Jay Ehret is on a blogging break and will return with regular posts October 13th. Until then, please enjoy a great line up of guest bloggers.
By Dean Jones
Whenever people ask me for my best piece of marketing advice, many expect to hear about some closely held advertising trick or a brand new Internet technology, so my answer usually shocks them. I tell them that the most powerful marketing tool is one they already have – in fact they have it with them. This tool is small, highly portable, it’s inexpensive and using one is considered standard business etiquette.
My very best piece of marketing advice is to have a great …
But simply having a business card is not enough. Keep in mind the following five tips for creating a great business card.
1. Design comes second.
Oddly enough the design of your card should not begin with designing. It should begin with your identity. This is an important step to take, even if you have hired a graphic designer to create your cards.
The design of your card should be carefully crafted so that when people see it, they will easily understand what your business stands for.
Also, you’re more likely to generate interest if you create a card with a benefit-oriented message rather than simply stating the product or service you offer. Better yet, include the main benefit as part of your company name or tagline.
2. Be memorable, not mesmerizing.
Creating a card that will be remembered requires a combination of two things. First keep it simple. Forget fancy type and a fuchsia logo. When it comes to creating an effective business card, less is usually more.
Also, you must remember to inject a little of your personality into the design since it is your business we are talking about.
3. Have some (appropriate) style.
Your business cards don’t need to be plain black text on a white paper. On the contrary, interesting colors, clean fonts and cool logos can help grab attention and become an important part of your overall brand.
And while it is good to use creativity in the design, your card should not be radically different from others in your line of work. Tax accountant? Use a tasteful and traditional design. Web wizard? Go modern.
4. Don’t be flimsy or cheap.
When a person shakes your hand using a soft or weak handshake, what is your first impression? Not a good one. A flimsy card that feels insubstantial may also make the recipient think that your company is the same – insubstantial.
In the world of printing, paper is categorized by “weights”. Look at using a paper stock of at least “80 pounds” or using another measurement system, a minimum of “10 point” stock. The cost of using this thicker paper is only a few more dollars but is well worth it.
5. The flip side.
One of the most overlooked opportunities to market your business is the “back” of your business card. While the front of the card should contain your name and contact information, there are endless possibilities for other side of your card.
One example is for a flower shop. To remind people to buy you could list the top five occasions for giving flowers (including any dates). Another example is for an author to include an image of their book cover.
While this may seem like a lot of advice for such a small piece of paper, remember, you’re not just creating a business card – you’re showcasing your business.
About the author
Dean Jones is Canada’s Mr. Small Business. Join him on the social networking site Twitter.com where he offers ongoing tips, ideas and advice at http://twitter.com/deanjones .
Other articles of Interest:
Building a brand with Guerrilla Packaging
Case Study: How to Get a Logo That Defines Your Business
The Secrets of Stickiness
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