The Importance of Business Cards

By Eric Gilboord

One of the most cost-effective forms of marketing today is the business card. It is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, and usually welcome advertising medium. Business cards can be produced in many shapes, sizes, and colours. They can be in a horizontal or vertical format (the theory is that vertical cards will stand out from horizontal ones) or have an extra cover flap. Traditional cards are two-colour; some are four-colour. Some cards are embossed or include photos of business owners or products.

Many professionals (like dentists) and personal care providers (like hairdressers) running businesses based on repeat appointments will design the back of their cards with space to record appointment dates.

Most people want your business card. But handing out a poorly designed, crumpled card with food stains on it can leave the wrong impression. And, yes, I have been the recipient of these cards more than once. Keep your cards crisp and clean in a protective container, and proudly take them out and present them to recipients. Allow the recipient time to read your card and absorb the information. This may be the first exposure they have had to you and your company. Your card can speak volumes about you and how you conduct your business. The first thing prospects or potential business associates will notice is whether you remembered to bring your card with you. I get a little suspicious when the person I am talking to at a networking function has neglected to bring his cards with him. I wonder how much thought he put into attending the function, or how interested he is in increasing his business.

You should carry your cards with you at all times. Don’t hesitate to give them out to people you meet socially or in business settings. Consider giving out a few cards at a time. You never know whom they might pass the card along to. But, reality check—it is highly unlikely that someone you just met will actually have the time or inclination to promote your business for you. So don’t count on this as a mainstay of your marketing program.

Unfortunately, many small business owners spend either too little or too much time designing their cards. Many new small business owners spend six months obsessing over the design of their cards and less effort developing their business concepts. You should ask yourself:

1. What do I want my card to say about my business?

2. Am I projecting the right image?

3. If my business offers discounted goods at great savings, do I want a fancy, expensive-looking card? Conversely, if my service or product is high end and expensive, my card should project taste and quality.

Your business card should clearly identify your company name, your name and title, address, telephone, email, website and social media addresses. Make it easy for someone to get in touch with you if they wish to know more about you or need your services.

Use the back of the card to list the products or services you offer. Consider putting your company’s mission statement on the back. Doing this clearly states what you are offering and to whom you are offering it. Your card will be referred to by the recipient as well as by anyone else that he or she passes it along to. Remember, your card is representing you and your company. It must clearly communicate who you are and what you do, and make it easy for the reader to contact you.

How do you file business cards, considering that they follow both vertical and horizontal formats? Instead of worrying about the formats of the cards, you should be thinking about filing them in a contact management software system. Keep the original cards but use technology to make use of the information they contain. That way, you will always have easy access to the contact and be able to manipulate the information to suit your needs. For example, Christmas cards can be a struggle or a few minutes’ work. It’s much simpler to run through your business contacts, develop your Christmas card list, and print mailing labels than it is to search for and organize business cards, then write addresses by hand.

If appropriate, turn your card into a special-offer vehicle. Sometimes the difference between a client holding on to your card and discarding it is the implied value it represents. To entice the first sale or trial of your product or service, consider offering a discount or other special offer with your card. “Bring in this card and get two for one” is a simple example.

Take out your current business card and lay it on your desk. Now surround it with the many other cards you have collected over the past few months. How does your card compare to the others? Does it satisfy the requirements outlined above? Is it the best possible representation of you and your company? Or is it just another business card?

(Excerpted from the book, Just Tell Me More, by Eric Gilboord)

Eric Gilboord is a specialist in making marketing easy for business owners/operators and any staff with sales or marketing responsibility. He demystifies marketing so they can use it to generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. Eric believes in blending traditional marketing with new media/social media. ROI is a must. Eric is a popular speaker, coach, columnist and author of many articles and books on moving a business up to the next level. The Expert Business Calls for Marketing Advice... That's Easy to Understand. For more information, call 416-686-2466. To sign up for his marketing tips newsletter and to read his blog please visit:

By Adam

August 26, 2011