Getting the Most From Your Business Card
Making This Basic Tool Work Harder For You
by Laura B. Poindexter
If you are in business or even contemplating a business idea, you know the value of a business card. It is simply a must have. What other piece of marketing collateral do potential customers actually ask you for?
But there are some simple strategies for improving the effectiveness of your card to make sure the recipient contacts your instead of pitching your card.
First and foremost, we have to be sure that the cards represent our business well. They should look professional and include at a minimum all the information below:
- Business Name
- What does your business do? – This may be clear from your business name, however, a short tagline to further emphasize your value can be very powerful.
- Your Name
- Your Position in the Company – This does not have to be a very formal term, but it must give the card recipient an idea of your position in the company and the title should fit the company culture. For example, a lawyer should probably refrain from a cutesy title, however the impression that a creative professional projects with a cute title can go a long way. It’s often a conversation starter.
- Phone Number
- Web Site – If your web site is not www.yourcompany.com, then you need to spend the $10 or so to register your domain and set up a hosting plan. Everything on the card should speak to your professionalism and a long subdomain from your Internet Service Provider does not scream professional.
- Email- Please, please, please go through the 10 minutes at most that it will take you to set up an email address @yourdomain.com. Again, this speaks to professionalism. It is very easy to set up an email account once you have hosted your domain. You can even have this email account forwarded to your personal account if you must. If you are having a hard time figuring it out, contact your ISP help desk or ask a teenager in your life.
You may be wondering why I did not include a physical address as a necessary item on your card. It all depends on your business. If you have a physical location, then you absolutely need to have your physical address on your card. However, if you have an online business out of your home why do you need to list your home address? Or if you are an at-home service provider like a handy man or personal trainer, list the areas where you provide your services in lieu of a physical address.
Call To Action
A very important way to make your card more than just a piece of paper with your phone number on it is to include a call to action. Every marketing strategy you implement must have a call to action. I can not stress this enough. Your business card must give the recipient a reason to call you or email you and not toss your card at their first opportunity. What can you provide to your target audience that will make them keep the card and call you or contact you again? Begin the relationship by offering them something of value. How about a discount, a free report, or a free consultation?
I know that Avery makes some great products including the perforated business cards that allow you to print cards directly from your computer. I, myself, have used these in the past when I had not yet finalized my business card information and wanted to test out some options. However, I found that some of these products don’t have smooth perforations. Please be sure to take your time when splitting them apart and make sure that they look somewhat professional. The other times to use these items are when you are in a pinch: you’ve run out of business cards and the printer hasn’t delivered your new ones or you just started your business and are on your way to a networking event. The ink jet cards are a far superior option to having no cards at all.
However, with that said, professional printing prices have really come down in the last few years. You can get 250 full color business cards for $19.99 You can even get free cards at VistaPrint.com. Please note that the free cards come with the Vista Print logo on the back. These are great for personal contact information cards or when you are just starting out, but I advise all of my clients to bite the $20 bullet and get the cards without the VisaPrint logo. And if you follow the link below, you can save 50% because you are my subscriber.
Distribute, Distribute, Distribute
Now that you have your cards, they do no good sitting in your pocket or on your desk. It is crucial that you always have some cards with you and not just so you can drop it in the get a free lunch fish bowl at your local eatery. You never know who you are going to meet in your daily rounds. Make sure you give your card to everyone you meet. Please find a way to fit it smoothly into the conversation, but be sure to get those cards out there.
If you set a goal of handing out 5 cards a day. That would be 25 new contacts a week; 100 new contacts a month and 1200 new contacts a year. Can you imagine how your business will grow, if you are handing out 1200 business cards a year? If you find it hard to talk to people about your business, you need to find a way to get over that fear. Force yourself to hand out 5 cards a day and don’t return home until you’ve gotten rid of them. An important note, when you give someone your card, get their card or personal contact information. If they do not have a card, write their information on the back of one of your cards (and be sure not to give it away later by accident).
So pick up your business card, evaluate your information, add a call to action and send them off to the printers today so you can begin handing them out all over town.