In today’s business world, one ancient invention is still priceless for networking purposes. The business card is simply a piece of paper, but without it – or if used incorrectly – you could miss out on connections and quickly fall behind your competitors.
Here are four tips to make sure that your business card is a successful marketing piece.
One: Pay For Them
Nothing is more unprofessional than a nice business card with “Get free business cards at VistaPrint!” written on the back. It’s bad enough to be advertising for someone else each time you pass out your card, but think what that says about you. What exactly are people thinking when they realize you didn’t pay for your cards?
“She doesn’t care enough to invest in herself or her business.”
None of those options are complimentary. None of those are images you want to portray to your potential clients. Save up if you have to, but business cards are not that expensive. They cost less than filling up your gas tank or dinner for two. So spend the money and buy your own business cards with your brand – and only your brand – on them.
Two: Be Clear About Your Position
Some people think that you should make your role memorable with a unique title. Human Resources Director? No, you’re a Chief Happiness Officer. Web Designer? No, you’re a Binary Code Picasso. Receptionist? Too plain. You’re the Director of First Impressions. While these are very creative titles, they may be too much to let someone know exactly what you do. If you received a business card from someone with the title Creator of Opportunities or Ambassador of Buzz, would you immediately know what that person did for a living?
While creative titles are fun and memorable, if you cannot immediately portray what you do, your title is ineffective. Consider putting your title with an explanation beneath it. For instance, a computer repairman may have his card read “Computer Therapist” with “Speedy Computer Repair” listed beneath it. Then he has the best of both worlds.
Three: Include All Contact Info
Too many people don’t include enough information or include the wrong information on their business cards. So exactly what should you put on your business card?
- Name – Your full name or the name that you use for business purposes
- Email – Your business email address, not a free account like gmail.com or hotmail.com
- Web address – The web site where people can find more about you or your services
- Phone number – A landline or mobile number (or both) where you can be reached during business hours
- Address – Your business address if it is relevant to your clients, otherwise just a city and state are acceptable
- Social media URL – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other social media URLs that are relevant to your network
Four: Do Not Use Gloss Coating
While a glossy card is professional looking and is less likely to get bent or dirty, it also has one major fault: People can’t write on it.
While at seminars or conferences, it is always a good idea to jot notes about the people you meet on their business card. Perhaps you have a mutual friend in the industry. Maybe you both graduated from the same university. Regardless of what it is, not only do you want to be able to make memorable notes on the back of potential clients’ business cards, but also you want them to be able to make notes about you.
Perhaps get a gloss-coated front on your card and leave the back matte so that the option to take pen to paper is still there.
A Successful Marketing Piece
Your business card is meant to be a representation of you. Make sure that it only represents you and your brand, not a free print service. Include the right information on your card, including an adequate description of what you do, even if you need to list both a creative title and a simplified version. And be sure that people can write on your card so that they can make notes about your meeting. If you keep all of these things in mind while designing and getting your business cards printed, you’ll be sure to have a successful marketing piece on a small rectangle of paper.