What’s black and white and read all over? I know, it’s an old one right? It’s a newspaper. But if you are looking at starting a new business or expanding on an existing one, I know an absolute guaranteed way to increase your business for the cost of one small nickel.
No, I’m not shining you on either. That is the cost of producing a nice business card on quality stock. It is the smallest investment you will make regarding the success of you business with a possibly high rate of return.
Business cards tell the world who you are and what you stand for. They are the gentle reminder to that nice fella at the grocery store check out line to order new brochures or get a solid commitment for that new website promoting his business.
And depending on how you use business cards, they can be your largest source of referrals. The problem is, most business owners, including freelancers don’t use them to their full potential. So just how do you maximize your business card potential?
Make A Statement With Your Business Card
If you are in the business of designing, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to create a business card that stands out from the rest? Whether you use a compelling mission statement or an outstanding custom logo, give potential clients something to remember.
Use Color To Your Advantage
In the world of business, color counts. Your card has to grab attention. Color draws attention to your business card and away from a competitor’s. When I first opened my house keeping service, I admit it, I was really broke. But I knew to succeed I needed to draw attention to my business. I went down to my favorite print shop and asked for suggestions.
The first thing out of the owner’s mouth was to add color. I told him I could not afford color business cards. I could barely afford black and white. He told me to wait and he disappeared in the backroom. Pretty soon, he came back with the brightest neon colored card stock I have ever seen. It had been a special order months before and he had no use for the bright colors. It was sitting on a shelf collecting dust.
I think I ended up paying less than a penny apiece for the business cards and got a bunch! It didn’t take but a few of those to start turning up and my business shot through the roof! Those brightly colored business cards stuck out in the sea of black and white cards most businesses were handing out at the time.
Use The Rule Of KISS On Business Cards
Remember the rule of simplicity? Keep It Simple Stupid.
You want your business card to be crisp and clean and above all else, readable. Don’t clutter it up with too much information. Put basic contact information and enough of your services to serve as a tease to call you for more information. I listed the three most popular services small businesses needed to increase business, then put the words “And more…” at the bottom of the list. You would be surprised how many calls I get asking if I can design this or that. And of course I am usually able tell them, yes I can.
If You Don’t Hand Business Cards Out, They Don’t Work
I can’t tell you how many business cards I have created for other businesses and they never run out after the first order. There is a really good reason for this. They sit in a drawer or on a desk somewhere and never get handed out. If you are not going to use them, why are you spending money to get them?
My husband says he can’t take me anywhere because I’m constantly handing out my business card. I have landed some really nice paychecks by handing my card out in check out lines at the grocery store and I see no reason to stop!
Never Stop Promoting Your Business
This kind of goes hand in hand with the previous statement of handing your business cards out. You have to make people aware of your presence and who you are on a regular basis. If you are bashful or have trouble talking to strangers, you have obviously picked the wrong profession to be in.
Freelancers especially have to have the gift of gab. We are our own best sales staff. I walked into my doctor’s office last week with a bad case of bronchitis. By the time I left I had found out the doctor was the chief of staff at one of our local hospitals and they needed an advertising specialist. Would you like to guess who got that job?
The point is, even when I feel like warmed over death, and I’m still telling people what I can do to help their business grow. This week I’m back up and running with three new contracts. With the invent of higher quality inkjet printers as well as affordable laser printers for our home offices, the cost of business cards is at an all time low.
It is a proven fact that word of mouth referrals are the best form of advertisement for small businesses. This is reinforced by the use of handing out business cards (and a nice website). No one ever seems to throw them away, just in case there is ever a need for something. Just remember these simple suggestions.
Make a statement, stand out from the crowd! You never know when the phone will ring in response to your 5¢ advertisement. And you want to be ready, right? Happy Advertising!
About the author: Lois Knight has been a freelance writer and graphic designer for the last two years. She designs predominantly for small start up companies and non profits in need of design services that could not afford them otherwise.
She has a background as an entrepreneur for over twenty years and has dedicated herself to educating people interested in graphics as a career. She also wrote an ebook titled: I’m Tired of Being Broke A Freelancer’s Guide to Working at Home