Everything communicates in marketing – whether you want it to or not. It’s easy to overlook little details, but those are some of the best ways to express and build your brand.
Your most ubiquitous piece of stationery – your business card – can be a powerhouse, but don’t overload it. As with every other marketing activity, first decide your intention for your card.
As I look now at some cards on my desk, I perceive these intentions:
- “I want my card to build my credibility.”
- “I want my card to inform about all my services. ALL of them.”
- “I want to create a warm reminder of my brand promise.”
Sometimes, it seems people just wanted to jam their contact info onto a little piece of paper, convenient for handing around. That’s under-utilizing this asset!
Business cards are the best value in the advertising medium. They’re small, personal and usually hand-delivered. They’re one of the first impressions you make. Most people will hang on to your card, even if they throw your brochure away (which they will – brochures are a drag – think website instead).
At minimum, your card should contain the essence of your brand. The card’s look and feel should be in harmony with the unique identity you are cultivating for your business.
Whether you deliver it in person with a smile and a handshake, or it is passed to someone in a referral from your happy client, it should make a strong impression for you, consistent with all the other experiences someone could expect from your company.
I will sometimes give an intention, or blessing, to my cards and other marketing materials: “May these cards find their way to those who could be helped most by what I do.” Whether it gives my cards a nice energy that matches my brand, or just makes me feel nice inside, I enjoy it.
Be careful of leaking accidental messages. If your cards are flimsy, poorly printed or contain typos, people might draw conclusions about your attitude to your business – that you’re cheap, inattentive to detail or not serious about your work.
Your card should include your brand promise (Jaw-Dropping Self-Intro), which may take the form of a tag line or slogan. This quick benefit statement will be a reminder each time your prospect views your card.
Beyond brand essence and brand promise, what you include on your card depends on what your recipients need to know. Basic contact information is good, but don’t list ways of contacting you that you don’t prefer.
For example, if you’re seldom in your office, why list a land or fax line? If you don’t have open office hours, you can leave off the physical address. However, consider the impression made by having, or excluding, any of this information. Remember, everything communicates, so you’re responsible for the impression made by these inclusions or omissions.
If you have a web site, definitely include it on your card, since that’s making the best use of both of these assets.
Action plan: Assess your card’s effectiveness against your intentions for it. How does it measure up? Could it be working more effectively for you?
For inspiration check out these amazing designs. Like concept cars and runway fashions, many of these may be too far out for you to use in your business, but they certainly demonstrate what is possible.