Why do business cards still matter? Business cards still matter because our memory sucks. How many times have you met someone, spent most of the conversation thinking of what to say so you don’t sound stupid, then promptly forget their name when it’s all over?
Your Business Card is your silent salesperson, that tangible but subtle element that conveys a lot about you and your organization. It is one of the most powerful yet ignored weapons; usually, we treat it as a cost element and try to squeeze on quality so as to remain cost-effective.
But let us think a bit different here, you meet a prospective client and the first thing you do is hand them over your business card, it is the first moment of truth, the very first opportunity to influence your prospect. Now, will you like to hand over a sleazy, cost-effective, shabby card? Imagine the first impression you have given, it may not be the last but sure will be a lasting one. Thus why not put a little more thought and a bit more investment in your business card, as it ensures great returns.
Something as humble as a business card can be the key to huge business if you handle it optimally. Follow these tips and see how business manifests.
Here are some interesting ways to make the most of your silent salesman, your business card:
Be Bold with Colors: Most of the times we in an attempt to maintain that sordid corporate image fret using colours, but we forget a bold usage of colours can ensure more retention. If you have a signature colour, you might choose some vibrant accents. You can actually do a lot with just colour. If your logo is plain black or white, or even a shade of grey, you can use any colour combination with it. Experiment with colours.
Experiment with Printing: In India, the only kind of printing we stick to especially for business cards is either offset, screen printing or at the most digital printing and this too we rely on our next door Xerox guy, not a safe bet. There are numerous printing techniques that can give a whole new dimension to your card here are some:
Go Textured! The paper quality can have a huge impact on how a business card looks and how it is perceived. You could use really thick, heavy card stock with a high gloss finish. A different approach would be to select a rich coloured paper or paper with a linen texture. There are so many different types of paper out there.
Exclusive and Unique materials You don’t have to stick to just paper. Unique materials are where your business cards can really stand out. This is a chance to get very creative because the only limits are your imagination. You can use anything for materials that you can print on. Keep in mind that this option may be pricey, but if you have a little extra in your budget, this is a good place to spend it.
Try new shapes – Shun the same old rectangle, you can do so much with just choosing a different shape. Some people use rounded corners on their business cards. Choose an odd shape, this will help your card stand out.
Add an angle of utility – This is a huge one. If you can find some way to conceptually tie your business in with a concept of your unique business card, you will permanently stick out in the mind of business owners. For instance, a bottle opener built into a business card would be a great marketing tool for a brewery or a bottling company.
A touch of wisdom – Share a fact, a philosophy, an interesting app using QR code, or just about a witty joke, play with content and make your card interesting, this will ensure that people don’t lose your card but retain it.
Keep it simple – While doing all this keep one rule of thumb in mind to keep it simple, don’t jazz it so much that your companies image is lost. Don’t try too many things on one card, go with a blend of 2 or max 3 things and you are sorted.
It’s about face value – Add a nice smiling picture of yours, it generates a positive vibe and trust, also ensures that people remember you and your business card. As it is found that people generally remember faces a lot quicker than they remember names.
Optimize the space – Print on both sides of the cards, when you have the space available why not make the most of it. One likes to be surprised by the goodies printed on the backside of the business card. You can even make the back magnetic for extra “stickiness.” You are limited only by your creativity. That surprise on the back of your card just might be the thing that keeps your card from entering the trash bin, or worse: oblivion.
Tech it up – Add a touch of technology to your cards, how about using QR code? You can do a lot by imprinting a Quick response code, like link it to your webpage, facebook page, an ebook or a coupon! This makes your card worth storing.
Make them your buddy forever – They are portable, small and easy to carry and in a world full of opportunities you never know who you might run into. Maybe the big companies CEO you were trying to chase befriends you on a vacation, and you don’t have your business card! Ouch! Don’t let that happen to you never leave home without them.
Use Complimentary Colours Choose colours that are aesthetically pleasing. A mish-mash of bright and bold colours may make your card stand out in a stack of 50, but it could be for the wrong reasons. It’s also worthwhile to think beyond your business cards: try to keep your colour scheme consistent throughout your media (website, twitter, email signature) to develop a professional image of yourself.
Ensure your text is readable – Make sure your text is at least 8 pt, in a clear readable font and in bold colour. Anything smaller than 8 pt may look fine on your monitor but may be printed as a fuzzy, smudged-out line. You don’t want your client to inspect your card with a magnifying glass, and strain their eyes.
Back it all up with a system – Yes! a heap of cards indicates you have networked well, but what now? Will you let them stay like that for eternity? The key here is to create and maintain a follow-up system, buy yourself a contact keeper and carry it wherever you go. Insert the cards you have collected in it and put sticky notes in them. This will help you with reminders. In fact, you can also make use of technology, you get free apps called Card readers or visiting card holders, download them on your smartphone, scan each card you have and they become your phone contacts and also your virtual card keeper. You can schedule appointments, keep reminders card wise.