The 21st Century Business Card

I’ve become a lot more selective about who receives my business card.   I never hand over my card unsolicited,  unless I feel that follow-up with the intended receiver is a must and that the feeling appears to be mutual.   I’ve found that the traditionally employed are annoyingly promiscuous with business cards.   They hand them out at a furious pace,  mostly to folks they have no intention to interact with ever again.   Maybe it’s because they don’t pay for their cards?  Or maybe it’s because they are often not deal-makers or sales professionals,  so follow-up and relationship building are not tied to their success at work?

Over the years,  I’ve come to respect my business card.   I now realize that my business card is much more than a 2″ x 3 1/2″ piece of paper.   My card is my most ubiquitous marketing tool.  My card represents my brand when its recipient and I are no longer face to face.   My business card portrays me as a trustworthy and competent professional who will meet and exceed expectations through its text,  font style,  color scheme,   printing process and card stock.

The business card is a communication tool and is therefore part of your marketing plan.  See to it that its message aligns with all other marketing materials,  including the look of your website.  There is room for some creativity in its design,  so be authentic and allow your card to reflect your personality.

You may choose a vertical,  rather than the standard horizontal,  lay-out.  You may have a two-sided card,  or a 4″ x 7″ folded card,  both of which will allow you to include more information.  Real estate professionals have for several years included a photo of themselves on their card and you may choose that option as well.

Whatever style you choose,  take care not to overload your card with text.  Keep it simple and easy to read.  Include your name,  business name,  title,  telephone number,  email address and web address.   Providing your physical address is in many instances no longer necessary.   If you have a company logo,  absolutely include it and if there is space,  you may include social media contact info.

I was excited to learn that my little card can now become a 21st century interactive mobile marketing tool and include a Quick Response  (QR)  code.  Card recipients can scan the QR code with an Android,  iPhone or other camera-enabled smart phones  and be taken to my website,  LinkedIn profile,  or a specially formatted landing page.

Be mindful that whatever data is linked to the QR code must be optimized for smart phones and enable a friction-less experience for the user.   Add value to the mobile marketing experience by creating a special landing page as a one-sheet that describes three or four of your primary services and offers a free 30 minute consultation to prospective clients.  It is possible to get a free QR code through sites like http://delivr.com and http://qrstuff.com and as far as I know,  they work.

There are numerous reasonably priced options available to produce good quality cards for you.   Business card templates are available through companies such as Vista Print.  I hired a Freelance graphic artist friend to design my card.   Sir Speedy did the printing and recommended just the right card stock  (Sir Speedy also has business card templates available).

Your business card is the on-the-ground embodiment of your marketing plan.  It reflects your personal brand and makes as much of an impression as the suits you wear and the brief case you carry.  Design a card that is appropriate for your business,  industry and personal style and communicate to prospects and colleagues that doing business with you is good business.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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