Victoria M Garcia asked:

Now that the internet is such a strong marketing tool for small businesses, you might think that business cards aren’t important anymore. Wrong! Your business card is your primary point of contact in the real world and still is a critically important tool. For a small investment, your business card can increase your visibility and start generating trust, which leads to sales.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. People judge you by your business card. Does it look professionally produced, or did you crank it out using a do-it-yourself program and office supply store merchandise? Nobody is going to trust you to do business with you if you look like a poverty stricken amateur.

2. Make sure what you do is obvious. You would be amazed by how many business cards don’t spell out what the business is or the person does. If you are mysterious, you are not going to get any business.

3. Look unique. Don’t create a generic or off the shelf business card and expect anyone to be impressed. Take a risk; it’s only a business card. An unusual card can be a great icebreaker.

4. Remember, business cards have two sides. Why waste a perfectly good side by leaving it blank? Make your business card a “mini-brochure” by listing your services, putting a clever tag line, your website address, or even a graphic or photo on the backside. Most printers don’t charge extra to print on the back. Shop around for one that does not.

5. Use the backside of your card as a “coupon” to offer a free service one time to new clients. This strategy is called “just get them in the door the first time,” and it can kick-start a relationship with a prospect.

6. Put your personal photo on your business card, and make it big, as in 1/3 of the card. We are not talking about an old-fashioned framed “tombstone” headshot like a Realtor (even the more modern Realtors use interesting photos now). Please… get a new, professional shot taken by a photographer who specializes in business photography. All of us collect zillions of business cards. Can you remember all those people? No. You will remember the person with a photo on the card.

7. Create a fold over card that really is a mini-brochure. Because of websites, many small business owners don’t make brochures anymore. But, you can easily create a little brochure with two or three panels that fold down to the size of a standard business card. A good graphic designer can pack it with information that sells.

8. Use full color on your cards. The cost of two color cards has gone up and the cost of full color has come down. Full color less than you might think, and a small additional cost is well worth it. Color sells and makes you look more interesting and exciting.

9. Use writable gloss, matte, or semi-gloss coated paper for your cards. It will make the color pop and you can still write on the card, which can be very important.

10. Turn your business card into a .jpg and attach it to your email signature. That way, your recipient can see all your info in a nice little contained graphic.

Don’t scrimp. A professionally designed, interesting, informative business card can increase your visibility, open doors and start relationships. You never know where your little business card may end up and you want it to make a good impression when it gets into the right hands.

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