You attend networking events and collect business cards! Have you ever REALLY looked at them? Which ones impress you? Which ones do you immediately throw in the garbage? Are there some that you save because they just look great?
I recently collected about 50 business cards at an event that I hosted and as I was looking at them, I was compelled to write this blog (in hopes that business owners would look at their own card with a critical eye). Your business card is one of your first marketing tools! Like you, it should leave a good first impression!
Here are some tips to consider when looking at your own business card:
- Dress for the Occasion: Ask yourself who is your business card for? Are you trying to appeal to an upscale client? Is your business card a reflection of what you want to stand for? Here's what I mean. Several years ago, I met a photographer at a networking event. She told me that she was specializing in high end weddings that took place in museums & other cultural locations. When I looked at her business card -- it wasn't congruent. Her business card showed a country fall scene with a couple in the distance; and, it was printed on inexpensive paper. It was obvious that her business card did not match (and wouldn't appeal to) her ideal client!
- Resist Clutter: I firmly believe in the KISS principle (keep it simple silly)! The less you can have on a business card, the better. The more 'white space' the better! Keep the information on the card to a minimum.
- Make it Memorable: You want your business card to be memorable -- IN A GOOD WAY. Can you stand out from the others in your field by making a slight change in the shape? in the colour? I recently met a young man whose business card was black & white and his 'picture' was a black silhouette (he was making a play on the fact that he was African American)! It was well done and very memorable.
- Essential Content: It's important to consider what you actually write on your business card. Your name should be the most prominent! Then of course, there's a company name. What contact information is often determined by your type of business. Do you really need your address? A fax number? But I would imagine that email, phone, tag line or your position would be relevant. Today, I often question whether your qualifications (letters after your name) are really pertinent.
- Not Your Father's Business Card: Your father didn't have social media and might have used faxes. Make sure that the information on your business card is relevant in todays market. One hint about email addresses -- please make sure that they are professional! Yahoo & hotmail addresses should NOT be used on your business card.
- Your Photo: How many times do you look at a business card and wonder -- what did that person look like? I highly recommend that you have a professional photo done and use this photo on your business card as well as your social media profiles. It was my best investment!! People recognize me at events even though we have not actually met face to face. Then my picture is on my business card again -- it reinforces me (my brand).
- Two-sides: Your business card is an inexpensive piece of marketing and it has 2 sides. Why not use the back for a CTA (call to action). Direct your prospects to your website to opt-into your mailing list; or to your website to apply for a FREE business discovery session; or to make an appointment.
- Printing: I remember my business coach telling me to print as 'few' business cards as possible when I was just starting out! I laughed -- why not print 500 and save some money? The truth is that I didn't listen and printed 500; then I threw out 300!!! When you are starting out -- have something to hand out to prospects but be conscious that you may want to CHANGE your tagline, or you may want to add a logo later. Business cards are easy to change and update! Print a few good quality ones and then get out there and network!!
By the way - in my ToolBox, I list 17 Networking Essentials and one of them is to always carry business cards with you -- you can't imagine how many times, I've run into people at events and they DON'T have any cards with them.
A BUSINESS CARD TO AN ENTREPRENEUR IS LIKE A PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES TO A RUNNER!
PLEASE look at your business card and see if you could improve it. Let's hope your card isn't memorable for the wrong reason!