By Mary Oquendo
Since 2014, I’ve been reading articles on the demise of business cards from well–respected business publications. But is there any merit to their claim? Yes and no. It all depends on how you use and design them.
The main reason these articles feel business cards are a waste of money is that it’s estimated close to 90% of all business cards end up in the trash. Now, I agree with the percentage because every time I come back from a networking event I toss most cards into the garbage.
But in my opinion, what these articles don’t take into account is why most business cards are trashed.
Here are some reasons why I have thrown cards out:
1. I couldn’t read the lettering. It was a light font on a light background, dark font on a dark background, font size too small, (I’m not using the magnifier on my phone to read a card), or fancy script fonts (real pretty, but impossible to read.) Or any combination of the above. If a potential client has to decipher your business card, they are going to toss it.
2. I didn’t remember to whom the card belonged. A photograph may have jogged my memory. A professionally done photograph, that is. Not a selfie from your phone. Or maybe even a tagline describing what they do and why I should call them would have helped as well.
3. I thought I had taken multiples of a business card, but in reality I threw out several that were the exact same VistaPrint design. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vistaprint, but did you know you could upload your own logos and designs? If you don’t have a logo, get one professionally done.
4. They looked like they were printed off of their computer that very morning. They were fuzzy, off centered, or the ink ran. Every piece of promotional material you give out is a reflection of your business. Do you really want sloppy and unprofessional looking cards representing your business?
Another reason given for the death of business cards is that they are used as a crutch. You just hand them out and don’t talk to the person you are giving the card to. No connections are made. Don’t be shy. Give a potential client a reason to remember you.
We’ve discussed what not to do, so what should you do instead. Let’s look at Daryl Conner’s business cards and what she is doing well:
1. Her cards are branded. The colors are found on all her promotional materials, social media, and even throughout her grooming studio. Her logo was professional designed and reflects her personality.
2. The cards are printed on high quality, thick paper. They feel substantial. It will directly reflect how your company is perceived. Solid and professional outperforms common and cheap. A client is more likely to hand out a well-constructed card to their friends.
3. There is a lot of information on the cards, starting with her professionally done photograph. Daryl left her previous place of employment to start her own business. Many clients may not have remembered her name, but they recognized her photograph. The other photograph is of her studio. When first time clients come to visit, they know what to look for. She has multiple means of contact; phone number, web address and email. Make it easy for clients to find you. You could also add Facebook and Instagram links.
4. Instead of appointment lines, Daryl has used that space to highlight why she’s special. Whatever your “special sauce” is, put it on the card.
“Many people have commented on my card, to the effect of, ‘When I saw your card I knew this was a quality business.’ I have my cards printed at MOO, and though they are more expensive than some, I know for a fact they have paid for themselves many times over.” – Daryl Conner
Now what constitutes as “special sauce”? Is there something you specialize in; hand stripping, particular breeds, elderly pets, aggressive pets, or cats, to name a few? Put it on the card. Are you nationally certified? Put it on the card. How about a couple of sentences describing how you solve a problem (tagline)? My current one is: I help pet owners by offering one on one holistic pet grooming in their driveway with my state of the art mobile grooming van, so pets feel as good on the inside as they do on the outside. Put it on the card.
Are you giving them a reason to keep your card? I have seen unique business cards that I remember, including an All In One Tool, pop up, dog tag, penny shooter, street map to their shop, and one shaped into a comb. Yes, they cost more money, but if it’s kept instead of thrown out, your reach increases.
Are your cards reaching your target audience? Consider a referral partner with a veterinarian, pet sitter, or trainer. You give out their card to your clients and they give out your card to their clients.
Follow technology. When I was a kid, 8 tracks were all the rage. What is an 8 track you ask? My point exactly. Technology changes and we need to keep up with it.
I see digital cards being the wave of the future. And wouldn’t you know it—the app exists. Because these apps are so new, you will probably be the first person to introduce this new technology to a client. And, because you can digitally swap business cards, you now have a means to follow up with them.
Business cards have evolved in the way they are used and designed. Gone are the days of a simple name and phone number on a card. Those went the way of the 8 track. Done the right way, they are an absolute must for a local service based business. But don’t be afraid to embrace new technology. If you have the Convey app on your phone, send your business card to me at [email protected] or let’s bump phones at the next
trade show. ✂