But you may not know that business cards have been around for hundreds of years, and they’ve always been important. Business cards were originally used by the most prosperous and the aristocratic in society to announce that they would be coming to town soon, were exchanged during introductions and were left at the homes of peers and friends to note that one had stopped by.
It’s amazing, if you think about it, that we still use business cards in what is – essentially – the same way. We use them to introduce ourselves, we send them with collateral, we leave them at other businesses, we hand them out at events and parties.
Business cards might actually be the most often-used tool in your marketing arsenal; yet it’s often given little attention in terms of design. Worse, many times people hand out business cards that contain obsolete or outdated information, crossing out and writing in new data. This sends all kinds of negative messages; that you're careless, that you don't care how you present yourself, that you're not proud of your business, that you're not successful enough to be able to afford to replenish them (and who wants to work with someone who is unsuccessful at what they do?)
Since it’s the job of your business card to introduce you to others and remind people of your existence, your business cards need to be memorable, need to reflect your brand and the personality of your business, must look professional and be kept up to date.
Once you’ve got this tool ready to work, here are 6 ways to use your business card to make money:
- Don’t leave home without them. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but how many times have you been at a party, a store, somewhere and in the middle of a conversation with someone, you have an opportunity to give them your contact information but find yourself without a card? If it was good enough for the rich and famous for hundreds of years, it’s good enough for you, too! Give away your business cards to people to whom you are introduced or meet at networking and social events. Introduce yourself to the managers or owners of businesses you visit on a regular basis and leave two copies of your card with them (one to give away).
- Include 2 business cards (one to give away) in each Thank-You Note you send. Which of course implies that you are, in fact, thanking your customers. All of your customers. Your most important clients. Your most loyal patrons. (Come on, you can thank at least one person each day, can’t you?)
- Send your business cards to large employers or organizations in your area for placement in common areas, like break rooms. Create a special offer and have it printed on your cards. Send or (better yet) hand-deliver a gift basket with samples from your business or with treats and your catalog or brochure to the receptionist, human resources department, etc; introduce yourself, note the special offer you’re extending and ask that your cards be placed in lobbies, break, lunch or other common areas. Provide digital ad copy that can be featured in their newsletters or on their employee/member websites.
- Place your business cards strategically throughout your building on displays. Draw attention to special offers, departmental features, awards or charity involvement, etc.
- Include business cards with products, services or gift certificates that you donate to non-profit fundraising drives, auctions, etc. When you donate, ask that your business cards be placed near your auction basket or featured in printed or online collateral.
- Create a digital version of your business card that can be downloaded from your website, blog or email newsletter and easily shared with others. Put information about your new customer offers or referral rewards on your digital business card.
- Bonus #7: Give them out with Halloween Treats this weekend or Monday evening from your business or even from your home.
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