Business people often underestimate the potential impact of a great business card, and further fail to maximize the first impression and opportunities it can offer. If you get it right, your business card will help open doors to new customers; get it wrong and you’ll waste a very valuable opportunity to make your business prominent in the minds of people for years to come. Let’s look at some of the basics of business cards and how to use them effectively.
First and foremost, make sure your card is up-to-date with your business’s correct address, telephone number, and e-mail information. If you don’t want people calling you on your cell phone, don’t print that number on your card. Various contact options are also highly recommended, as not all people like making initial contact over the phone, and not everyone is comfortable with, or has access to, e-mail and the Internet.
If your company isn’t well known, or if your business’s name doesn’t explain what you do, consider including a statement on your card that sums it up. For example, a company name like “John Johnson Inc.” really doesn’t tell prospective clients anything. Better to add “Professional Roofer” somewhere, or a slogan such as “Providing Quality Roofing Since 1996.” And if you have a logo, be sure to add it to your card. No logo yet? Be sure to read Logo Design to learn how to get started.
When designing your card, keep in mind that color is both extremely affordable and the most effective way to make your card stand out. These days more than 80 percent of business cards are still printed in black ink on white card stock. For tips on how to make your own cards, be sure to check out Creating Your Own Business Cards.
That said, what you do with your business cards has far more impact on the sales you generate than your card’s design does. Offering your card with both hands, for example, is a simple, no-cost strategy that still creates an enormous psychological impact.
Business cards are the one marketing item you should be very generous with. Give them out freely to everyone who is interested in receiving one. If there is more than one person in a meeting, always give a card to everyone present.
Small as they are, you can afford to carry your business cards with you wherever you go. This includes when you go shopping, on vacation, and when you’re out and about running errands. After all, you never know where your next business relationship may come from.
You don’t have to reserve your business cards for just people you meet, either. Other great places to distribute them include public buses and trains, nightclubs, community centers, even beside the sink the next time you’re in a public restroom.
Additional locations might include:
- Wholesale clubs. Places like Costco and Sam’s Club sell everything in quantity, and often allow business members to enter before consumer members. This means you can find like-minded people selecting items that you prefer. Conversations occur and business card exchanges follow.
- Airplanes. Speaking with fellow airline passengers can be more than a time killer during this period of temporary confinement; it’s also a smart business move.
- Supermarkets and libraries. These places often have public bulletin boards listing professional services for hire. Whether or not your competition is already posting on them, you probably should be.
- Dental offices. Everyone waiting here is likely nervous. Eye contact often gives strangers the chance to start a conversation. Such locations are also replete with magazines. Next time you’re waiting to get your teeth cleaned, slip a business card or two between the pages of the waiting room magazines.
Remember, the best networking tool you have is just one professional, inexpensive business card away! Your cards are no good in your pocket, so have them available to distribute often wherever you travel. Try to make it a goal to pass out 50-100 cards weekly.