Have you looked at your business card lately? Reach into your pocket and pull one out right now. Don’t have one? Unless you’re wearing your bathrobe (or nothing at all!) you’re off to a bad start. You should always have a supply of business cards with you.
Now take a good look at it. Is the information correct? Have you or your company changed name? Are the address and phone numbers right? Does the card include your correct web site URL and email address?
You may also want to include your specializations, the area you serve, your hours or other information important to your customers. List any relevant certifications, awards and memberships on your card. They build credibility.
Are you active on social networking sites? List links to your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
If your company name doesn’t immediately make it obvious what you do, make sure your card does. Use a slogan or tag line.
Is your card professional? What that means depends on your market, but at a minimum: No typos or misspelled words, a nice layout with plenty of white space, attractive colors (or crisp black and white), and an easy to read typeface.
Photo business cards can be effective for those who provide personal services. A logo or color type will give the impression of quality.
Don’t forget the back. You can use that space to make your card more useful to customers–and therefore increase the chances they will keep it and refer to it. You may want to print a coupon or a map with directions to your location.
Print customer testimonials on the back of your card. Sayings, quotations, or jokes printed on your cards may cause them to be shared and saved. Tips or resources can make your card especially important. Is there a list of web sites that would be of interest to your customers?
Create a survey or response card, and promise a free gift (such as a product sample) when they respond. Of course, you will also send them another card!
Print a form to encourage people to pass your card along as a referral. It might include a pre-printed message and a place for the referrer to sign his name.
Many business card printers can print Rolodex(tm) cards. Consider using them instead of (or in addition to) standard business cards.
Magnetic business cards help customers keep your cards handy. Should your card be on customers’ refrigerators? Magnets make it easy.
If most of your contacts are online, consider getting an electronic card.
There are also business cards available on mini-CDs. They will hold more than 30MB of data, including your catalog, sound and video files and more. CD business cards can be effective if you need to get a lot of data into the hands of your customers (and they are likely to actually put the card into the computer to view it).
Business cards are inexpensive. Make yours represent you well, and use them often.