Building A Better Business Card

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by Tom Watson on May 19, 2010

Let me start by rendering my opinion on many of the business cards I see day to day. Most are not worth the recycled paper they are printed on.

It’s sad to say but many people put next to no thought or creativity into the creation of their business cards. And by extension, next to no thought into every other facet of their business. This is why most businesses fail. Simply not enough thought went into the process.

To be successful you need to focus on the details.

A bad business card will not sink a good company. But a bad business card will make it harder to succeed for a new company that is trying to get it’s legs underneath it.

Why is that?

When you are new company you are going to need as much going for you as possible. You want to create a positive customer impression each step of the way. If you have a horrible looking business card making a positive impression is harder to achieve. This is because most times you greet a prospective customer you exchange business cards almost immediately. If yours looks like you had them designed with your eyes closed it makes for a negative impression.

This does not mean it will have the customer heading for the hills, but it is a poor impression nonetheless. To take this example a step further, what if perspective customer was given your card by a friend of yours. And let’s further assume that person has several other business cards that he has accumulated from other people.

Under this scenario all that individual had to determine whether or not to call your company was the business card your friend handed to them. Does it do you justice? Does it make a favorable impression? It should.

I am not trying to suggest that a well designed business card will have you driving a Ferrari in six months. All I’m saying is you need to make a favorable impression each step of the way in the customer buying process (which includes the initial customer contact on the phone, first face to face meeting, business card, proposal, follow-up and eventual service experience).

The customer is keeping score!

In general, the contractor who scores the highest wins the account. So you want to score points each step of the way. This score keeping starts when the client first calls you. Responding quickly and being professional over the phone scores you points. See where I’m going with this? Next comes the face to face meeting. You score high by being early and well dressed. Asking good questions scores you more points.

Now ask yourself “does your business card score you points?”

If the answer is “no”, or “I’m not sure” then you need to re-think the process. You need to remember that your business card is the only way many people will ever hear about you and your company. Your business card needs to viewed as a salesman. Working hard towards your success behind the scenes.

Most people do what everyone else does when designing their card. They look at what someone else did, then copy it to some degree. This results in a very basic, tired looking card. Many have no color added, it’s just black ink on a scrap of white paper. They include company name and phone number with a address.

This is the military equivalent of name, rank and serial number.

Let’s talk about some suggestions on how to avoid being like everyone else. First off you need to add color to your business card. Think of this for a moment. When you are going out with friends and your in a public place, let’s say a restaurant for instance. You scan the room of all the people in there. Who stands out? Is it the person in the dull grey shirt, with grey pants, grey shoes and grey socks? I don’t think so.

It is the person with the red shirt with black pants, neatly groomed, shiny shoes with a grand smile.

Do the same to your business card. Add color to help it stand out. Adding color to your business card is not expensive so you want to make use of color as much as possible.

Next up is your slogan or Unique Selling Point. Make sure you include this on your card. As I have mentioned in past articles on your USP, you want not only have a USP but you want to utilize as much as possible. This includes placing it on all your marketing materials, including your business card.

You also want to add your email address to your card. Many new business people skip this for some odd reason. Many people use email exclusively to contact others. These people basically stopped using the phone and just email all day. If you want their business you need to include your email address.

If you have a web site you want to have that address listed as well. This allows them to further investigate your company and gives you another chance to create a positive impression (and score more points).

You also want to list your services if you perform more than one. Some companies just perform nightly cleaning or maid services. They have no need to list everything they do because they only do one thing. But other companies may also offer construction clean-up, floor-care and carpet cleaning.

If you do offer other services make mention of them. If people don’t know you perform a service I guarantee you that they will never call you for it. You need to let them know what you offer.

How do I fit all this information on the front of my business card?

The answer is you make use of the back of your business card as well. Again this is not expensive and you are crazy to not make use of the other side of the card.It is a blank slate that you paid for so you might as well make use of it.

Some other suggestions for your business card include adding your guarantee. For many years I had my guarantee prominently displayed on the back of my card.

Another idea is to put special offers on the back of your business card. You could mention that you offer the first week free on all new accounts. To take this idea further you could have several varieties of cards made up that all have different offers on the back.

When you run into a potential carpet cleaning client give them the card with the carpet special on the back. When you stumble into someone who needs a one-time clean-up you could give them another card tailored to just that service.

To save money in the start-up phase I would recommend just designing one card. Add other varieties as your business grows. This will keep the cost down because in the beginning every dollar counts and needs to be well spent.

The possibilities are endless.

Only your imagination can limit you. Think outside the box and open up a world where anything is possible. The best part is the cost to do this is not expensive. Full color two-sided printing of business cards will run you about $50.00 or $60.00 bucks. It is a small price to pay to make a great impression. And as you know, the customer is keeping score.

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