Leverage Your Smallest Billboard

With your business card, you have an opportunity to hook yourself into the minds of people you meet while networking.  Sure it’s a lot smaller than a roadside sign, but it can be as effective as a catchy billboard nonetheless.

Business Cards

(Image courtesy of mrsiraphol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

For its size and cost, the business card is probably the most powerful marketing tool you own.  Take one of your cards out right now and look at it.  Does your current card accurately reflect your business’ personality–and your own?  What kind of first impression does it make?  Is it memorable?  If  not, it will probably get tossed into a drawer full of ancient, bent, forgotten cards or dropped into the nearest circular file.

Of course, you can’t expect your business card to do all the heavy lifting by itself.  It can’ t tell the whole story about your company.  It’s not a brochure or a catalog.  It has limited space, so you have to choose your words and images carefully.  Nevertheless, your card should present a professional image that people will remember.  A business card can make or break a client’s first impression of your company.  In fact, this little billboard makes as much of an impression as your personal appearance.

Choose a card style that’s appropriate for your business, industry, and personal style.  If you’re a funeral director, you don’t want to be caught handing out Day-Glo cards with cartoon figures on them.  If you’re a mechanic whose specialty is converting old VW Beetles into dune buggies, a formal, black-on-white engraved card will probably be thrown out.  Start with the style that best supports the business image you wish to project.  Regardless of the style you choose, make sure the impact remains consistent.

Here are five different card styles for you to consider:

  • Basic Cards–This is a good card style when utility is all you need.  It’s a no-nonsense approach that can appeal to clients and prospects who would not be impressed by fancy design features.  The design is simple and the information is clear and concise.  A basic card is usually printed in black ink on plain white or cream stock.
  • Picture Cards–Having your face on a card–whether it’s a photograph, a drawing, or a caricature–helps a contact remember you.  Images representing a product, service, or benefit your business provides, can help you communicate your business better than dozens of words.
  • Tactile Cards–Some cards are distinguished not so much by how they look as by how they feel.  They may use nonstandard materials, such as metal or wood, or have unusual shapes, edges, folds, or embossing.  Tactile cards tend to be considerably more expensive but, for some businesses, this unusual card may be worth the investment.
  • Multipurpose Cards–A card can do more than promote your name and business–it can also serve as a discount coupon, an appointment reminder, or some other function.  It may also provide valuable information that the average person might need.  For example, a hotel may include a map on the back of its card for any guests who are walking around the vicinity.
  • Outside-the-Box Cards–A wildly original, fanciful, or extravagant presentation can draw extra attention.  Creativity knows no bounds–except the amount of money you wish to spend.  Some examples are cards made of chocolate, cards fashioned into a deck of playing cards, or cards that fold out into a miniature box that holds small items.

In closing, I have one last, very important task for you.  Look closely at your business card again and after ensuring that it truly and positively represents you and your business, check for the essentials–your name, title, company name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and website.  If someone wants to contact you after receiving your card, you sure as heck want them to be able to reach you.

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5 thoughts on “Leverage Your Smallest Billboard

  1. Excellent tips. Need opinion on this major :-

    I am new to BNI, still learning. My category is Marketing Consultant. But I want to pitch one of my products , that is a web magazine which is at the TOP position on Google & gets 1000s of visitors daily. I am offering a listings opportunity to the suppliers concerned in this niche.

    But my major category is Marketing , rather an Online Marketing Consultant.

    Now what would you suggest me to make my card as ….. I mean , should it say “Marketing Consultant” or should talk about the opportunity I sell …?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Soumitra, the devil is always in the details. I’d recommend you talk to your local BNI Director with the details and get his or her opinion. The kinds of issues to consider include:

      1. How close are the services?
      2. Is service in question part of your overall business services or is it a completely different business?
      3. Does this category compete with other categories in the group?

      These are only a few questions that you need to consider when you talk to your local BNI person.

      Hope that helps.

      Ivan

  2. It is so true about business cards that Dr.Misner spoke on ,well made business cards with the Appropriate style and class print do repersent your business well, dealing with print and color,” it must idenifty with your style of business in a way that people will remember you.I design my cards to match my business which is jewelry it’s design in a beautiful glossy card with a picture of a ring,double fold,everyone I meet comment on my cards and it has the right information on them for the client to understand my work,it also stand up on meeting tables,it’s not lying down. cards that lay flat on a table I call that lying down on the job,my cards are working for me they must stand up and stand out,”My cards repersent the jewelry and the Jewelry repersent the cards AFTER ALL IT’S A TOOL WORKING FOR ME” John Caldyne,President (Varzelli Royal Jewels u.s.a.)

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