The illustrious and well documented evolution of the internet has drown out the efficient subtleties of print marketing. What used to be the titanic of promoting companies, innovative business cards and effective distribution strategies have now followed in similar sinking fashion. However, with the downfall of business cards comes a tremendous opportunity for you to take full advantage of an enormous marketing niche by implementing features that produce online and offline traffic on your business card.
Layout & Design
You all know the traditional physical design of a business card; they are rectangle shaped and there is absolutely nothing even remotely intriguing about them. In today’s advanced marketing world it is high time that you venture away from that over-used rectangular design and make an impression with a physical design that describes your business. Here are ideas to fuel the fire that is your design inspiration:
- Related Objects — There are several companies that either have an emphasized product, or they use an object’s name in their title. For example, if your company’s name is “Wired Tree”, you may want to have your business card shapes like a leaf to a tree. Not only does it add imagery, but if that same object is used in your brand as well you are only strengthening your overall message.
- Notches, Divots, and Different Edges – If you have ever played cards you know the feeling when you have one card that is just not right (i.e. the corner is torn, the edge is tattered, etc). If you use a notch, divot, or rounded edges on the side of your business card you are literally creating a natural bookmark for your company; as that person is holding the stack of business cards he/she has collected yours will stand out because it will be significantly easier to find.
- 3 Dimensional or Multiple Layers — Too many business cards are flat designs. In other words, you type your content on the front and/or back of the card and you are done. To make a better impact, you can make your card literally standout by creating a pop-up design, a self-standing card, or a brochure-like card. Either way, you have added thickness and uniqueness to your marketing strategy that will help increase overall traffic.
I don’t know about you, but I get too many business cards that are a horrible quality of paper. It shows me that the company doesn’t care about their image, they don’t care about what they are giving me (the potential client), and they don’t care to expand on what they are currently doing to improve. So that I don’t beat a dead horse with the downfalls of not using the right paper quality, here are some paper types that you can use for your business cards:
- Cover Stock — When you don’t need to print in full color, but you do need a heavier type of paper, cover stock is the way to go. Unfortunately, with the economy that we live in today, there are a significant number of businesses that use a matte instead which gives a flimsy feel. For a literally pennies more, you can use a thicker cover stock and allow the client to feel like you care about your marketing materials and the image you deliver to the public.
- Glossy — If you do need to print in full color you had better opt for a glossy paper. Again, to avoid cost a number of companies will use matte because of its ability to use full color as well. However, with matte you run into a very dull looking card that doesn’t showcase your talents or your brand image. Instead of the matte, spend a little more money and market your business the right way with your business card through a glossy paper! Remember, you want your card to deliver the message that you are serious about your business to drive the traffic.
Content, Contact Info, & Services
The standard practice for business card information rests primarily with general contact information and a logo. Good enough, right?
I am hoping that you firmly said “No” to that question because that is absolutely not the right avenue to travel when it comes to your business cards. Make sure that you cover the following in order to increase your traffic:
- Content — I know exactly what you are thinking when I say content, “This is a business card! How are we going to put content on a business card?” First and foremost, I am not talking about you general content that you find on your website but I do want you to think Twitter. By thinking like you are doing a status update on Twitter you limit yourself to 140 characters, and you have to maximize those 140 characters to truly be effective. So, use a testimonial, use your tag line, use any sort of copy that will grab potential customer’s attention (or something that will make them want to keep your card).
- Contact Info — We all know that you want to include your e-mail, phone, address, company name, your name, fax number, etc. However, you also want to include any social networks in which you participate, a Skype contact, a QR code (if appropriate), and anything else that will help your customers stay connected with you. To further the impact of those social networks, you can include the network icons to enhance your level of buy-in as well as allow the client to visually identify with the network.
- Services — While including content and contact info, you cannot generally assume that people will know what you and your business do for the community. I, ironically, ran into a friend this weekend that gave me his business card, and I had asked him why his company didn’t mention what they did. His response was pretty typical, “I don’t know; maybe the marketing department is assuming people just know”. After we got done laughing for a couple of minutes, I gave him my card which has our services listed and told him to pass it on to his marketing department. Anecdote aside, make sure that you let the general public know why you do and make it prominent on the card. This places you in a niche and defines your company for first-time-users, and will significantly increase traffic.
Overall, the goal of a business card is not to sit on someone’s shelf or act as a bookmark in their latest and greatest reading material; it is supposed to be the source of your companies information that the person can tap into easily. By using a unique designs you are presenting the card-holder with marketing material that will stay in the forefront of their mind. By using the right quality of paper you are demonstrating that you care about the products or material you deliver to your audience. And, finally, by using the right content, contact info, and by mentioning your services you are allowing the audience to identify with your company more definitively. In general, if you implement all of the above marketing strategies for your business card marketing you will see an increase in both your online and offline traffic which will significantly impact your revenue.
If you need help with designing an effective business card or creating an all-inclusive marketing strategy please feel free to contact IMPACT today.
If graphic design is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com