I was recently going through a bunch of business cards putting information from those people that I wanted to contact in the future into my CRM. I noticed several things right off the bat that made some cards very useful and some not useful at all. I also noticed that I gravitated to some cards and rejected others based solely on the card itself. So, I thought it would be interesting to summarize the things that impacted my decision. Following are dos and don’ts that you should consider when printing your business cards.
How to Build Your Professional Business Card
Your Personal Brand: Do you remember the movie “American Psycho” where the Wall Street investment bankers spent hours critiquing every last detail of their business cards? They knew the power of personal branding. Your stationery, starting with your business card, is the foundation of your personal brand statement. Here are the key elements you want to consider.
Custom Logo: Without question, you should invest in a custom logo that shouts your particular niche or UVP (Unique Value Proposition). Your logo should be used everywhere so that your clients come to recognize it and associate it with your personal brand identity. Logos are much easier to have developed by using crowd-sourcing sites such as 99Designs.com, CrowdSpring.com and many others. Just Google “Crowd Source Logo Development” and you will find hundreds of companies that specialize in producing logos. Be sure that your logo speaks to your specific value proposition to establish a strong personal brand. Also, while your logo will share your value proposition, don’t make the card all about your logo. Subtle is better than loud.
Your Logo Tagline: Your logo tagline should clarify your UVP in a way that it motivates potential clients precisely what you do and how they will benefit from booking their travel with you.
Quality Paper: Has someone ever handed you their business card and it was printed on flimsy paper? It gives one the impression that the organization that is distributing the business card is too cheap to afford quality paper to print their business cards on. Everything else being equal, the business card printed on the nicest paper consistent with the logo and message will win every time. The weight of the card stock and the texture are very important and send a strong subliminal statement to the person receiving the card.
Professional Fonts: Have you ever tried to read a business card that has used unintelligible fonts? Stick with the tried and true, easy to read fonts for your business card. Do not us type small than 10 pts and always use font built to be read at that size. If your target market is seniors, use the largest font that will work on your card. Don’t make seniors get out their magnifying glass to try to read your card, they will toss it in the trash first. The function of your business card is to enable folks to contact you, not to be a designer’s idea of what your card should look like.
Use Appropriate Inks: Sure that red ink looks great on that green background, but did you know that 8% of all potential male clients that are color blind cannot see it? Avoid using reds, pinks, beiges, light greens and derivative colors, especially if they are being printed over a picture or similar background. Use colors that are highly contrasting and use lots of white background on cards that have a substantial amount of text. Raised inks are excellent if you sell luxury travel, as are contrasting colors, such as a dark brown text on a very light beige background.
Consider Using Multi-Fold or Die Cut Business Cards: To really set your unique value proposition apart from everyone else’s, consider using a two-fold or three-fold business card. We use a three-fold card that is our mini brochure for the books that we write. This gives us 6-panels to advertise on and once it is folded, it is the same size as a normal business card. We get book orders from the cards all the time. If your niche can be defined visually, consider using a die cut business card that should your niche. As an example, if you specialize in selling Regent 7 Seas luxury cruises, why not use a two-fold card with a die cut picture of the 7-Seas Voyager on the top panel? This will make crystal clear what your specialty is.
How to Use Your New Business Card
Business Cards are Not “Junk Mail”: It always amazes me when I hear seminar leaders suggest that the best way to get business is to hand out your business card to everyone you see. One supposed marketing guru advises to “put stacks of them in restrooms in buildings where affluent people work.” How do you respond to the endless onslaught of junk mail that arrives in your mail every day? If you want to reach thousands of people with your contact information, buy an advertisement. Indiscriminately handing out your business card will only cost you money and will do very little to advance your marketing effort.
Use Your Business Cards to Quality Potential New Clients: The time to exchange business cards is after you have had a conversation with a potential new client and decided that they are worth a follow up contact and inclusion in your CRM efforts. If you have had a conversation with a potential client and determined that they are not a viable prospect, do not present your business card even if asked for it. Explain that you are contacting potential new clients and that while you thoroughly enjoyed your conversation with them, they do not seem to fit the profile of folks that you are looking for and they may not wish to be engaged in your outreach program.
Only Hand Out Your Business Card When Asked: Once you have determined a potential new client is consistent with your client profile, ask for their business card and / or contact information and if it is alright if you contact them in the future. Be sure to write down a couple of keywords that define your interest in them. If the potential client then asks for your business card, present it to them after you write down a couple of keywords that will remind the client about your conversation with them. Once you return to your office, you should enter the client’s information into your CRM program and include them in your ongoing outreach program.
As you can see, business cards should be an integral part of your marketing program. They should shout your value proposition and personal brand and they should be used to cultivate new potential clients. Think of the result that you want from your advertising material before you simply follow everyone else.