Do you consider your business card a marketing tool, or just a basic business necessity? If your answer is “a basic business necessity" you're missing out on an inexpensive, often overlooked, valuable marketing tool.
I think many small business owners miss the boat when it comes to their business card. I'm looking at a variety of cards right now that I've received over the past few months.
Most of them are missing at least one key element that could be helping them attract more clients and prospects.
Most business cards include the basic contact information, but that's where they stop.
Your business card is a marketing opportunity. Every time you hand one out, it's a chance to communicate something about your business. It's a chance to help establish your brand identity.
And, it's a chance to attract prospects and clients to your business.
But only if you include the proper information.
Following is my list of 10 things every business card should include, along with a few basic tips on creating a business card that works hard for your business. While some of it seems pretty basic, you'd be surprised what I see on some business cards!
Use it as a checklist to evaluate your business card to see how it measures up.
1. Your Name
Obvious I know, but please make it easy to find and read. No mouse-type and don't bury it among other information.
2. Your Title
You'd be surprised how many people leave this off. I recently received the business cards from two gentlemen who work for a major public relations firm. One is the founder and president, the other an assistant. Neither of their cards feature job titles. If time goes by and I forget who they are, or if I pass along their cards or contact info to someone else, they might not have any idea one of them is the owner of the company.
Too bad. It doesn't cost any more to print a title on the card.
3. Your Business Name
Most people get this one right. If, however, you don't have a business name, and you're operating as “Mary Smith, Accountant" you need to get one. Even if you're operating as a sole proprietor, a business name tells your prospects you're serious, that this is a business and not a hobby.
For tips on naming your business, you can read my article “Naming Your Business: 3 Tips to Ensure Success" at http://www.10stepmarketing.com/bizname.htm
4. Your Mailing Address
Make it easy for people to contact you. Five of the 20 business cards I just pulled out of my files do NOT include a mailing address. If you work out of your home and don't want to publish your home address, get a P. O. Box or Postal Mail Box.
This again will help establish yours as a bona fide business and not just a hobby.
5. Your Email Address
Most people are pretty good about including his, but many are still using personal email addresses instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org". Be professional and obtain and use an email address that features your web site domain name. It says you're a professional AND it reinforces your brand/business name.
I wrote an entire article about the importance of this; you can read it at http://www.10stepmarketing.com/free_easy.htm
6. Your Phone Number and Fax Number (if you have one)
You may also include your cell phone number if you choose to. Whatever phone numbers you include, make sure they are clearly marked. How many times have you picked up a card and dialed a fax number by mistake only to receive that lovely screeching sound in your ear!?!
Make sure the font size is readable. You want to make it easy for prospects and clients to call you.
7. Your Logo Mark
This is one of the items I often see missing from small business owners’ cards. Probably because they don't have a logo mark. A logo mark is your opportunity to begin establishing your brand. It sets the tone and personality for your business. In my opinion, it is a business must-have.
If you think you're not big enough or can't afford a logo, think again. If you want to be taken seriously as a business you need one. You can learn why in my article on the importance of logos; you can read it at http://www.10stepmarketing.com/greatlogo.htm
8. Your Tagline
This is another one I scarcely see. What is a tagline? It is a short statement that sums up the solution you provide, or the key message or unique selling proposition for your business. When combined with your business name and logo, it communicates a lot about your business.
It's a huge missed opportunity when you leave it off your business card. This is another topic I've already devoted an entire article to, and you can read it at http://www.10stepmarketing.com/taglines.htm
9. Your Web Site Address
The most common reason for leaving this off a business card is not having a web site. I believe ALL businesses should have a web site. It gives your prospects and clients the opportunity to easily learn more about your business and the products or services you provide, if they're not yet ready to contact you directly.
It's not difficult or expensive to get a web site. Another topic I've written an entire article about, and you can read it http://www.10stepmarketing.com/QAwebsite.htm
10. A Call-to-Action
This is one that most people do NOT include, but one that can provide a huge opportunity. If you look at your business card as a promotional tool, why not include a call-to-action, such as “Visit our website at www.ourwebsite.com to get your Free Report, 10 Low-Cost Ways to Market Your Business. "
Use it as a way to drive traffic to your web site and generate new leads or prospects. It costs next to nothing and can make a huge impact, especially if you hand out a lot of cards.
This is something that can easily be printed on the back side of your card and two-sided cards don't cost much more than one-sided cards to print.
Here are the call-to-action messages you'll find on two of my business cards:
On my 10stepmarketing Card:
"Listen to ‘The Secrets to Successful Marketing’ FREE Audio Class or Subscribe to the FREE 10stepmarketing Ezine to receive weekly marketing how-to articles tips and advice at www.10stepmarketing.com"
On my Twin Connections Card: “If you are a twin, or you know a twin, who would like to share the story of their unique and mysterious bond, please visit www.twinconnections.com"
It only cost me a few dollars more to print both sides of my cards and it allows me to make the cards work that much harder for my businesses.
Take a look at your business cards. Do they feature all 10 of these items? If not, you're probably missing out on a great, low-cost marketing opportunity.
And, if you'd like some help naming your business, developing a logo or tagline, creating a web site easily and inexpensively, or coming up with a call-to-action, The 10stepmarketing System is a great resource. It covers all of this and much more, in 10 simple steps that are easy to follow and implement yourself.
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa
Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at http://www.10stepmarketing.com