If you ask today’s small business owner to define their marketing strategy, they’ll probably reference online marketing (like PPC and SEO), add a dash or two of social media marketing, and ice the cake with an attempt at a viral video. However, some traditional forms of marketing are still relevant – one of which is the business card!
You remember that old thing, right? It’s 2×4 piece of cardstock you would drop into an empty fishbowl to win a free lunch for your office. Chances are you were never won that free lunch. Don’t worry though; your business card has far greater uses than a monetary-less transaction for free eats. The business card is usually the first impression you create with a potential new customer or partner in the real world. When you meet someone in a conference or a trade show, your first attempt as building a raport is by flashing them your business card, crossing your fingers, and hoping they’ll contact you. Don’t forget about these little wallet stuffers. They are stull useful and should be considered as important as turning up your website to enhance the UX or creating “the bomb” marketing materials to win over customers without even speaking to them. It is important to optimize the way you use your business cards. This post will explore some of the ways in which you can do it.
- Give easy access to information: Your business card should contain all necessary information about you and your business. This includes your direct number, website address, physical address, and your Twitter handle, LinkedIn and Facebook page address. You may use several other social media venues for your business, but these three are the most popular and chances are high that the recipient of your business card would be active in at least one of these places & could possibley engage you on one of those platforms. You don’t want too much clutter on that little space & no one really wants to know if you still have a MySpace or if you are still holding onto the AIM address you made in college ‘Loves2GetWasted’.
- Make it easy to hold & keep: While having an odd shaped card may initially grab some eye-balls, it will be difficult to retain in a standard card holder or even a wallet. It is best to stick to standard sizes when it comes to business cards. The eye doctor with the giant eyeball shaped business card will definitely make an impression, but the card will likely be fodder for the trashcan.
- Give someone a reason to keep it: So you’ve created this card that stows away neatly in the overhead compartment and lists all your vitals, but you still aren’t giving the contact a reason to retain your card. The goal of any card should be to give a person a reason to keep it to increase the chances they’ll contact you at some point. The best area to achieve this is to build some marketing houses on that piece of fresh real estate on the back of the card. Some of the ways to increase chances they won’t toss your card is by giving a coupon code (for a prospective customer) or a list of tips on using your product (for an existing customer). It is a bad idea to give a calendar at the back of your card, as it is only useful for a single year and is too impersonal. Plus, the calendar would be so tiny it may cause your prospects eyes to explode & no one wants to do that to a potential client. If you are using the space to dazzle them with an offer, make sure is unique to your company and also that it has a limited period validity so that the call to action is compelling enough. One great way to do it is to require someone to register on your site and make an initial purchase within a certain number of days, and then have an ongoing discount scheme every time they shop and provide the coupon code. This way, you not only initiate a response, but also work towards gaining customer loyalty. A free shipping code is another great offer you can include with your business card. Don’t forget about the one two punch by drawing the attention of the recipient to the offer by mentioning it when you give the card.
- Use it as a Marketing Tool: Today, getting a business card printed is not expensive. There are print houses online that will give you free cards less shipping and handling fees. Why are people giving these things away for free? Is it because they are worthless? No way! It is still extremely important to treat it as a marketing tool. Which means you need to do all the things you would do for a marketing campaign – start off with a goal, get multiple sets of business cards printed with different offers (to test which works best), distribute them to prospects, and finally track and measure the ROI by verifying how many people actually made use of the offers you gave. If you feel a great rapport with the recipient of your card, it is a great idea to hand over a few cards to them and request them to circulate it among their network to anyone whom they feel can benefit from your products or services.
Even in today’s highly digital world, small business owners cannot ignore the power of networking through face to face meetings and conferences. Your personality will directly reflect your business as much as your business card does, and your business card can go a long way in helping you create a lasting impression. Make sure your card is easy to carry, engaging, customized for each venue, and comes with a compelling reason to keep it. So go ahead and take that pile of 75 business cards you jammed under the foot of your desk to stop it from wobbling and put them to better use – building relationships in the real world.
Image by Lachlan Hardy