Business Cards – A Marketing Powerhouse

Business Cards – A Marketing Powerhouse

Don’t make the mistake of wasting the premium marketing space on your business cards
What good can a cheap business card do when it comes to growing your business…maybe more than you think if used the right way. One of the most cost effective ways you can promote your business is through the use of a powerful business card.

Look, most people have them anyway so this will cost you nothing to implement.

Most people simply underutilize their business card. The typical business card states a name, company name, address phone, fax and perhaps e-mail.

A marketing business card states all of the above but also states at least one very powerful reason to do business with you and perhaps even an offer that helps the person who receives the card become interested right away.
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The powerful reason is something that marketers call a USP or Unique Selling Proposition. It is simply a short statement of the biggest benefit of doing business with your firm. Like the USP for Federal Express – “On time every time or it’s free”. Now this statement should appear on everything you do but the business card is a start!

A couple of examples:
Teague Electric – Wired Right On Time
Capitol Painting – We Can Do That

The second thing that a marketing business card will have is an offer. Offer a free subscription to your newsletter or a free seminar or trial subscription to a service. Use that business card to move your suspect to become a prospect.

Example:
Kansas City Business Journal offers four free weeks. The offer is printed on the back of every employee’s card.

Lastly, when someone asks for a card or you find yourself in a situation where you are exchanging cards, always give away three at a time. (You can make more!) When you do this just mention that if they know anyone else who might need what you do they can pass the card along. I can’t tell you how often this little tactic has resulted in a referral for me. Try it.

Avoid The Nine Most Common Business Card Blunders (by Patricia Schaefer)
Have you ever gotten a compliment on your business card? Is it something that you’re proud of? Does it simply and clearly identify just what your business does, and why people should do business with you? Is it visually appealing?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions, it just may be time for you to update your business card.

Why?

Because a business card is one of the most important and cost-effective marketing tools a business can have, especially for businesses just starting out. And yet, too often it’s a missed opportunity to make a great impression. A powerful and well-designed business card can effectively promote your business. There’s a good chance that if the look and quality of your card is shoddy or unprofessional, it may be thrown into the trash.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to come up with a good business card. The truth is — with a little planning and thoughtful consideration — you too can have a business card that will draw rave reviews and future clients.

There are a number of common blunders businesspeople make when it comes to their own business cards. Avoid these and you will be well on your way to having a card that is noticeably appealing and an effective marketing tool.

Blunder #1: Having a Card that Blends in with All the Rest
The great majority of business cards out there leave no real impression and soon become a faint memory. Leave someone with a card that looks great, feels great and clearly defines what your business does — and you and your card won’t soon be forgotten.

There is absolutely no excuse today for an unattractive or unprofessional-looking business card with the printing technologies that are available. These technologies make it easier and more affordable than ever to design a card that will get someone’s attention and at the same time look businesslike and appealing.

Blunder #2: Presentation of a Poor-Quality Card
An acquaintance of mine just printed up some “home-made” business cards. She spent five dollars for an Ink Jet business card kit to print 150 business cards. I was very impressed initially with her card: great use of colors, fonts, and the layout was pleasing to the eye. Then I held the card in my hand: it was feather-light and I could feel the perforations around the sides which were already peeling. There was also a fine white line running through the red ink of the company name.

Lesson: Don’t skimp on money when it comes to your business card. You want to have good stock paper, print that doesn’t bleed from a drop of water, an embossed logo, and the card should feel substantial and pleasing to the touch.

A poor quality card implies a business that will have poor quality products and services. Rather than attracting business, this type of card would most likely repel prospective customers.

Blunder #3: Having a “Mystery” Business Card
When someone looks at your business card, can they tell immediately what your business does? If not, you’re not likely to get as many calls or referrals.

In addition, your logo should have some connection to what your business does or what you are selling. For example, UPS (United Parcel Service) for 43 years had a logo on their business cards that showed a string-wrapped parcel sitting above the carrier’s shield.

Blunder #4: Not Providing a Unique Selling Proposition
Many businesses miss the golden opportunity of utilizing their business card to its full marketing potential. Your card should state at least one very powerful reason a customer should do business with you; i.e., An auto service center’s business card I have reads in part, “complete automotive repairs” and “all work fully guaranteed.”

Blunder #5: Using an Oversized Card
Common sense dictates the use of the traditional and standard 3.5 by 2-inch business card. Anything bigger will not fit in wallets or most business card holders. Chances are it will end up being filed in the circular file known as the trash bin.

Blunder #6: Print that is too Small
Does your business card have a font size so small that you need to hand out a magnifying glass in order for it to be read? Beware of this practice. You may be able to cram more information onto the card with a small font, but what good is it if people can’t read it? Since 95 percent of the population aged 35 or older need reading glasses, a good guideline is to use a type size no smaller than 7-8 point. Your name point can be a little larger; i.e., 9 point, and the company name usually looks good at about 12-15 point.

Blunder #7: A Cluttered Card
An appealing business card does not contain the print content of a novella. Too much print looks busy and terribly unprofessional: Simple is best. Sort out the information and keep only what’s totally necessary for someone to know your name, your company, what you do, and why they should use you — but don’t skimp on your contact information; you want to be easy to reach.

Blunder #8: Inadequate or Poor Use of Color
Spice up your business cards with a little splash of color; you’d be surprised what a difference it makes; for example, Just as restaurateurs use the color red for its appetizing quality, the judicious use of red in a business card is very visually appealing. Avoid the common mistake of grey print on a white background; it lacks contrast and the print is difficult to read.

On the flip side, don’t make the mistake of color-overload. Too many colors that don’t complement one another will make the card look busy and will detract from the content of your card.

The use of color in the business card below is attractive but does not interfere or detract from the card’s message (Note the great selling proposition: “Changing the World, one Bottom at a Time”).

Blunder #9: Cards that don’t get Distributed
What good is having a box full of business cards if they’re just sitting there collecting dust? It would serve you and your business better to apply the old axiom, “Use it or lose it.” What can you lose? Business.

Always have a supply of your cards wherever you go. Give them out when appropriate, and while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to give out more than one. Invite people to pass the extras along to others who might need your service. You might be surprised at how often this can result in a referral.

Yesterday, I looked through my file of about 100 collected business cards to find a winner. There was just one card that stood out among the rest. It had a dark blue background with white print: the name of the company, White Knight D.J. Service. I liked that the white print connected to the “White” Knight name. The logo was also in white and showed musical notes coming up and across the card; again, another connection, this time to the D.J. Service.

Their use of print was frugal but improved the look and function of the card in its simplicity and marketing power: “Serving the NY Metro Area for over a decade” and “The difference is the experience.”

When I held it in my hand, it felt substantial and had a rich-textured look with a professional gloss coating.

I called Ed Vecchio of White Knight D.J. Service to find out: Was this card thoughtfully designed or just thrown together? What has the feedback been on the card? Was I wrong or right about the assessment of the card?

Not surprisingly, Ed informed me that much thought had, in fact, gone into the design and function of his business card. As far as the colors used, Ed stated, “I wanted it to jump out and catch someone’s eye.”

Every aspect of the card was strategically planned, like the marketing message. Ed explained, “We wanted anyone who looked at our card to know that we weren’t just a fly-by-night operation. The fact that we stated we’ve been in business for more than a decade lends credibility to our professionalism and experience.”

And what has the feedback been on Ed’s card? “I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the card; like, ‘nice card.’ Has it helped me generate business? Let me put it this way, it hasn’t hurt.”

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