Business cards are a convenient way to share contact information between businesses and consumers. Unfortunately, they're often viewed as just that - contact cards - and are overlooked as prime marketing real estate. Realizing that business cards are your No. 1 promotional pieces, and doing something about it, can dramatically increase the likelihood that your prospects will be motivated enough to respond to your business card alone.
The following is an introduction to Business Card Marketing 101:
Design for impact
Professional companies must exude a professional appearance. This is especially important in your business card, which has a much longer shelf life than any other form of marketing. Choose an appropriate color scheme for your business and try using contrasting colors, shapes and sizes to make your card stand out at first glance. Make sure you include your logo for long-term branding purposes (it should be prominently displayed on every promotional piece you send out) and include a photograph if possible to personalize the card.
Your business card text should include your name, title, company, slogan and contact information. Phone numbers and website URLs should be easy to read; however, the text doesn't need to be large to accomplish this. In most cases, a 10- to 14-point font will work well on a business card. You shouldn't use more than two fonts and often using just one will suffice.
Add a splash of creativity by having your business cards die cut for rounded corners or other shapes that fit your company's theme. Don't make the mistake of printing your business cards yourself. All of your efforts will be wasted if your cards are not printed on professional-grade, straight-edged paper. Your business will appear much more professional and trustworthy if your business cards are printed on a 14- or ultra-thick 16-point paper with a gloss or matte coating, which will, in turn, increase the likelihood that you'll be called when a prospect needs the services or products you offer.
Like all direct-marketing materials, the ultimate goal of your business card is to make sales, and branding and repetition are keys to long-term success. Add value to your business cards to keep your prospects looking at them again and again. If the majority of your target audience is sports fans, one way to do this is to include a high school, college or professional sports team schedule on the back of your card. Other event schedules such as art festivals, wine tastings or county fairs could be well-suited to target other audiences.
Another great way to add value to your business card is to add discount coupons or referral bonuses. Discount coupons keep happy customers coming back, and referral bonuses get new customers in the door. You could also try adding an appointment schedule, a technique often used by medical practices and hair salons, or useful information such as a conversion chart. The point is to have your prospects looking at your business card over and over again, so make sure you include something they'll want to use.
Your business card distribution should not be limited to face-to-face meetings. Consider this: Many direct-mail campaigns do not include business cards, even though prospects are more likely to save them over any other printed promotional piece. Try affixing your business card to a brochure or sales sheet that says something like, "Wait! Put my business card in your Rolodex/wallet now so you can find me when you need me!" Even better, add two extra business cards so your prospects can share them with co-workers and friends.
You could also approach other businesses with cross promotions that get your business card on their countertops. This is most effective when you share a target audience with a non-competing business, as with hotels and restaurants. Other business card distribution methods include professional organization mailings (such as Chambers of Commerce) and public bulletin boards.
In summary, business card marketing is achieved in three steps: 1) Grabbing attention with stellar design; 2) adding value for longevity; and 3) proper distribution. The more business cards you can put out there, the more people will notice them and keep them until they need what you offer. If you can keep your company in the back of their minds, chances are they'll be calling.