This is a guest post from Kes Phelps from printed.com
Printing and distributing a business card does not necessarily translate into sales. To see a return on your investment you need both to target the right audience and get them to notice you.
Once only the preserve of wealthy city types, business cards are now a ubiquitous medium for sharing your contact details. A quick trawl of digital print companies will turn up any number of options for your cards. Once you’ve had them printed, though, you still have to get them noticed by the right people – and every little advantage helps.
1. Up the quality
There are a lot of business cards in circulation, and most of them are pretty low quality – drab little dirty-white rectangles of card that look cheap because that’s what they are. Even though they seem to save money, the problem is that they make your business look cheap too. Business cards are a significant part of your marketing and branding, and you don’t want to look shoddy. Go for something a cut above the rest – heavier card (aim for 400 gsm or more), a good finish to make them more durable, and make sure the design is strong.
2. Be creative
If you really want to get noticed, go for something a bit more creative. There are lots of examples of really innovative and imaginative cards out there – search the web for some ideas if you need to. Your card doesn’t have to be a white rectangle, no matter how high the quality. There is endless variation of colour, shape and even function – cards which double up as useful reminders of one kind or another. They cost a little more, but they’re far less likely to be thrown away. One proviso is that you should make sure the design is still linked in some way to your business or distinctive approach – otherwise it looks like you’re just being different for the sake of it and it can come across as a gimmick.
3. Be useful
A variant on this theme is to turn your card into a useful object of one kind or another. How many times have you seen beer mats or coffee coasters with an advert of some sort on them? Again, these work better if there’s some kind of inherent link with your business. The point is that these should be things that people will hold onto because of their intrinsic usefulness as well as for the contact details you put on them.
4. Get out there
There is no substitute for getting out and meeting people, or developing strong word-of-mouth leads. These are far more reliable ways of attracting customers than giving cards out more-or-less randomly. If you can establish a relationship with someone, even if it’s just for a few minutes, they are far more likely to remember you and to use your services in the future because you’ve taken the time to speak to them – rather than reducing them to nothing more than a potential customer by handing them a card and moving on. Similarly, leaving a few cards with happy customers to pass on to others who need your services is a great way to expand your reach.
5. Reciprocal arrangements
You can join forces with someone who works in a related area without directly competing with them. For example, if someone needs a builder, there’s a good chance they might need a painter too. If someone needs a painter, perhaps they also need a designer, or landscape gardener. If you develop relationships with professionals in distinct but related fields, you should be able to gain some really solid leads by swapping cards with them on the understanding that you can both benefit from the arrangement. Make sure it’s someone whose work you respect, because you are making a personal recommendation which will also reflect on you. Once again, word of mouth is a powerful force and one professional’s recommendation about another counts for a lot.