Now it’s time to focus our attention on the humble business card – one of the cheapest, most effective marketing essentials every business needs.
Have you ever stood in the checkout line of a store and noticed the rack of business cards waiting for your attention? Did any of them catch your eye?
Probably not. Stuck in a rack that holds sometimes up to 20 competitor cards, those little cardboard pieces didn’t engage you at all. You probably didn’t even notice the business name printed on even one of them. You very likely left them all there, paid for your items and walked out the store.
Your business card has a very important job. A business card is a low-cost multisensory marketing tools that convey your brand, your message and the personality of your company in one powerful shot.
Think about it – you can touch a business card and feel the quality the company stands for. You visually take in the colors and design to feel the emotional impact of the brand and message. And you read the information on the card.
Your business card is often the first impression and contact people have with your business. It tells people about your business, gives them a way to contact you, creates a memorable effect and allows people to pass on your card to others – that’s free marketing for you.
Read on to learn how to get the most from your business cards.
The Dos and Don’ts of Business Cards
“There’s a problem with your card, sir.” You may have heard that when a clerk tells the person in front of you at the checkout line that card payment didn’t go through as expected.
The same line can be said for many a business card out there. Here are some important business card mistakes to avoid – and some tips on what to do:
Be true to your brand
Having a unique card is a great idea, because you do want to influence people with it and be memorable. But if your business car is too unique, too funky, or too interesting, people don’t remember your business – they just remember the cool card they have.
Don’t Cheap Out on Quality
Money is an issue for most small business owners, and scrimping where you can to invest in other areas is important. Your business card is not the place to do that, though. Low-quality paper stock, amateur design or home-office printing reflects poorly on your business.
That costs you sales instead of saving you money.
Avoid homemade cards at all costs, even if you only want 50 or 100 cards. The expense of professional design and printing has come down considerably and it’s within reach of all small business budgets. There’s no excuse to neglect better quality that enhances your image.
Don’t Get Too Complex
There are some beautiful design concepts out there. Graphic art is truly a technological wonder these days. It’s tempting to let loose and create the most stunning card ever.
Rein in that enthusiasm. Business cards that are clear, uncluttered and simple are often far more effective than wall-to-wall colored images with meticulous attention to the tiniest detail. Use your logo and minimize the use of colors. Avoid too much splash or an overly difficult font to read.
Be Bold without Screaming
Color impact does play a big part in the effectiveness of your business card. Pay attention to the emotional impact that color can have on a person’s state of mind. The proper use of color can enhance the positive image of your business.
Garish, loud colors scream for attention. They leap up, leap off the card and shake people by the shoulders. That’s not the effect you want your business card to have. Do a little research. Select colors that convey the image you want for impact, not implosion.
Think About Your Sizes
Two sizing issues come with business cards: the size of what’s on the card and the size of the card itself.
If no one can read your small font, you’ve lost opportunities to reach consumers. If the logo is so big that it overwhelms the contact information, toss more customer leads out the window. Keep logos visible but balance the size with the space of your card, and make sure fonts are easily readable at a glance.
Also, if no one can tuck your card away easily for safekeeping to retrieve it later, they’re not going to keep it. Your card gets thrown in a drawer or worse, thrown away. Avoid odd or oversized cards and pay attention to shape.
How to Use Your Business Cards
Here are some tips on how to use your business cards effectively to tap into all the marketing potential:
Always have business cards handy. Your business card should be traveling with you each time you leave home, no matter how casual the occasion.
Give a small supply of cards to network contacts. Let people market for you and make sure they have your business card handy to pass around.
Exchange cards with people. At events, meetings and gatherings, ask people for their business card. It puts them in a positive, receptive mood, and they’re happy to take yours in exchange.
Leave some cards in smart locations. Find related businesses that aren’t your direct competition and ask if you can leave cards for them to offer their client. This also opens for networking opportunities.
Attach your card to your product. Staple your business card to bags, tie it to gift baskets, attach it to documentation… Each time a customer receives something from you, he or she should also receive your card.
Write on it. Never underestimate the power of writing a secondary email, your cell phone number or a relevant note on your business card. People feel special to have custom info and take greater care not to lose it.
Business cards have too much power to be slapped together without a care. They can help seal a deal, land a sale or promote your business properly. With a little thought and foresight, you can create – and use – a beautiful business card that provides strong positive influence.
Want to learn how to maximize your marketing opportunities? Stay tuned. In our last post of the series, we’ll tell you how to tie your marketing essentials together into one great system that works.