a dentist’s waiting room.
Dentist Waiting Rooms:
As mentioned above, your dentist’s waiting room is a good place to distribute information. Most patients wait for at least ten minutes, browsing the magazines.
Doctors Waiting Rooms:
It may be harder to get permission for this area, but great if your business provides health or wellbeing-related services.
Hotels will be happy to help if your service benefits their customers (taxi service, restaurant, etc.)
Ask permission to leave your cards at the checkout.
Ask taxi drivers to distribute your cards—provide a cardholder to put in the back of the taxi. This might not work with gig economy drivers, such as Uber, whose terms and conditions prohibit promoting other businesses to customers.
Coach and Bus Stations:
This is another area especially good for promoting travel-related business.
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