We might be living in the digital age, but business cards are still a must-have as far as small business marketing materials go. Find out why you need them, what they should include, and how you can use them to promote your products, services, and brand.
Why You Still Need Business Cards
Don’t go anywhere without business cards! They might just be the most efficient, cost-effective piece of collateral in your arsenal—a billboard, an invitation, a brand impression, a proposition, a tangible reminder of your business—all on a 2 x 3.5” piece of paper.
They have the unique ability to pack the most critical information about your business and even some of the “feel” of your brand onto a small piece of paper that is generally kept long after other forms of collateral are filed or thrown away. Most importantly, business cards can give people both a reason and the means to seek you out, visit your website or come to your physical location.
Make the most of this universally-recognized piece of collateral; keep them with you at all times, in a hard case so that they stay clean and crisp, and give them out like you would candy on Halloween!
What Should Be On Your Business Cards
Business cards (like all marketing collateral) should reflect the brand of your business in some way. Invest in a professional, custom design that relates to the feel and personality of your business.
The business card is universally recognized and used; think of it as—and design it to be—the best 2 x 3.5 inch billboard you could ever have! It should look professionally designed, not feel dated, be memorable or striking and (this is so important!) contain accurate and up to date information—no crossed out phone numbers or hours, please!
What should always be on your business card:
Your name and your business name
Phone number best to call to reach customer service, get directions, for days or hours of operation, to ask another question or make an appointment
Alternate or special-purpose phone number or message line
Facebook, Twitter, blog site and other social media page identifiers
Need help with design? Hire a freelance business designer on Fiverr to create a custom, professional-looking design that will get your business cards (and brand) noticed.
How to Use Your Business Cards to Promote Your Brand and Grow Your Business
Business cards can’t do their job sitting in a drawer or even on the counter. Make it your goal to give them away as fast as possible instead of hoarding them so you do not have to reorder.
While this will sound obvious, it’s true; the more places to which your business cards travel, the more people will know about you. And the easier and more rewarding it is for someone to contact you, the more likely they are to do so.
Give them away 2 at a time—one to keep, one to give to a friend, co-worker, etc.
Person to person
In thank-you notes
In gift baskets
With gift cards or certificates
At the point of purchase
In merchandising displays
As bag stuffers
When paying the bill at your favorite restaurant, bar, wine shop, coffee shop, deli, salon, spa, dry cleaners, boutique, etc.
Exchanged for display with businesses located near yours, those owned by friends or family, and in businesses with services that compliment yours or with whom you share target markets
Given out with treats at Halloween, or with samples, gifts or goodies at events, during the Holidays, etc.
Handed out at city events, street fairs and holiday parades
Included in payments to local vendors (like your plumber, auto repair shop, housekeeping services, equipment rental, window cleaner, city services, etc.)
On bulletin boards still found in many supermarkets
And send them in bulk along with copies of your menu or catalog or with a specially-created offer tailored specifically for patrons and/or employees of local retirement living centers, local sports clubs or recreation centers, civic clubs, local churches, large employers, private or public schools, hotels/motels, hospitals, etc.
Ensure that your business cards will be kept by adding creative value to the card itself:
Calendar year, half year or quarter year at a glance (to be replaced at the beginning of the next year, half year or quarter year, etc.)
Weights and measures conversion chart, or a ruler
Tips and tricks or step-by-step instructions on a specific topic
Rewards / punch card
A bounce-back offer or a special “code” redeemable for an add-on, discount, etc.
Design cards to double as a bookmark
Put a quote, “fortune” or inspirational saying on it
Hand write a compliment or another personal sentiment on it, or write an alternative or personal phone number on it