Have you overlooked one of the most relevant, portable and cost-effective forms of advertising, marketing and promoting available to your business?
04 20, 2020
by Paul Hogden
Table of Contents
Are Business Cards Outdated?
If you spend most of your working day in the virtual world – and let’s face it, who doesn’t – you may have overlooked one of the most relevant, portable and cost-effective forms of advertising, marketing and promoting available to your business. In another post I wrote I talk about the importance of networking as a marketing factor. A beautifully designed business card is a sight to behold. Yes, we often question how much business cards matter and their relevance. If you’re struggling to understand why this small piece of colourful card remains an important marketing tool – please check out my 7 reasons.
Normally these are the cards that stand up on their own. I don’t mean actually stand up like a Christmas card – but stand up to scrutiny. That they are attractive enough to make a statement without distracting from the message. That they use colour and typeface to enhance the messaging. That the messaging is more than an address and phone number. Most importantly that it gives a mini snapshot into your world. Think about what from your business is going to give a potential client a look under your company’s bonnet?
What is the usual information on a business card?
The basics are essential. Your Name, the company name, ideally a way of communicating with you – i.e email address and a phone number. There is a lot of debate about putting mobile numbers on a business card. I have done both. Given the fact that I sleep next to my phone, I don’t really feel I need to be that accessible. Which is why I decided to remove my mobile number from my business card.
Do put social handles of either yourself (if you have a business persona) or company handles for social media.
It Makes A New Business Stand Out
If you’re fresh out of the gates, then high quality business cards are a great way to give your new company some credibility and visibility. A beautiful design with your contact details gives a tangible product to a potential customer that can scream quality! It also starts to give an idea as to your business values – so be careful what messaging you use. Something positive could have people reaching for the phone. Something negative could have them reaching for the dustbin.
Please note, if you’re seeking to make a splash with your new business, invest in some well-thought-out well designed business cards. What could add value to this transaction? Could there be a link to your social media? Some freebies? Something that is going to make the experience of the person you’ve just met – last a bit longer than the short time you’ll chat. Maybe a scan me code for a BOT – anything that will keep you more memorable than the next person.
A Virtual Card Is Lost Almost Immediately
If you’ve ever been to a networking event, you’ll have probably looked at the delegate list beforehand, identified who you’d like to meet and committed your hit-list to memory. So let’s say you meet your dream potential client.
You’ve exchanged pleasantries, you’ve established a rapport, it’s all going really quite well. So it comes to the end of your all but brief meeting. What do you do?
Modern-day etiquette has us reaching for our mobile phone to connect on social media or a quick transmission of your contact information is agreed. But it’s not visible after your meet. All too quickly you’ve become a statistic along with the other two thousand contacts inside their phone. Nothing special now about your rapport and suddenly, you’re relying on their memory, which could be good, bad or indifferent.
It may be really convenient to be able to produce your business card via a mobile phone app at any time, however it just makes you the same as everyone else. you can’t write your name stylishly and in this day and age where there is in some markets saturation beyond belief – why would you just want to be the same?
If you feel you do need to send your details via phone – do it AS WELL – don’t do it instead of. There are far better ways to illustrate who you are – what makes you amazing and why people should choose you over the competition.
You produce your newest marketing device. A double-sided, business card that has been through the matt lamination process with a bit of spot UV added into the mix – to make parts of the card shiny. It has your name clearly stated, to avoid embarrassing snafus, your position and what your business does.
Not only that, there’s every possible medium listed to contact you. It looks smart, and your client makes that James Bond – eyebrow-raising look to say “you’ve thought about this – haven’t you?”
That’s when you know – as they play with your calling card in their hand, that you are being remembered for more than a two-minute conversation and a bunch of forgettable contact details.
Whilst we all know that digital marketing is great for getting your name out there and taking prospective clients on those first steps into your funnel – there is really nothing quite like a meeting, a handshake and an exchange of personalised business cards.
You never know where you’re going to meet your next big client. Whether you’re travelling by car, plane or boat – you need to be prepared to network at a moments notice. So you need to be ready. Half of the challenge is that you don’t want to be carrying around a slide deck with you.
So, business cards show a perfect introduction to a new client. Let’s face it, you can have a link to a slide deck on your business card. Plus, they are highly portable. You can carry them in a wallet, purse, pocket, handbag or briefcase.
First Impressions Last – A Long Time
So you’ve just met your next big prospective client. How do you want them to remember you? Having a bad (normally cheap or free) business card is a bit like drinking a wine that’s corked. You’re full of anticipation, and then you take a sip and – UGH! Awful. It’s not as simple as to upload a design template and then that’s it. No, think about the quality of the product. Think about what it says about you and your company.
The Smallest Ambassador Of Your Business
Think of a business card as an ambassador: It needs to say the right things at the right time and always have the company at the forefront of it’s reason for exisiting. It’s ideal to parachute into a situation and be there as a prompt to get people thinking about you in a favourable light again.
A memorable calling card does a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number.
When I give my business card over to a contact, I want them to look at it with interest – not with horror or disgust. It needs to scream quality – not “bin me”. You’ve heard the phrase buy cheap – buy twice? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing with a cheaply made, mass-produced – paper-like card. Pity the poor people who have to get that wafer out of their pocket after a heavy days networking.
It is my desire to make people stop and admire the design it’s more than just colour printing. There is all manner of paper types and weights – but never deviate from the standard size – otherwise, they won’t fit into your card case or wallet. Spend time on a creative business card design and printing choices. They are numerous and ensure that you talk to your designer and the printer as to what is new and improved in the world of business card printing. Make sure thought that the business card size stays around the standard – to allow for easy storage.
If you’ve left it a bit late – most offer a quick printing service and next day delivery. But be warned a laser printed card might get you out of a hole, but it isn’t going to make your business sticky in the mind of a prospective customer when you think of all of the different paper stocks and things like gloss lamination that are available as finishes.
Quality comes at a higher price. But what if that cost could be offset against the number of new clients attracted to you by a quality product?
Some people feel awkward about when it’s a good time to hand a card to a contact. The answer is that you may need to craft a time within the conversation. Don’t leave it to the last minute – otherwise it can get a bit strained. If you’re getting the buying signals or at least nodding and interest – that is the time to exchange. Maybe, draw some attention to a particular section of your card regarding an offer or a contact name and number.
If It’s Really Cool It Might Take On A Life Of It’s Own
Imagine if your calling card became it’s own talking point. You give it to a contact and they, in turn, are so impressed with the design, the look, the font sets (the humour) that they show it to some colleagues. Now that’s brand awareness. What’s more, is that it’s free and easy to replicate.
How embarrassing is it when you’re out and you reach into your pocket. Only to present someone with another person’s business card! Worse still – you realise that the clump of cards you have in your jacket are everybody else’s.
Keep a stash of cards in all jackets and blazers you wear. I always keep a pile of my own cards in my office at home and replenish as needed. I’ve missed opportunities in the past when I didn’t have cards with me. It simply looks bad and ill-prepared.
Being the swiss army knife to business is what it takes to win a seat at the table. Stay sharp and look at each opportunity a way of increasing your network – one card at a time.
Less Is More – Keep Assaying It Down
A cleverly placed sentence on a calling card can make the difference to who calls you. It’s great to get calls from all sorts – but when you’ve been in business a while, you’d probably appreciate a way of filtering enquiries to those who are more likely to want your services at your price points. Think about what you could put – just a few words, that could encourage the right people to call and dissuade the wrong ones.
Use Both Sides – One For Your Creativity and One For Contact Details.
In Summary – Silent Marketing Legends
If you thought that throwing your old cards in the bin was a sensible plan – think again. A business card can make an impression – long after your meeting has ended. What would you rather do? Be instantly forgettablee? Or would you rather be thought of as that quirky clever person who bought a knowing smile to the face of a potential business contact?
Keep refining them to make them the most efficient, effective, sought after items you possess. Make your business cards the first part of your marketing mix. They’re still as important – if not more so than they ever were. My recommendation? Get a good one designed today. Think about your company messaging and how you want to be remembered. Put the most important contact details on the card. Make it clear.
Choose an appropriate and easy to read typeface and just go for it. Make sure you talk to a decent printer, who consistently produces good quality products. Don’t be tempted to find a cheap alternative. Remember, people make judgements on the things you give away. Do you want to say – I’m cheap or I think you’re important and worth lavishing time and effort on? Personally, I’d rather be remembered for the latter. Ask your printer for recommendations.
Ask them what they would recommend. I normally print around 500 cards off at a time. When I have printed more cards, something always changes. From a phone number to an address – then you have to throw them away. Keep the volume to a level that you can get through in six to twelve months.
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