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Business Card Marketing on a Budget

If you’re a successful business owner, you know that you have to spend money to make money. Marketing is one of the biggest costs you have, and the success of your business hinges on the quality of your printed promotional pieces. Business cards are no exception and should never be overlooked as an integral part of your overall marketing campaign.

Here are a few ideas to maximize your results when business card marketing on a budget.

Order more, not less

As with any marketing strategy, you have to look at the big picture. Ordering business cards in bulk means tremendous savings, so your cost per card is significantly less. Consider your cost per card as your distribution fee: What does it cost to put your business card in the hands of a targeted audience? The lower your distribution fee is, the higher your opportunity for a return on investment (ROI).

Make your card work for you

Your business card is about so much more than sharing contact information: It’s your 2.5-inch by 3-inch salesperson. The key to keeping your business card distribution fees low is to make sure your cards have a long shelf life. Create a great design that is relevant to your company and commands immediate attention from your prospects. You should also add value to keep your card in the wallets, purses and rolodexes for months to come. You could:

  • Add promotional coupons
  • List an event schedule (such as a sports team)
  • Add a useful chart or graph
  • Make your business card a punch card to generate repeat business
  • Include important benefits of your business in your tagline (24/7 customer service, for example)

The important thing is to give your prospects something useful they’ll want to use over and over again, which lessens the likelihood you’ll have to hand out another card the next time you see them because they’ve “misplaced your card.” Again, you should budget for the big picture to reduce long-term costs, which means you shouldn’t skimp on hiring a designer, and you definitely don’t want to skimp on printing. Go with a 14- or super-thick 16-point professional-grade paper and a matte or gloss finish to look professional and credible to your prospects.

Distribute wisely

Many resources dictate that you should hand out as many business cards as possible. This is true, because you never know when a hot prospect will come across your card; or when a friend of a friend will refer someone to your business based on the card you gave them. Remember, you print business cards to distribute them, not to collect dust on your desk. You can make it a point to distribute your cards in the right places: Attend trade conferences, join business networking groups such as BNI and Chambers of Commerce, and set up countertop business card cross-promotions between your business and non-competing companies that share your target audience (as with restaurants and hotels). If you have 5,000 business cards printed, make sure you distribute all 5,000 of them; if 4,000 are distributed at all the right places, you stand a good chance of realizing a robust ROI, and you’ll catch the “friend of a friend” business with your remaining distribution.

Successful business card marketing on a budget depends on long-term thought. Your distribution fee is dramatically lowered when you order 5,000 cards instead of 500. Your response rate will dramatically increase if your card can grab immediate attention and add value to your prospects. You stand a better chance of closing sales if you distribute your cards to the right people without forgetting about the incidental business. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a great ROI from your business cards alone.

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