In my opinion, probably the most important and misused marketing collateral that small businesses have is their business card. Now I network an awful lot and tend to gather my fair share of business cards and I have to say, I’m often at a loss how people put such little thought and effort into constructing what very likely will become the lasting image that they leave me with. That being said, if you’re willing, with a little effort, you can use your expertly-crafted business card to easily stand out from the pack.
Let’s try a little exercise. Grab a handful of business cards that you’ve received from people you’ve met and spread them out on a table, face-up so that you can easily see all of them. Now take your eyes off the business cards for a minute and then look back at them. Select the top 5 business cards that for whatever reason just seem to catch your eye. Then analyze those business cards. What about them grabbed your attention and why? The idea here is to learn what works and what doesn’t work in terms of having an immediate WOW impact.
Now once you’ve grabbed their attention, at a bare minimum, I highly recommend that your business card contain the following staples: your name, business name, business address, phone number, email address, and website address.
Now in my book, these should be a no-brainer. However, I can’t tell you how many times I get a business card from someone without one or more of them.
Another possibility for the above list of staples could be your “title”. However, I’m not crazy about titles and often they are more limiting than anything else. So unless they serve a dual purpose of maybe say communicating what you do, such as “Business Coach” or “Certified Financial Planner”, I’d leave it out and use the real estate for something more valuable.
Now are you ready to step up your game? Well alright — here are 15 of the best business card strategies that can make your card really sizzle:
1. Use Both Sides of Your Business Card
I don’t know about you but the majority of the business cards I see very rarely take advantage of this precious real estate. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Just remember to leave a little white space if possible for the receiver of your business card in case they want to jot down a few notes about you.
2. Add Your Photo
Take it from a guy who networks a lot; don’t waste any opportunity to be remembered. A photo on a business card definitely makes your marketing work overtime for you and in my book should become a staple. Three of the most important benefits of doing this are one, that it’s personal, two, it establishes a comfort level with you, and three, it makes you easily recognizable.
3. State What You Do
Don’t make me guess. This is typically the kind of note someone will jot down on the back of you business card unless of course you make it easy for them and include it.
4. State Who You Do It For
Again make it easy for me to either hire or refer you.
5. State a Key Competitive Advantage -- Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Why buy from you? Give me a reason. What makes your product or service special? Include this little tidbit on your business card so your target market won’t soon forget.
6. Have a Call to Action
Clearly spell out for me what action you’d like me to take next (e.g. sign up for your newsletter, visit your blog, etc.)
7. Use an Odd Size or Shape for Your Business Card
Some possibilities may be a larger business card size, rounded edges, a specific and relevant shape like a flower if you’re a florist, etc.
8. Magnetize the Back of Your Business Card
People seem to have a hard time throwing away business cards if they are magnetized. As a matter of fact it’s pretty common that they’ll stick them on something like a file cabinet or a refrigerator.
9. Include Tips Related To Your Business
How about a list of 5 things to look for when hiring someone who does what you do? And obviously you can slant this towards your competitive advantages.
10. Include a Calendar on the Back-side of Your Business Card
This technique is one that can keep people referring back to your business card as often as possible.
11. Include Important Dates Hinting When Someone Should Think of You
If you’re an accountant serving small businesses, maybe you include important tax dates that they need to remember. If you’re a landscaper maybe you provide dates on when they should call you for specific services like mulching in the spring, pruning in the fall and so on.
12. Make It Serve Double-Time As A Frequent Rewards Card
Stamp it every time they buy something from you and after a certain number of purchases, give them something of value for free.
13. Make It Serve Double-Time As A Coupon to Use during Their Next Visit
Just leave a spot where you can handwrite an expiration date to cause some sort of urgency to purchase again soon.
14. Make It Serve Double-Time As an Appointment Scheduler
Just leave spots where you can handwrite the time and date of your next appointment.
15. Include Other Web Site URLs Where They Can Connect with You Further
For example your blog; your pages on Social Networking web sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, or Ryze; Squidoo pages; etc.
So in closing, don’t miss this golden opportunity to have your business card work overtime for you. Implement one, two, or all of these techniques if they make sense of course and watch your business connections bear bigger and better fruits.