The traditional form of drumming up business was the face-to-face pitch followed by the exchange of business cards. When the Internet came along, the focus changed as sellers tried to exploit the new niche. For a while, online marketing looked as though it might make the use of the traditional business card obsolete. However, business cards remain viable tools for business.
Social Media is All the Rage.
Social media is the next big thing, but it is not the only tool that a business should use. Social media offers rapid exchange of information, but it does not allow participants to know each other. Social media also evolves, which means that marketers and marketing plans must also evolve quickly.
There are a lot of social media platforms, and they do not offer the same services. What is the difference between Facebook and Pinterest? Those kinds of questions become vital when targeting a specific segment of your audience.
While social media is all the rage, it may not be the best platform from which to find new clients.
The Power of a Handshake.
Social media is marketing. For business owners and marketers, it is a wonderful venue to display the offerings of your company. It is still marketing. What people see online is a perfect picture, the perfect keyword phrase, the ideal media presentation. It is the best you have to offer. Even the best pales in comparison to looking someone in the eye or listening to the customer’s problem. Those real-world attributes bridge a gap to which social media does not have access.
The in-person meeting allows human intuition to become a tool. There is recognition in meeting someone, discussing business, listening to problems, and offering solutions. Recognition is the first step towards building familiarity. Who do you take your car to when it breaks down? Do you try the unknown mechanic or the guy recommended by your brother? In many parts of our lives, we opt for the choice that is just a bit more familiar to us. For decades, business cards offered that bit of familiarity. That is the effectiveness of business cards. They keep the familiarity fresh.
There is an entire market segment out there — local, national, and global — that is not connected to social media. When you focus on just one tool, you alienate segments of your potential market. There is another segment of your market that is working with social media, but is not seeing results. Both of those segments are more apt to deal with someone face-to-face and not via social media. Part of the reason is that social media is not all that personal. It is just as easy to dismiss online content than it is to interact with it.
A business card is physical and tangible. It links you to a brick-and-mortar location and adds a sense of legitimacy to what you offer. Social media is less physical and offers marketing advantages that are not possible with a business card. Both work toward the goal of gaining new clients, but they do so in different ways. They can work together, or they can work independently.
Building a Better Tool Box.
The art of business marketing has evolved into a quagmire of options. It is fair to say that there are so many options that many businesses seem lost about how to proceed or even picking the options that best serve their goal. Each social media platform does something different. So even lumping social media together becomes awkward. The key is to focus on the goal. The very thing that you wish to accomplish should become your roadmap and the deciding factor on what tools to use to meet the goal.
While face-to-face networking is still relevant, online marketing works well, too. A combination of tools might serve your business best. Develop a set of tools that work well for your business. Using the best tool for the job has always been a philosophy that produced outstanding results. Do you have the right tools for the task?