Learning how to handle your business card advertising is one of the primary promotions to consider when going into your own business.

Business cards are the first "remembrance item" you give to someone after pitching your business.

  1. Business cards must have a two-fold purpose in order to draw customers to you.

    a. The first purpose is to act as a "memory jogger" about the conversation you had with your potential client or referral source.

    b. The second is to get them to take "the next step" which you suggested or one which you agreed upon.

  2. In many ways, your business card is like a mini-ad. It can use a headline, an attention-getting photo or logo, some brief text and essential contact information.
  3. Putting a professional photo of yourself on your business card helps those you have talked with to remember you. It links your image to your written name, position and company. Include a company logo, particularly if you are an independent sales person for a well-known company.
  4. You'll also want to include a quick phrase of recognition (our is "taking care of your creative advertising") that answers the "What's In It For Me" question.
  5. Try to conform to the standard 2" high x 3 1/2" wide size for psychological acceptance as a real business. This size also gives you convenient storage with other business cards. Weird sizes, although creative, may alienate decision makers with traditional business values.
  6. Make sure you have some sort of quality printing: either raised type, 4-color photo, glossy paper, smooth cut edges, heavy paper, etc. If you can't invest $100 to $200 in printing your primary business card advertising, why would a client want to invest their money with you? Your goal: to show you are a legitimate business.
  7. Caution: don't print your business cards on a laser printer. The big companies don't and neither should you, especially if you want to get taken seriously. (Laser or ink jet printers are great for testing different layouts and designs to show to your business friends for evaluations.)
  8. Using the reverse side: Choose paper (or another material) that is easy to write on. Many businesses use this space to record appointments.
  9. Let's assume you have included essential information that is quickly read. Please recognize that different people have different communications preferences: some like e-mail, others prefer direct telephone numbers, etc. Make it easy for everyone to contact you directly using their individual styles. Respond to their inquiry quickly.
  10. Always carry an adequate supply of business cards. Quite often, you'll have a great impromptu conversation on the beach, at a restaurant or on the bus. One of you will say, "I'm sorry, I ran out of business cards." To me, that's poor follow-through for your business card advertising efforts. Some people say it is a forecast of how they will be handled in the future.

    Instead, you could tap into your "emergency back-up cards" which are always in your wallet or on your person. At least your new acquaintance walks away with a card, even though it may be slightly bent.

  11. You'll find bulletin boards where you can post your business card at grocery stores, diners and other community locations. But remember, this is similar to advertising in a general interest newspaper that may or may not be targeted to reach the audience you desire.
  12. A more effective way would be to examine the buying habits of your customers. Find out what kind of person recommends purchases of what you are selling.

    For instance, a personal counseling service thrives on references from doctors and other health professionals. The counselors mail an introductory letter, enclose their business card and follow up with a personal request for an appointment.

  13. See how your business card compares to others you have collected!

    Make your business connection, then confirm your relationship with a business card. These tips will help your business card advertising become more effective.

About The Author

Jon Sinish is a 30-year champion of advertising for small businesses, whose clients range from international corporations to private professional practices. Explore www.advertising-for-small-businesses.com to discover more than 25 articles that reveal practical tips, tactics and strategies to help the small businessperson manage and improve their advertising and marketing programs. © 2006 Jon Sinish