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Business Cards Matter

full color business cardsLet’s face it, we ALL know that sometimes (too often!) you give someone one of your business cards, and it’s never seen again … it’s lost somewhere in the back of a drawer or the bottom of a purse. Maybe it went immediately into the trash.

When you’re doing business, most prospective clients are in the “What’s in it for me?” frame of mind. Unless they need your business or service right away, or your offer was so compelling that all other competitors are no longer being considered, your contact information (your card) may be seen as just another useless scrap of paper.

Why not make your card something USEFUL? Something people will KEEP?

Contact an advertising specialty company and ask about business card magnets and business card letter openers, for starters. Those two gifts are used or seen almost daily, and they’re a TERRIFIC “add-on” to business card marketing (especially if your business is based on impulse or an emergency.)

Next time you want to design a card, talk to your printer about using extra-thick paper. That extra thickness will DEFINITELY be noticed by the recipient. If he or she asks you about it, just smile and explain “We hope to be doing business with you a very long time, so we figured you’d appreciate a really durable card!”

Getting people to notice your business card isn’t a matter of luck, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of money, either. If you’re tired of people cramming your card into their wallets without even giving it a second glance, then try something different! A business card is too versatile to waste.

  • 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!)
  • Present your card with both hands to create 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.
  • 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.)
  • When you come across the card of a business person you’d like to meet, save the info on the card for your files. Send the original card back to the owner with a note on the back, such as “We need to talk!”
  • When you carry a lot of cards, or want a disposable card holder, use a plastic audiocassette case. Break off the inner tabs, and you have a new display case!
  • ANYTHING you do to personalize your card makes it more memorable, so write a brief message on it before handing it to someone: your name, “Best wishes!” or “Thanks!” all work well.
  • If you overhear a conversation relating to your field of expertise, don’t be shy about butting in and handing the speakers your card. “Excuse me … I couldn’t help but overhear your discussion about dog grooming. I do mobile pet grooming and would be glad to answer any questions.

Here are a few tips and strategies to consider when deciding WHAT to put on your business card, and HOW to do so.

  • Put a recent photo of yourself on your card if you’re in a *relationship* business (such as a realtor, attorney, or counselor). It will help your prospect relate to you as a person. Also, cards with photos are LESS likely to be thrown away, and MORE likely to be placed on top of any pile of cards! * Also consider using a photo if you conduct business in other countries, since your gender may not be obvious from your (unfamiliar) first name.
  • Perhaps a photo of your product or service is more appropriate than a picture of your smiling face. If so, put it on your card!
  • Highlight your telephone number (or primary contact number) if possible, by putting it in bold text or in a larger size than other numbers. It’s most easily read if it is located in the lower right-hand corner of the card.
  • List the name you prefer to be called (e.g. Ed or Edward). Add your middle name (or a photo) if your first name is unisex, such as Pat or Chris. Official designations such as M.D. should go after your name.
  • Unless your industry is very formal and title-conscious, you might want to consider leaving it off completely. If someone asks, simply respond “I’m the person responsible for assuring your satisfaction with our company.”
  • Print two sets of cards with differing titles — one general (Attorney at Law) and one specific (Personal Injury Specialist). Distribute cards to match the situation and personality of the recipient.
  • A humorous title can make your CARD stand out and make YOU seem more approachable. How about “The Boss,” “Computer Guru,” or “People Pleaser”? Dave Thomas, the CEO of Wendy’s restaurants, has used cards with the title “Wendy’s Dad.”
  • If you have a toll-free number, be sure to put it on your card, and label it as such. Some people may not recognize the toll-free prefix. * Avoid abbreviations if you can. They “cheapen” your card.
  • Protect yourself by placing the trademark or service mark symbol (a small “tm” or “sm”) next to the company name on your business cards. You can use the symbol even if you have not federally registered the mark.
  • A personal card, containing just your name and contact information, is very useful for new endeavors or when networking outside your industry. It’s also a GREAT gift for the college graduate!
  • If possible, add to the value of your card by printing on BOTH sides. Include useful business or community information, or information related to your industry. Successful ideas include: a metric conversion chart, a table of weights and measures, emergency phone numbers, a mortgage amortization schedule, or tips on using your company’s best-selling product.

Best success in your business; may I help in creating it?

Diana Ratliff, the Business Card Expert
STOP WASTING your most versatile marketing tool!
Order “Get More BU$INE$$ From Your BUSINESS CARDS!”, a tips booklet jam-packed with 143 proven tips on designing and using business cards effectively. Great promotional gift! For details, send blank email to < or visit my website at <

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