Well I am sure by now you by now I’ve got a thing about business cards!
I believe the business card is a really important business tool that many people get wrong despite the fact that with some thought and the right design and buying decisions, can make an excellent impression when handed out.
I would hope that the information that you are considering using on your business cards has changed in recent months and years as we are now replacing fax numbers with Twitter id’s amongst other social media links, the business card itself is still a vital part of a networking strategy. You can’t waste face-to-face opportunities to strengthen professional relationships. In the same way that your website or Facebook page or blog is important, when you’re meeting new people, your business card is one of the first things they see and at the same time, the impression you leave at the end of the first meeting. A well thought out design, makes a compelling business card and can help you make a real connection and bring more business in the door.
But you don’t necessarily need to hire a professional graphic designer or spend a fortune to get a business card that makes your business cards stand out.
Here are 5 simple tips and ideas that will help you make the most from your business cards.
1. Dress to Impress!
We have all heard the phrase “image is everything” and your business card is no exception. You need to make sure that like you and all the other vital elements of your business, it’s dressed for success. Would you invite a prospective to a client at your office if it is a complete mess and looks really disorganised and greet them at the door looking like you’ve just woken up or dressed in scruffy clothes? Slight silly idea for most businesses I know but it is relative to giving a poor quality business card that has been stuck in your back pocket and is dog eared and creased!!
Obviously if your clients are not bothered then you are in a strange scenario and maybe image does not matter to you. But I assure you, to at least some of your clients, if they are handing over money for your products and services, they want a feelgood factor and that you are a reputable business.
Whether you have thought it through or not, a potential customer will form an opinion about who you are and what your company is based on specific look, feel, layout and the information you provide on your business cards! The type of paper, colours, thickness, layout, quality, sized and shape are all factors of how your business card is perceived.
Of course we are asking a lot of a piece of card that is only 55x85mm but great things come in small packages!
2. Never, ever, ever use clip art or bad quality pictures.
Clip art should a no no for almost everything! Don’t use it! It’s obviously free or at best very cheap. Now what does that say about you and your company? It screams from the rooftops that you are amateur, small time and quite simply unaware of image, marketing, professionalism and if that looks obvious, then you are making life hard for yourself!
What would you think if your accountant used an abacus, your car valet used dirty water or your local coffee shop service coffee in chipped mugs?!
It’s obviously not a clever idea is it!
That’s the kind of feeling your prospects will feel if you use clip art. It doesn’t help your business card communicate anything and, in most cases, makes it worse. People will assume you take a “good enough” approach to business and will be less likely to choose to work with you.
3. Consider including a QR code.
A QR code is a matrix barcode that is readable by smartphones and can be a great way to make a connection between your real life and online marketing materials. You can use this code to create special, memorable features on your website and reward those you meet in person for reaching out to you. All you have to do is Google search for a QR Code Generator and you will turn up a lot of cheap or free options for creating and downloading a QR code.
QR codes are often a great conversation starters as still lots of people don’t really know too much about them or why they should be used. QR codes give you an the chance for a clever marketing moment if your code leads to a special landing page on your website.
4. Keep it Tidy
I don’t know about you but I have so many points of contact now that I may start having to consider an A4 business card! Obviously there is landline, mobile, email, websites, postal address but think about the other social media links there are. You have to really be careful about using the most relevant information, without going over the top. Consider the popular and easiest ways to contact you and what information is relevant.
There are Twitter handles, Skype aliases, LinkedIn profile links amongst others, but remember these are extras you can introduce to the relationship once it is solidified, but are not necessarily part of establishing a relationship in the first place.
You need to focus on creating a compelling business card design and be aware that over complicating it can distract from the fundamental information that you want to communicate
The two most important pieces of information on an effective business card have remained the same for as long as I cam (admit) to remember! Your phone number and email address. Of course you may want to add your websites, a testimonial or a mission statement but please don’t cram every last bit of detail into every single available space on your business card!
5. Don’t scrimp.
We all know that you can get dirt cheap business cards online but be careful as you can often get what you pay for! If you want a Vistaprint logo on your business cards and have them printed with clip art onto flimsy poor quality paper, well then you know where to go!
In the current economic climate, we all like to look after the pennies and not overspend on anything but how important is your image and perception of your business to a new prospect? As with every single business expenditure, you must think about the return on investment. If you spent £100 on a set of high quality business cards but you passed them to new prospect that developed into a client spending thousands well to me this is a pretty good ROI. If you spend 50% less but get poor quality business cards, you run the risk of putting off your prospect.
I am not saying every business deal you do is solely dependent on your business cards, but if you look after every detail in your business that all contributes to presenting the right image, together this all helps!
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