Some people consider business cards outdated. It’s true that they’ve been around for ages, but they still have value. They are a simple, inexpensive way to provide everyone you come in contact with the information they need to reach you.
If you own a business, you need business cards.
Before every two-day class we ask attendees to bring at least thirty cards to share with others in the class. We have a table in the room where the cards are placed, and over the two days, we see people perusing them and picking up those of interest.
The surprising thing is that only maybe fifty or sixty percent of those who attend bring their business cards. I can only surmise that the others don’t have them, or don’t have enough to share. That’s a shame.
Your business card is an advertising tool that costs pennies; you can get 1,000 cards for less than $50. It’s a piece of very light cardboard or plastic with all your contact info on it, so it’s easy for the buying public to find you.
Many contractors follow the advice of graphic artists who tell them that all they need is their name and email address. That makes for a simple, stylish card, but it doesn’t get the job done. Not everyone wants to use their computer or smart phone to reach you. Make it easy for them to do business with you; give them multiple ways to contact you. Your business card needs to be effective more than it needs to be stylish.
The card has two sides: use them both. The side your customer sees first should have your company name, logo if you have one, a brief description of what you do, and your picture. On the opposite side should be your name, phone number, fax number if you have one, email address, company website, and a physical address so they can snail mail you if needed. If you have a QR code, put that on the card as well.
Why your picture? Because people are less apt to throw away a card with a photo on it.
When you provide the brief description of what you do, don’t write “we specialize in,” then list fifteen or twenty different things. That’s not specializing, it’s generalizing. Today’s clients want a specialist. List one thing you focus on and maybe two related backups.
Always carry your business cards with you. They are best carried in your shirt pocket or within easy reach in a handbag. When you pull your card out and hand it to the other person, position it so they can read the card as you hand it to them. If they have to turn it over, around or upside down, you aren’t respecting their time and you’ll look disorganized.
You want your business cards to be printed, not hand-written. Don’t let them get folded, bent or otherwise mutilated. You don’t want to hand someone a business card that looks like it was used to clean ice off the windshield.
Who should you give your cards to? Anyone you see. If they’re breathing, they’re eligible. If they aren’t a home or building owner, they probably know someone who is. Set the goal of handing out at least one card every day to someone you don’t know or haven’t met before. Possible opportunities are:
- Someone you just met
- Your waiter or waitress
- A supplier or specialty contractor
- The checkout person at the grocery store
- The person behind you in the checkout line
- An agent in the transportation industry
- An employee or customer at a vehicle dealership
- Someone you met while canvassing a neighborhood
- Your contact or a complete stranger at the courthouse, building permit or plans examiner
- Another parent on your child’s sports team
When you pay a bill by check, include a business card in the envelope. Include one in every thank you note. Business cards do no good sitting in a box in your office or behind the seat in your vehicle, so get them out into the hands of the buying public.
Penny for penny, dollar for dollar, pound for pound, business cards will provide you the highest rate of return on your advertising dollar. You won’t see results immediately, but over time you’ll see new business from those cards. Share your contact information and watch your business net worth grow.