Why a business card should matter to you

marketing agency chantillyI am about to redo my business card. It seems like a simple process but it isn’t. How much information could one person put on a business card? Name, company, phone number, email, fax etc. Sounds simple right? Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness. If done correctly, you will be able to make a great first impression and potentially create a viral marketing piece.

The first impression!
If I meet you for the first time, chances are, I will forget your name and whom you work for within a short time frame. The one thing I will most likely keep will be your business card. When you hand me your business card, it tells me not only who you are and what you do but it also tells me whether or not you are worthy of my business. For example, I will look at your logo and see if your company cares about its image. If your logo looks like it was made by using Microsoft Word, you will lose credibility with me. If the card stock on your business card is flimsy or has smudges on it, I will remove you from my Christmas card list. If your business card doesn’t tell me what your company does or how you will improve my business, I will most likely file it in my circular filing drawer under my desk. First impressions count, your business card says more than whom you are and what you do.

Forget the kitchen sink, keep it simple.
Now that I told you what I don’t like about business cards, let me tell you what I do like. I like business cards that state who you are, your title, your company name, how I can get a hold of you, your website address and what your company does.  It’s that simple. Don’t tell me you were voted small business of the year in 2001,  Don’t tell me your company “puts the customer first” or your tagline uses the words “Quality, Customer Service, Best of Breed, etc”. Everyone says their company puts their customer first, what sets them apart is customer service, quality is their core competency…Blah, Blah, Blah…yawn…boring. Tell me what you do, and more importantly tell me what you can do for me (as a potential customer).  Remember, I will forget all about you shortly after I meet you. But if I hold onto your business card,  I am giving you chance to make another impression on me, maybe at a time in which I will need your services. If your business card doesn’t state who you are and what you do, how does it stand a chance at winning my business? For instance, if you are a Plummer, tell me that. Tell me what sets you apart from the rest of your competition. If you offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of your work, then tell me that. If you have a website, then give it to me.  If you are certified, bonded, on the GSA schedule,  or any other important decision-making criteria, put it on your business card.  A simple rule of thumb, if you have anything you consider as a competitive advantage then put it on your business card. It all makes sense but why is it that very few companies actually have good content on their business card?

Your backside!
Don’t be afraid to use the backside of your business card. Use it to unclutter your front. Use the backside to tell me something about your company or your competitive advantage, value proposition, relevant industry awards and other information that may sway my decision to contact you. Use the backside to list your services or products. I may know your core service is plumbing but maybe I didn’t know you also seal basements or do custom carpentry. Make it easy for people to know what you do.

Design or not to design?
Lets be honest here, if your business card leaves a lasting impression on me, I may keep it for future use or even show it to a friend who may need your services.  People hold on to good business cards. You could be a one-person company but your business card says you are a 50-person company because the design is crisp, creative, and aesthetically pleasing. Don’t get me wrong, I like simple business cards too. You don’t need a 10-color business card to illustrate that you are creative. Just devote some time to your business card. It will pay off in people remembering you and more importantly, your company. Your business card design should reflect the personality of your company. You should have fun with your business card design.  Your company is different right? So make your business card different.

Dress to impress!
When you go to a business meeting, you try and look your best right? You wouldn’t wear your college sweatshirt and your 20 yr old pair of Sebago’s to the meeting. Sure you would be more comfortable in those clothes but you are worried about leaving a bad impression so you dress to impress. So why show up with a business card that could lessen my opinion of you? A great business card could help you close the deal, a bad business card could make the customer want to get another quote. Leave your Sebago’s and your flimsy business card with the Times New Roman font and pizza stains at home where they belong.