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The Overlooked Marketing Opportunity: Your Business Card

By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

Business_cards As part of my web site renovation and "rebranding" last year, I decided I should have round business cards with a hole in the middle.  Long story short, these proved to be impossible, unless I wanted to pay an arm and at least one leg...and/or wait for months.  So I went with a 3x3 inch square card with the circle logo in the middle (coincidentally the circle on the card is the exact dimensions of a wine or martini glass base - good conversation starter at Happy Hours!)   

So, why am I telling you this? 

1. We all pass out far more business cards than anything else.  (In today's Web world, how many of us even have mass-produced hardcopy brochures? Hmmm....)

2.  We all want people to remember us.

3. We all want people to keep our cards. 

4. Business cards can be both cost-effective and memorable. My 3x3 cards were $100 for 1000, including shipping, on the heaviest stock available. And, I've got both design elements and text that stand out from the standard blah-blah rectangle.   

Your business card could be your single most important piece of marketing collateral! Yet, all too often people treat biz cards as a cheapo basic ("I'll just run down to Kinko's and get my name and phone number on the standard stock.")  Three tips for you:

1. Remember your humble little card may be the ONLY thing you ever give someone.  Design it accordingly.  Have something interesting on it.  If people remark about something on the card, you know you've gotten their attention. (It's up to you, live and in person, to get and retain their interest.)   

2. Use both sides of the card.
  People do "the flip" automatically, so have something interesting on both sides!  (And your logo isn't the most interesting thing on the planet, sorry. People read text - and they buy from people, not logos.) 

3. Present the card, don't just thrust it into people's hands. Even if you're simply doing the usual exchange at the start of the meeting, say something as you pass it out, don't just skim it across the table.  (Mine get comments anyway due to the size, design,  and the line "Marketing Troubleshooter") 

I'm not suggesting you do as the Japanese, with bowing (to differing levels depending on the status of the other) and such...but you should treat both your card and the recipient with respect.  Look at their cards when you get them.   And, if you are doing business with people from other cultures, such as the Japanese, learn their customs regarding cards (and meetings in general.)

Bonus Tip 3.5:  You can, if you've got the graphics chops, produce meeting and audience specific cards very easily, using high-quality card stock and a color printer.  You can even print both sides. (I do biz card-sized Marketing Troubleshooting Tips) However, be your own worst critic - make sure they don't look "homemade."   

Here's the "marketing to women" bit: The cooler the card, the more likely we are to keep it. We love good design - and we love to make connections.   



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Mary Schmidt

I think it's a trade-off. I know many people throw ALL cards away after they enter the info in Outlook and/or their crackberry. However, I also find it more difficult to throw an unusual card away. (And mine can be used as a coaster...;-)

My goal is for them to A. comment; B. better yet, ask a question; C. Remember either my name or "marketing troubleshooter" since they can google either and I'm the first result.

Cynthia Friedlob, The Thoughtful Consumer

Good ideas. But while I'm certain that a 3x3 card stands out from the crowd, I'm wondering if a non-standard size card is something that people really do keep around. If you're a person who punches holes in business cards and sticks them in a Rolodex, or if you keep them in a snappy business card holder, or if (like me) you stack 'em in a bunch and stash 'em in a drawer (sometimes with a rubber band around them), is that size a disadvantage in the long run? Or maybe the favorable first impression of an unusual card will motivate the recipient to transfer the info to her contact list in whatever form she keeps it, paper or digital. Any thoughts?

Teresa Morrow


Thanks for the great tips. There were a few great tidbits I hadn't thought of before. I like the idea of using a different size card instead of the standard card.

I am in the process of creating some new business cards...so this has come in handy at the right time.

Thanks again!


Teresa Morrow
Key Business Partners


Great advice! I've used business card marketing for years and usually pin up my cards on free public bulletin boards at grocery stores, libraries, coffee shops and laundry mats. It's fast, easy and local.
Recently I started using CardCues - nifty (and inexpensive) little card holders that hold over 30 cards and pin easily to bulletin boards. Just wanted to pass along the tip.

They're website is: www.cardcues.com

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