Most business cards simply list contact information and are distributed only when meeting a prospect face to face. These practices are in stark contrast to the reality that your business card is your No. 1 marketing tool and should be distributed at every possible opportunity. Business cards are designed for longevity. They should find a home in the rolodexes, card folders, wallets and purses of your prospects so they can go to work selling for you.
Think about this: While launching a direct-mailpostcard campaign is a great idea for short-term promotions, virtually no one who receives your postcard will still have it six months later. All professionals have a special place for keeping and organizing business cards, however, so it's likely an effective business card will stay with your prospects for months or even years. Great business cards begin with great design and influential copy; after that, the success of your business card as a marketing tool comes down to added value and distribution. The following are a few unique ways to use business cards to get the word out about your business and keep your company at the forefront of your prospects' minds.
Add value to your business cards, and therefore your business, by making sure your card is professionally designed and printed. Great graphics on a 14- or super-thick 16-point matte or glossy paper go a long way to making your company seem valuable. Now, take it a step further by having rounded corners die cut on your card and printing on the back of your business card. Alternatively, you can create a folded business card for added surface area. Try using the extra space to:
Add a coupon
Promote your website
Add a punch card (punched on each purchase for a prize or discount after so many purchases)
Add a conversion chart, restaurant tipping chart or other useful information
Add a sports schedule or event calendar
Showcase your products or services with images and specs
Handwrite your special unlisted direct-access number so prospects will hold on to it
Naturally, you should keep plenty of business cards on-hand for networking and incidental meetings; however, there are many other ways to distribute your business cards and, because they are so inexpensive, you can afford to blanket the market with them for maximum exposure. The point is that you never know when someone who needs your services (or knows someone who does) will stumble across your card. Here are a few distribution ideas:
Include three or four business cards in every direct-mail package or initial correspondence you send (one for the recipient, the rest for them to pass on to others)
Put your business card in public access phone books and in the yellow pages where your industry is listed
Place your business cards in relevant books at the library
Send a card in your bill payments (electric bills, credit cards, mortgage payments, etc.); especially if you're a B2B selling to other businesses
Make sure your family and friends always have a few to distribute
Put them on bulletin boards at local supermarkets or other public places
See if other local businesses will let you place your cards on their counters
If there are hotels in your area and you offer something for travelers, see if you can put your cards in the hotel rooms
Leave a card on the table after dining out
Ask other area businesses if they'd be willing to distribute your cards to prospects in return for you doing this for them (a business card/referral network)
The goal of any marketing campaign is to set your company apart from the competition in a positive way that motivates prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process. Business cards are no different, so get creative with your business cards and your distribution practices, and soon you'll find business in places you never knew existed.