There is one marketing tool that every business owner should have.
The Business Card!
It is one of the most essential and relatively inexpensive marketing tools you can use. You can use it to make an instant impact when you meet someone and exchange business cards and if your cards are great quality and are well designed with a nice layout, people will often notice and pass comment.
At PrintRepublic, we are the Business Cards Specialists! We have worked with Business Owners all over the the UK to produce fantastic Business Cards and this leads on to a wide variety of other printed literature such as leaflets, flyers, direct mail, brochures and websites.
But not every person in business wants loads of printed items. but everybody should have a great Business Card!
So here are 50 tips to get a great business card….
• It is important that a business card communicates more than just your contact information. Think how you can tell people clearly and quickly what you and your business does for people.
•Even if you can produce your business cards at home using an inkjet printer, get quality business cards professionally printed by a printing company.
Your business card will be the first impression your prospects receive of your business, so let them convey the best possible one.
• Look into ordering your Business Cards in large numbers. By ordering 1000 your cost per card will be significantly lower than if you ordered 250 or 500.
• Keep all the information in your business card up to date! If you changed address or phone number, don’t scratch the old number and write down the new one by hand; get new business cards. There is nothing worse than being given a business card where someone has scribbled out an old telephone number or email address! Very unprofressional!
• Do not use standard clip art or poor quality pictures as your business logo. A logo must stand out and look great as it represents you and your business before people even see your name. It must add credibility and brand awareness, so before you invest in business cards have a logo professionally made for your business.
• Make sure your website address is clear on your business cards. If you don’t have a website, people will notice the absence of a web address in your business card and, depending on the business you are in, it may make you lose credibility.
• Keep your professional business cards clear and simple. Using too many fonts or trying to squeeze too much information in it just makes it look too busy. Try to use a pleasant layout and make sure that your main message (your tag line or your unique selling proposition) doesn’t get lost.
• Use standard sizes for your business cards. 55x85mm is standard and this will fit into peoples purse or wallets as well as business card holders.Some people use odd sizes and particularly if they are too large, people tend to throw them away as they cannot store them as easily.
• Make sure that your business card reflects your image. If you have a cool and funky profession such as a designer or you are into online marketing, it is OK to use trendy colors and fonts. If you are in the professional services such as lawyer or accountant, you will probably need to reflect this in the design and layout and colors such as blue or gray work better.
• Your business card is an integral part of your brand or corporate identity strategy. It should follow the same graphics standards as the rest of your communications material (stationery, brochures, letterheads, etc.).
Continuity across every touchpoint of your brand is very important – this builds strong brand recognition.
• Find a way to make your business cards stand out. I’ve seen business cards with one of its corners cut in an angle, or with an interesting texture, all of which makes your business card stand out of the crowd.
• Make your business card easy to read: use high contrast between the background and the type. Light background with dark type works better. Also, don’t use too small a font size as this really makes it hard to read – this is a real no no!
• After your logo, your name should be the largest piece of information on your card.
• Make sure that all the information on your card is printed in a large enough typeface to be easily readable.
• Run your business card copy through a spell checker and double-check your contact information… then check it again! We have reprinted cards for clients many times for silly reasons like numbers being transposed – of course this makes even the best business cards completely worthless instantly and hence wasting your money!
• Keep your business cards with you at all times. Keep a stack in your car, in your house, in your office, and in your wallet… and make sure you use them!
• Leave your business cards in billboards at supermarkets, schools, coffee shops, libraries, etc.
• When giving away your card, ask if it’s ok to give two or three at a time, so that your contacts can in turn hand them out to other people. This will not only help you distribute them faster, but will generate a beneficial “endorsing effect”. This is a great offline viral marketing tactic!
• Include a business card with all your direct mail letters. People may throw away the letter, but will often keep the business card.
• Make your business card go the extra mile: use the back of the card to print more information: special offers, checklists, schedules, etc.
• Throw in a quality business card in every product you send out. This could be a special business card just for this purpose, with a little “Thank you” message on it.
• Send a business card with any gift you send, instead of just a card with your name.
• Scan your card and use it as an attachment to emails.
• Use your business cards as name tags. Get a transparent plastic cover with a pin, and attach it to your lapel. Wearing it on your right side tends to make it more noticeable.
• Use your business card as a name tag on your briefcase. Make sure that your company logo and tag line are visible. This way, your business card will turn into a “conversation piece” whilst travelling, which may help you meet interesting people and good business contacts.
• Use your business card as an ad: many publications offer “business card size” classified ads. If you design your business card properly, it can double up as an ad in those publications.
• Don’t give your business card too quickly. It may be perceived as pushy. Try to establish a conversation with your prospect first. For example, ask them what do they do. That will usually prompt them to give you their card. That is the perfect moment to give them yours. This is where a consistent message is vital and your “elevator pitch” needs to be what you use in verbal communication and your business card backs this up.
• Don’t try to give your card in situations where many people are giving them to your prospect. Wait for a moment when you can capture your prospect’s attention span.
• Another tactic you can try when your prospect is overwhelmed and can’t pay you enough attention is to send your card by mail. Pretend you ran out of business cards and ask for theirs. Then, mail them your card and take the opportunity to drop a follow up note. This is a great opportunity to give them further information or maybe an introductory offer.
• If you have a mobile phone number or a direct phone number that is not listed in your business card, write it at the back of your business card before handing it out, and tell your prospect that you are giving them your direct number. This will make your business card more important, and less likely to be lost or thrown out. Make this a deliberate tactic so it looks like you are personalising and giving special treatment to your prospect.
• Another way of increasing the chances that your prospect will keep your card is by printing valuable information on the back, for example important phone numbers (local police, hospitals, etc), a calendar, or a maybe a sport schedule. (don’t forget the Olympics in London…. a great opportunity to list key dates)
• Offer to hand out cards of complimentary (non-competitive) business people in exchange for them distributing yours. An example of non-competitive businesses is estate agents and mortgage brokers.
• If somebody gives you their business card, you should always reciprocate.
• Always give your business card face up.
• Take a cue from business people in the Far East where business cards are deemed to be extremely important. There is is common to hand out business cards with both hands. It helps give the impression that your business card is something very important.
• If you conduct business internationally, use the back of your card to print a translated version of your business card in your customers’ language. Even if they have no problem reading English, it will be a classy touch and they will appreciate it.
• If you sell different product brands and want to put their logos on your business card, print them in only one color. Using each logo’s brand colors could make your business card look chaotic and busy.
• Use your premium business cards as a marketing piece and maybe create a business card in magnet form. Magnets are widely used, to hold important papers on the refrigerator door at home and on file cabinets at work. They are always visible and always get read.
• When receiving somebody else’s business card, don’t put it away immediately. Instead, keep it in your hand for a while you talk to your prospect, or place it neatly over the table, and try to develop a conversation based on the information on the card.
• Use the back of the cards you receive to write down important facts about the persons who handed them to you. It will help you enormously when you follow up with them.
• If you are in a profession where relationship selling is important, it may be a good idea to include your picture in your business card. People can often forget whose business cards they have if they are at an event where they are meeting lots of people in a short space of time, so a picture can remind them who you are.
• Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, you can still use “account manager” as your title instead of “owner” or “Managing Director”. If you do sales (and we all do) “Key Account Director” is a perfectly appropriate title, and it will give the impression that you work for a larger company.
• Use logos of organisations that you or your business belong to in your business cards. They are an easy way to provide an instant credibility badge to your business. Trade association membership can show you are a credible and established business
• If you participate in online affiliate marketing programs, you can still use business cards to promote your affiliate links. Use the name of the affiliate company as the company name, use ‘partner’ or ‘associate’ as your title, and the URL of the directory or web page where you have placed your affiliate links as your web address. Just because affiliate programs are online doesn’t mean that you can’t use off-line marketing methods to promote them.
• If you need to give cards to different kinds of prospects (for example if you are a student looking for work), make business cards with just your name and contact information, and attach custom made self-adhesive labels at the back with information of interest to each specific prospect.
• Include an information email address (for example: email@example.com) that is set in autoresponder mode, that automatically triggers an email message with full information about your product, service or company. This will increase the effectiveness of your business card since you will give your prospect much more information that you can fit in a card.
• Take good care of quality business cards. Keep them clean and crisp in a cardholder. Don’t give away cards that are bent or damaged.
• Try to get a cardholder with two pockets. That way, you can use one for your business cards and the other one for the business cards you receive.
• Keep all the best business cards you receive neatly organized in a Rolodex®. It will save you time and will provide you with a database of contacts with whom to build positive business relationships.
• Collect all the business cards you can find, even if you don’t need them. Together, they will act as an “idea file” that will provide you with valuable tips that you can use to design your business cards.