Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Business cards have been around a very long time, yet they have hardly changed – and largely, they are still filed away and ignored. But they don’t have to be.
Style matters. Is your card modern, crisp, easy to read, eye catching and colourful? Or is it boring, flimsy and dogeared? Use both sides for double impact – business details on one side and your unique selling proposition on the other.
Turn your card into something people can trade in. Offer free advice or discounts if people present the card.
Business cards don’t have to be flat and rectangular. You might fold yours into a mini leaflet packed with sales info and handy tips. Nor do they have to be made of card. Make them useful instead – a tile company might put their company details on a small tile and turn it into a coaster. Similarly, a car salesman might put his card inside a plastic key tag.
One home-delivery pizza company made theirs into fridge magnets. Within a day of handing these out on the local university campus, demand soared and the company recouped its outlay in a week.
People remember faces rather than names. So why not put your photo on your card? Make it in some way relevant to your business. If you sell fishing rods, have a picture of you landing that big fish.
Why stick to card? You can use computer programmes to create interactive business cards on floppy disks (but remember that not everyone will accept these from you). You can include as much information as you want, sales blurbs, photos, prices, instructions about how to use your products or testimonials from satisfied clients.
Collecting other people’s business cards can generate more business than handing out your own. On average only about 10% of the people to whom you hand your cards will contact you. But you can follow up every single card you collect. So it follows that collecting cards could bring you ten times as much business as distributing them!