Apparently, no one is using business cards anymore. Someone forgot to send that memo to everyone at the networking events I go to. And business cards aren’t the only old-school marketing tactic that can still move the needle.

Maybe it’s not time to throw out everything old, even in a new world. (Canva)

Now that everyone has a Facebook Page, an Instagram profile, a LinkedIn presence and an email address, it’s a race to see who can use them all the most effectively to grow their businesses. But with everyone on all the same platforms and using all the same apps, there’s an undervalued part of marketing that can really help you to cut through. Maybe it’s time to consider going old-school. Don’t get me wrong, I am a digital cheerleader all the way, but sometimes you forget just how much a simple, and proven tactic can make the difference between you and everyone else who is running Facebook Ads. 

Grab your business cards and hand them out 

Business cards still beat phone dots and tapping (Canva)

Despite a new focus on hand hygiene in a pandemic-affected world, when you’re in the right situation for them, business cards are still expected. If you’re at a networking function, honestly, no one is impressed by your “tap to save” contact dot or your own branded near-field tap card. And if you’ve got these things, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re in a tiny minority, despite what the ads for those gadgets on Facebook seem to indicate.

You may think that you’re coming across as disruptive, progressive and environmentally responsible, but the reality is that you’re just going to end up another unknown contact in their phone, rather than a physical presence in their pocket with the others when they take time at the end of the day to review their new contacts. There is a routine when it comes to networking and conferences.  You don’t go back to your hotel room afterwards to try and remember who the people were whose contacts you put in your phone. You go back to your room and shuffle through your business cards and pick out the people you want to follow up with. 

So go old school. Take along some business cards. Collect some business cards. Follow up the contacts and do some business. 

Write a book and give it out 

A book is like one big resume of your expertise (Canva)

If you’re one of those people who likes to be a bit extra, then a book can be the best business card there is. And I am talking about an actual, physical, printed on paper book. If you’ve been toying around with the idea of writing a book on your area of expertise, the chances are that very few people are ever going to buy it. It probably won’t be a “bestseller” – whatever that actually means these days – and you won’t likely be retiring on the royalties like Stephen King or Stephen Covey. 

A book in the business world these days is like a compendium holding a big long, set of reasons why someone should hire you to what you’re good at. While everyone else is scheduling meetings with potential clients, you’re on the coffee table after being read for 12 hours over the last month. I know which mind share I’d rather have. Don’t think of a book as a money-maker, think of it as a marketing tool. 

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Dante St James is a digital marketer in Darwin, Australia. He is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Lead Trainer and podcaster on digital marketing in Australia.