Almost everyone you meet these days has a smart phone. And while the smart phone is one of the greatest new marketing tools, this phenomenon is contributing to one of the greatest marketing failures people commit every single day.

Let me explain:

Any new person you meet at a business mixer or social event can, technically, just tell you their phone number or email and you can simply enter it into your phone on the spot, right? Or save it in a voice memo.

So who really needs business cards these days?

Additionally, you can just have them enter your contact info into their phones when you meet them, right?

If only that were so easy….

For one, people you meet may not have time to give you their contact information and certainly no time to wait while you stumble around in your phone to open the right app. This happened to me recently and the guy was expecting me to wait patiently while he customized my contact record in his phone with any relevant data!

Also, what’s more annoying than when the person you’re trying to have a conversation with is fiddling with her phone? She may be trying to take down your phone number, but she’s still clearly not paying attention… Remember that when you’re on your phone: you’re communicating not just to the person you’re with, but to everyone around you, that you’re not paying attention.

But enough of my rant, let’s get to the point!

Because smart phones offer a simpler way to share your contact information, it’s very easy and tempting to make the #1 marketing mistake every time you walk out the door…. And that marketing mistake is simply leaving home every day without your business cards!

Business cards? What is this? 1999?

Look: I often make this mistake, so I’m simply here to offer support to a fellow offender. Don’t leave home without your business card!

What should you as an author have on your business card?

At a bare minimum your name, your book’s title, and where people can find it, such as your website or “your favorite bookseller.”

If you’re not comfortable giving out your number to everybody you meet, just have a pen ready and write it on your card on a case-by-case basis.

But ideally you want to have two more pieces of information on your cards:

One, the best way to reach you. Whether it’s your number or email, make sure it’s printed in a large font. If you have a website, always be sure to include that too!

Two, clear instructions as to what you want the person to do next.

Do you have a business where you offer a free consultation? Make sure you include a call to action such as “Call now for a free 15-minute strategy session!”

Do you want to grow the number of your readers by offering them a free gift in exchange for their email, so you could be in touch with them via an email newsletter? Be sure to say “Visit [the name of your website].com now to get my latest writing (or book) for free!”

Have 500 or 1,000 of these printed and make it a goal to give them all away in a year.

Do you have business cards as an author? How about a website?

If you need help with any of this or aren’t sure what to put on your business card, feel free to reach out.