Sunday, January 11, 2009

Does your business card get noticed?

Written by Biba Pedron

Having organized and attended networking events for the last four years, I am always still surprised and amazed to see how many solo-entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t have business cards, or don’t have professional business cards.

Having a professional business card helps to portray your image and make you stand out from the crowd. When you meet somebody, you have less than 10 seconds to make the right first impression, so along with your elevator pitch, make sure that people will remember you.
Your business card is your first marketing tool. But are you using it in the most effective way?
Many small business owners spend hours and hours trying to find the best way of marketing their businesses. But when it comes to their business cards they don’t follow the same rules. Most people just include their basic contact information and don’t realize how this little piece of paper can say a lot about their businesses.

When you place an ad in a newspaper or a magazine, don’t you try to write the most effective text to attract clients so that people call you or buy your products or services? So why not pay the same attention when designing your business card.

Your business card is your first marketing tool. Every time you give it to somebody, it's a chance to communicate something about your business. Your business card is very often the tool which will help people to decide whether they want to work with you or not, since it is an extension of your business. When you meet somebody for the first time they will judge you on your appearance, your clothes, the way you act, the way you speak and your business card. If the whole package looks very professional they will be willing to continue the conversation with you. If it doesn’t look professional they will not waste their time and will find somebody else to work with.

We used to say that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but unfortunately this is not true. So put all the chances on your side.
In my program “Power of Networking Secrets”, the Step 3 is “How to Design a Memorable Business Card”, and I help my clients to completely redesign their business card in order to grab people’s attention within seconds.

Here are the 10 indispensable keys which need to appear on your business card:
First on the front of your card:

1/ Your name – this sound obvious for everybody, but make sure it is easy to find.People have to see your name as soon as they receive your card so they will be able to associate your face with the name on your card. This will help them to remember you.

2/ Your title – if you work for a corporation, your title is always mentioned on the card, so if you are a solo-entrepreneur or a small business owner, it is also very important to mention if you are the founder, the CEO, the president, the marketing manager or other. Again, make it easy for people to remember you and what you do.

3/ The name of your company – even if you are a one person operation in your business, it is very important to have a business name. Using only your name if you are a sole proprietor or if you are an independent representative of a company will give the image of a part time activity and not a business image to your prospects. The same as when you introduce yourself and say, “I am a consultant” vs. “I have a consulting company”, people will not pursue you in the same way. Even if your consulting company is only you, this will not have the same impact.

4/ Your email address - the big No/No in a business card – once again if you want to be considered as a business and have a professional image, don’t use an email with yahoo, aol, or hotmail, etc… but have a professional email with Today it really doesn’t cost a lot to buy a domain name, so please invest the $5 to $10 to buy one and use it on your business card.
You can have a yahoo, aol, or hotmail email to sign up for newsletters to avoid spam, but for your business card, this shows a lack of professionalism. Plus it is much easier for people to remember your name and your company name than a strange email with your nick name or number on it.

5/ Your phone number – personally I think that too many phone numbers are confusing and take up too much space. So I recommend that you use your main number, even if it is your cell phone because it is the most convenient way to reach you.

6/ Your website - having a website will help people to learn more about your business later. Your business card can’t say everything, so give them the opportunity to get the information they are looking for. Use your business card to bring traffic to your website.

7/ Your logo – it is as important to have a logo as it is to have a business name for the same reason, because this will give you a professional image. Using a regular white card, with no logo, just your name, phone number and email, will not help people to remember you. Some people use just a clipart on their business card and think this looks like a logo. In people’s minds this is definitely not the same thing. If you are not ready to invest in yourself, how do you expect people to invest in you?

8/ Your tagline – a tagline ensures that people associate your company name with your product or service. That is a short sentence which describes your business’ mission and makes you unique. That is usually the only thing people remember after you have met. So that is why it is important to really choose your words carefully when creating your tagline, in order to hook your audience and be memorable.
Just because you are a solo-entrepreneur or a small business owner, it does not mean that you can’t use the same strategies as the big companies. Make sure you use all the marketing tools which are available to promote your business. This is called ‘branding’. Using an effective logo & tagline are one of the most effective ways to successfully brand your business.
Take a look at most of the business cards that you have collected from people and you will notice how few of them have taglines. So stand out from the crowd, make sure to have the key elements on your card and that they are memorable.
When I work with a client and help him or her redesign their business card, I always encourage them to use the back of their card. Remember what I said earlier, “When you place an ad in a newspaper or a magazine, don’t you try to write the most effective text to attract clients so that people call you or buy your products or services?”
So why are you wasting all of this precious space on the back of your card?
Again, remember that your business card is a marketing tool. Use it to attract potential clients and not only to provide your contact information. Use it to pass on your business message.
On the back of your card – very few people use the back of their cards, so here is an opportunity for you to make a difference.

9/ Describe the benefits of your product/service or the benefits of working with you.Use bullet points to emphasize the purpose of your products and services. Show how you can be a problem solver to others. Encourage people to ask you questions about your business so that they want to learn more and visit your website later.10/ Tell people what to do next. Don’t assume that people will contact you for more information – tell them what to do. What we call “The call to action.”

Do you want them to: go to your website, sign-up for your newsletter, call you, buy your product? Tell them clearly. Offer them an incentive to make sure that they will take action.
Let’s say you are a coach or a financial advisor, no doubt, you have a lot of competition. What makes you unique and special? When people see your card, they will probably say, “Oh, another one!” But if you mentioned your specialties on your card, it will make a difference immediately.
For example I have 2 different business cards:
One card describes the benefits of joining Biba4Network and offers a coupon of $5 to come to my events, then clients can print from my website, which is a way to drive clients to the website to learn more.The other card, describes the benefits of my program “Power of Networking Secrets” and mentions “Sign-up for my newsletter and receive my free e-course “15 ways to maximize your networking results”, which is a way to also drive clients to the website and generate leads for my mailing list.

What's on your Business Card?Take a look at your card now, does it include the key elements to give a professional image to your business?Does your card stand out from the crowd?Does your card give you the results you are expecting?Does your card say what you want it to say?Does your design work with your company image and the rest of your marketing materials?If you have a different design for your business card, your website and your brochure, how do you expect people to take you seriously?

Order professional business cardsAvoid the cards that you print yourself on your printer. It doesn’t cost a lot to print professional business cards, you can order a thousand for $40 to $60 online and it doesn’t cost more to print on both side of your card, but it makes an incredible difference and has a greater impact on people.

Use the same logo and colors as your website, brochure or flyer. Having a consistency on your marketing materials will help people to recognize you where ever they see you. And the more they see you or your logo, the more they will remember you, and the more they will keep in touch with you. Try to always be at the forefront of their minds.

Your business card is an extension of your company just like your logo, letter head, brochures, flyers, website and any marketing tools. They must have the same message and design.
Never leave home without your business cardsWherever you go—to a networking event, to the dentist, to the movies, to a party, always bring your business cards with you. You never know where you will meet an interesting new contact, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to exchange cards. Writing your telephone number or email address on a piece of paper or a paper napkin definitely doesn’t look very professional.

Still need help to revamp your business card and create a professional image? Learn more about “ Power of Networking Secrets”. In this 5 step program, you will find everything you need on how to maximize your networking results.You will learn: how to create an outstanding business card – how to polish an elevator pitch which will hook your audience so that people will remember you – how to create a 7 step follow-up system to turn more prospects into clients – how to use your newsletter to promote your products or services without hard selling – how to create strategic alliances to grow our business faster. You can read more about it and get your copy of “Power of Networking Secrets” at