What is something that is so small, worth pretty much nothing, but so powerful that it can make or break your business?
Well, it's your business card. If you are a professional, whether a business owner or working for a company, it's very likely that you have a business card. To me it's unthinkable for someone doing business not having a business card.
But did you really ever give it thought about what your business card does for you? To you it may just be something you hand out routinely at business meetings, trade fairs or conventions and nothing much. Maybe you may have that expectation that someone you gave those business cards to will eventually call you. Or maybe those business cards just got thrown into a big pile of other business cards that don't really matter to the recipient.
For your business cards to make a big impact in your marketing plans, you must make it work for you. Other than your personality and maybe the way you dress, the business card makes the most impact on the impression that you give to someone you meet for the first time. And it's these first impressions that last a lifetime. Hence it is possible that the lowly business card can make or break your business.
How do you make your business card work for you?
Well, you must treat giving out those business cards as like an advertising campaign. And what is the main key to a successful marketing campaign? It is one that is memorable. It is something that will imprint in the mind of the person seeing that advertising the message or the brand that is being advertised. When you're very thirsty on a hot day, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? If you're like me, it's an ice-cold Coke. This shows their advertising campaign succeeded with me and most likely on countless millions more.
So how do you turn that business card into an advertising campaign?
First, you have to design it right. Most business cards are so boring - plain white paper with the name, address, phone number printed in black. What makes something like this memorable?
Using color and graphics in your business card will make it light up. Get a nicely designed logo that will show the real identity and nature of your business. Of course overdoing it can produce the opposite effect, but the right combination of color and graphics will make it stand out and be noticed.
Make it into a mini billboard, listing your line of business or services. Just make these short and brief - remember a business card has very limited space and you don't want it to get crowded with so much information. As I tell my clients, a business card is not a flyer or brochure.
Put super savings specials, give a discount or offer a free special promotion within your business card. People love getting a discount or something free, and if your business or service is something that they need, they will think of you first. Sometimes when they see something free or discounted, they will create that need.
You can also try creating a unique shape or an unusual design so it may end up becoming a conversation piece among the curious. Just take care it's not too big or too small, make sure it's something that will fit into where people usually keep business cards.
You can turn the business card into a magnet. That way your business card can be carried either in a wallet or it can be stuck on the side of a refrigerator visible to every person going into that refrigerator for a long time.
If you have nothing to put in the back side of the card, you can use that as an appointment card also. This works for medical, chiropractic and dental offices as well as for real estate business cards, too.
Business card printing
Of course, last but not least, the business cards MUST be professionally printed. All that effort and maybe expense of getting the perfect business card design will be for nothing if you decide to print it yourself on your inkjet printer using the pre-perforated business card paper you can buy from the big office supply stores. I have nothing against this, for personal uses these are perfect. But if you are on an advertising campaign blaze, this in one sure way of making that campaign fizzle out.
There you have it. A business card need not just be thrown away into an endless pit with other business cards, forever lost. Spend a little time and effort in the design, and it will serve your cause 24/7/365 without your even knowing it.