How a Glass Bowl Can Double Your Business

You know those glass bowls you see at restaurants asking customers to “Drop a card for the monthly drawing?” When used properly, they can actually double your business in a matter of weeks. Now hear me out. Try this idea for three months (the way it’s outlined here), and you’ll become a believer.

Here are some examples of what we usually see. Do you notice anything missing?

biz card drop contest
credit: solaranemedia
biz card drop contest
credit: rajeshsetty              

In the first example above, I’m wondering, “When will I ‘stand’ to win the free meal for 2?” Is this just a way for them to collect my information? How do I know that the drawing will ever happen?

In the second example above, I’m left to ponder what the actual prize is. It seems like a lot of people have entered for this mysterious “prize,” but what is it? Is it lunch, dinner, a new car? I’d be more inclined to drop my card if I knew what I had the chance to win.

Now let’s look at a couple of business card drop boxes that are along the lines of what we’re looking to emulate in our experiment….

credit: luckybsbar

In this example, Lucky B’s tells entrants precisely what they are entering to win (a free private party for up to 100 people and Lucky B’s apparel), plus they tell you how often they choose a winner (every week). I also like the use of an opaque box here so you don’t know how many other people you’re up against.

biz card drop contest
credit: eatwithharveys

At Harvey’s, they tell you exactly what you will win (a $25 gift card), exactly when they will choose a winner (August 11), and exactly how they will reach you (the phone number on your business card).

Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

When it comes to business card drop contests, there are some basic rules that will lead to you growing your business.

1. Provide more information. The more information you provide to contest entrants, the more entries you will receive. Most people want to know what they are getting, and when they can expect it.

2. Have more winners. No one wants to wait a month, so the faster the giveaway, the better. Don’t be afraid to run weekly, or even daily, contests, depending on your store’s traffic. Give away a free lunch every Friday by announcing it on the jar: “Free lunch drawing every Friday at 10 a.m.!” Contestants will know by 10:15 a.m. if they won or not.

3. Announce the winner. Posting last week’s winner on the bowl and social media is a great way to show customers that your contest is real, and get them excited about entering.

4. Give consolation prizes to all entrants. Once you collect all of the cards, don’t just pick one big prize, send menus and a “special discount for entering” to every person who entered. You’ll be surprised at how many people are excited to use their consolation prize. This tactic is one of the easiest ways to build your customer database and reach out to individual customers and businesses (which can become longtime catering customers).

Will you try a business card giveaway in February? I want to see photos and hear results! Contact me at or comment below.


One Response so far.

  1. It is a good method.I've seen many use it but it does get a little stale and worse thing is when companies use your info to send you emails and calls or sms you unnecessarily. Many people are reluctant to hand over their cards due to that. I guess companies or their marketing team needs to know how to keep customers and not annoy them for loyalty