Sunday, April 26, 2015

5 Tips on How to Give Your Business Card a Marketing Edge

Business cards have a funny way of making every space their home - our wallets, our desks, our cars, our counters, etc. We come in contact with them every day, and we rely on them as a reference and as a necessary tool for business networking.

Their ubiquity also lends them as powerful marketing tool. Don’t underestimate the power of a 3.5 x 2 inches of paper. A business card is the starting point of your sale, and it’s vital in making a memorable first impression.

Below are 5 effective ways to #getyourmessageacross with your business card and employ them as your miniature marketing army:

1.     Have a Beautiful or Eye-Catching Design

Okay, so this seems obvious, but it still astounds me how dated or cheesy some business cards look, whether it’s because there’s too much going on or because little though was invested into it. Be prepared for people deciding on whether or not you’re worth their time based on the sturdiness of your cardstock and the aesthetics of your graphic design.

Invest in a good designer for your logo and marketing materials, one who understands the draw of clean visuals and the judicial usage of pleasing colors. It’s awfully tempting to pack as much info as you possibly can, but remember, you have very little surface area to work with, and when you try to throw too much at a person, nothing might stick.

In this case, less is more. Use no more than 3 colors, make sure your logo isn’t complicated, and don’t clutter your card with a dozen bullet points summarizing all your services.

If you really want to grab someone’s attention, bring your card to life and make it into 3D or interactive art. Look up business cards with perforated lines that fold them into mini sculptures, and play with cleverly strategic cut outs. Have fun thinking outside the box.

2.     Be Generous and Give, Give, Give

Act like your business cards have an expiration date and give them away as fast as possible, because they’re of no use to you neglected in your pocket. Anyone with a hint of interest in you or your business should have your card in their hands after the first 60 seconds of conversation.

Many people are clinically incapable of remembering names, so any assistance in this department will be appreciated.

Even if you’re talking casually with a new acquaintance, wouldn’t you rather be remembered by name instead of as “That guy we met at the thing the other night?”

Perhaps an immediate business opportunity isn’t readily available, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be in the future. And don’t limit yourself to the possibilities directly in front of you. Manifest bonus clients and give two cards at a time – one for the recipient and an extra they can give a referral.

3.     Make Them Useful
A business card that I can use as a periodic table? Heck, yes! Business cards will need the requisite contact info and logo, but more and more people are trying to stand out by making their cards multifunctional and relevant to the business. Think eye charts on the back of a card for an optometry practice, or a ruler for a construction company.

A 2 in 1 product may seem like a mere novelty, but adding an extra element of utility and practicality to your business card creates a multitude of positive associations with your company. Customers would be naturally more inclined to hire someone who projects plenty of ingenuity and resourcefulness. Whatever your strategy, the more useful your card, the longer it will stay out of someone’s trash bin.  

4.     Leave a Trail
Don’t be afraid to ask other local and related businesses to leave a stack of your cards at their front desk. You want to get your name out there, and building alliances can benefit you greatly in getting more eyes on your company. Haven’t you ever picked up a card while visiting a salon or an event venue, knowing there would be a definite use for it in the near future?

At conferences and shows, it helps to have a strategic partner carry a stack of cards at their booth and have their help in cross promoting your business while you do the same for them. Not only does it open up another stream of potential clients, you look like a trustworthy and knowledgeable resource with strong connections. Referrals tend to have the happy knack for turning into the smooth and easy sale.

5.     Give Food for Thought
Modern marketing is all about being genuine and connecting with peoples’ interests and opinions. Consumers, especially millennials, are quick to sniff out insincerity and shy away from aggressive sales pitches.

If speaking as a promoter isn’t your style, try incorporating quotes (“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”), phrases or words that reflect the vision and values of the company. The copy can be humorous, or it can be contemplative, depending on what feels most appropriate for your business.

Another strategy is to get people to interact and learn. Interacting with customers may get them interested in other things you may have to offer. You could include fun facts or trivia (82% of brides have regrets about their wedding day…), or you can redefine a word based on your company’s understanding of it.

In anything you do as a company, make it a habit to regularly engage your audience.

Challenge them. Start a conversation. Your business card can be the tangible starting point of a long and mutually rewarding relationship.

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