The Marketing Weapon In Your Wallet

Are you wasting your most powerful marketing weapon? Forget the classifieds, the billboards, the radio ads and even the banner exchanges. For sheer affordability (under a penny each if you buy in bulk) and versatility, you can’t beat the humble business card.

Remember when you first started your business? If you’re like most small business owners, business cards were your first marketing- related purchase. It was thrilling to see that fresh-printed symbol of business legitimacy, wasn’t it? Nothing says “I’m in business” like passing out your very own business card.

Unfortunately, many people discover that not everyone is as eager to GET their card as they are to GIVE it. You may not even be using your cards much anymore.

Truth is, it’s TOUGH to design an attention-getting card, find just the right way to give it to prospects, and then organize all those cards you collect. It takes some knowledge, and it takes some practice. But believe me, it’s worth it. Business cards are portable, versatile, readily accepted worldwide, and so cheap you can’t afford NOT to use them!

Convinced? Then here are some basic tips to get you started (or get you going again.)

Designing an attention-getting card:

  • Spend a little time determining how you’ll use your card and who will receive it. A previous customer probably needs to know less about product benefits but may appreciate fuller contact information. A card often given to prospective customers should be more marketing- oriented.
  • Keep it simple and legible, with plenty of white space. If you overcrowd the card, it won’t get read. The most basic info is your name, your company name, and your phone number (which should be in bold text or a larger size, if there are other numbers on the card.)
  • Add color! The vast majority of cards are printed in black ink on white card stock. Full-color cards are available these days at very economical prices, yet are still unique enough to attract attention.
  • Use your business card to drive traffic to your website.

Prospecting creatively with business cards:

  • The way you present your card has far more to do with your success than your card itself. Presenting your card with both hands, for example, creates an enormous psychological impact (“Hey, this must be important!”)
  • If you can’t seem to find a suitable moment to give your card to someone you feel could be a great prospect, ask for his or her card. (In fact, ask for two or three. Tell them you want extras to distribute to people you know.) Odds are, they’ll ask for your card in return.
  • Introduce yourself with your card. Hand your card to the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the hostess at the restaurant, or the technician at the auto repair shop.
  • Include your card with all correspondence. Enclose your card when you return rented goods … everything from tools to videotapes to automobiles (especially if it’s a luxury model!)
  • Offer to include business cards on your web site as a community service (announce this to the media!)
  • Refer business to others. Offer to include the cards of business people you respect with your mailings, if they’ll agree to do the same with yours. Join a business-networking group.

Organizing cards:

  • Jot notes on the back of cards you’re given, such as date, event, common interests, physical characteristics of the giver, type of information you need to send, and so on. Do this right away, before you forget. (When you want to be discreet about writing notes on the back of newly acquired business cards, excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Lock yourself in a stall and write!)
  • Rate prospects *A*, *B* or *C*, with *A* being a hot prospect and *C* a lukewarm lead. Write the rating on the back of their card.
  • Develop a system for carrying and collecting business cards, and file them the way you remember them (by company name, person’s name, or industry.)
  • A cigarette case or compartmented coin purse can be used to temporarily organize business cards.

Set yourself a goal of giving out 5 or 10 cards daily, and very soon, you’ll be getting the attention (and the money!) you wanted. And that’s why you went into business, isn’t it?