The three answers I get when I ask how someone sees their business card are:
- It reminds them we met
- It's how to contact me
- It tells them what I do.
How do you see your card? Is it just to communicate your name and contact information? Or, do you see it as a value-added, visibility vehicle, poised to solve their problem and fill their need? Is it just to list the products and services you offer, or does it show how you can benefit their lifestyle and bottom line?
Please take out your card and look at it carefully and honestly. How effective is your card as a direct marketing vehicle; a person-to-person sales call; a networking tool; a lead generator; a mini-catalogue of goods and services; a reflection of the quality of your service; an image builder; a tangible vision of who you are and your passion and purpose in doing business?
When you place it in another's hand, are they captivated by the use of color and meaningful images, Do they linger over a picture or image that satisfies needs, wants and desires?
Most of all, do your see your card as merely a leave-behind, or as an invitation to discuss business, perhaps right on the spot or at a later time over a meal, a cup of coffee, a golf game or just on the phone?
If these questions evoke a no from you then please, think again about why you hand them out.
The marketing gurus say it takes seven times or imprints before your information sinks in, brain researchers set absorption levels at twenty-one imprints. What this means is that every three imprints only count as one. To say it another way, three imprints convert to one. Three into twenty-one is seven.
Besides the seven/twenty-one imprint ratio there is another level of imprinting that influences the ability to remember your message. This is the phenomenon of the auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning modalities. In other words, using words that mirror sound (auditory), words that picture (visual), or words that ooze touch or texture (kinesthetic).
A great business card can leapfrog your competition. The following elements contribute to those seven to twenty one imprints and the learning modalities.
Sometimes subtly, as in the case of texture or sound, other times overtly in the case of a picture. Try using as many as you can, and see how it opens the door for more business and better networking.
Pictures. Show your pools with clients in it. Or put an animal on a raft with sunglasses and a tall cool drink. Show your employees waving c'mon down in front of your store. If you're a magician, show you weaving your magic. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, it gets the visual and emotional juices going.
Logos. It's stronger if your logo depicts your product or service rather than generic graphics with no connection.
Back of the card. This is prime marketing real estate. Use it to encourage the recipient to keep your card. Use it for client testimonials, product descriptions, or a map to find you. Punch a hole each time a purchase is made and you pick the number to reward with something free. Create a discount coupon redeemable in-store. Print emergency numbers, a calendar, tipping guidelines, an appointment reminder, or sports activities.
USP- Your Unique Selling Proposition. The best USP is a phrase or slogan that appeals to emotional needs. It's what makes you unique. Gives your benefits. Defines your strength. Makes claims like guarantees, savings or assurances, i.e., Domino Pizza: "Your pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free!" Fed Ex: "When It absolutely has to be there overnight." And Intrashred, " Better shred than read."
Color. The Color Institute surveys say goldenrod yellow is the most responsive color. Use color ink for accents. Gold or silver adds an elegance and electricity. Neon makes a great accent but avoid neon card stock. Even though it's easy to locate in a pile, it's too hard on the eyes to read, and the print is difficult to read.
Fonts and Print Size Test the print size on friends who wear reading glasses. 12pt or above is best. Use thicker letters, rather than fine, skinny letters. Raised lettering adds texture, a bonus imprint. ALL CAPITOL LETTERS IS TOO DIFFICULT TO READ. Use fonts that don't have the curlicues like Times Roman or Arial. Mixing fonts doesn't work for the higher good. In such a small space consistency rules over variety.
Uniqueness. Try mylar or plastic, but remember that these don't work with Card Scan. Shape your card like your product. Make an audiocassette business card about your products, services and benefits. Put your card on a magnet.
Dos and Don'ts. Avoid larger cards. If you use folding cards, put all the pertinent information on the same half. Redo cards if your contact information or names change. If you're in a multicultural community, have cards printed front and back in both languages, and be extra careful with the translation!
As you can see, there are infinite possibilities and diverse roles that your card can play. Think of your business card as a mobile, multi-dimensional version of yourself. A miniature of you not waiting to happen but present and accounted for. as long as the card is in circulation.
An effective card is arguably the most valuable marketing tool you can have in building a business. So, does your business card present exciting marketing options for you?
Maximize Your Biz-Ability Through Viz-Ability…. Promote & Prosper!
Raleigh Pinskey is a consultant and speaker on the topic of PR for Wealth Building, Director of the PR for Wealth Building Summit and Mentor Program for businesses, authors and speakers. She is the author of the best selling 101 Ways to Promote Yourself, 101 Ways to Get on radio and TV, 101 Ways to Write Foolproof Media Releases, and 101 Ways to Market Your Business on the Internet.
Raleigh Pinskey, www.promoteyourself.com, 480-488-4840 raleigh@promoteyourself .com
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