I’m lucky enough to be involved with Riff Taff Music Networking who put on free networking nights for musicians and music related people to connect. We’ve had record label owners, PR people, videographers, graphic designers, radio presenters and a whole host of other people come along over the last year and a bit and they’ve been very successful. As we plan our next meet up I was looking through some business cards I’d been given at various Riff Taff events and it occurred to me just how important they still are. If you think about it logically they should be redundant, deemed irrelevant by the digital world. But they’re not, for 3 very important reasons:
1. Personal connection
Facebook etc is great, it serves a purpose and can help you reach hundreds and even thousands of people through good marketing. But it doesn’t replace the personal connection you make with someone when you meet face to face. Next time you meet someone at a gig don’t just text them the bands Facebook page, have a chat and give them a business card. They’ll remember meeting you every time they see that card, that memory is your own unique personal connection. Next time they see online that you’ve released a new video/EP/tour dates etc they’ll remember meeting you and are much more likely to engage. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a person to someone!
2. Brand, brand, brand
Your business card is a great opportunity to show off your bands personality. Good branding is all about creating a personality. Your logo, colour palette, choice of tagline etc all give you an opportunity to let someone know exactly who you are and what you’re about in a few short seconds. I talk a lot about brand, and really the key theme is consistency. If you’re business card matches your website, social media accounts, stage branding and so on it re-enforces who you are and helps your audience familiarise themselves with you.
You have a couple of minutes maximum to make a good impression on someone after a gig or at a networking night, It’s easy to lose people’s attention or for them to get distracted, so you need to get to the point and look professional. If you struggle to describe your band in 5 words of less a business card will force you to do just that. Whilst you may think that waffly descriptions of your post punk funky jazz clarinet trio show your diversity, in reality they are confusing. Giving someone a business card with a few short keywords and a link to find out more opens the door, later on when they have more time they’ll walk in.
I know it’s a bit Buzzfeed-y but everyone likes a bonus right? if you really want to stand out try handing out badges and/or plectrum with your business card. They’re cheap to make and enforce everything above even more than just the card on it’s own!
by Mike Five
Mike has been involved in the grassroots music scene for over 16 years as a musician, promoter, video editor, creative director, podcaster, occasional reviewer, blogger,networking specialist, and festival organiser.