Marketing & Promotions

Take the Business Card Challenge

Ivan Zoot encourages salons to go old-school in their marketing, and discusses his “500 Business Card Challenge.”

<p>Ivan Zoot</p>

When it comes to self-promotion, barber and beauty industry educator Ivan Zoot is old-fashioned. “I believe that all this Instagramming, Tweeting, and Facebooking is not as powerful as classic, old-school marketing,” he says. “The personal referral needs to be just that: personal. Shake a hand. Pass a business card.”

Zoot often encourages attendees of his classes to participate in the 500 Business Card Challenge. The goal is to distribute 500 business cards in one month — that’s 17 cards per day.

“Buy a box of cards and make them a bit different from your everyday card so you can tell them apart,” he suggests. “Then give them out directly to individuals whenever possible. Shake the person’s hand and ask her to come in for a service.” Since it can be difficult to hit the 500 mark, Zoot also permits participants to, say, put a card in the mirror at a restaurant’s bathroom.

Not afraid to practice what he preaches, Zoot did the challenge in an attempt to drive traffic to his website, He ended up passing out not 500, but 836 cards in one month and saw a 20% increase in site traffic as a result.

“The bottom line is old-school still works,” Zoot says. “If you use some of the modern web tools and social media technologies and blend them with some high-touch in our very high-touch business, I am sure you will report real, measurable progress.”

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