Top 5 Ways to Maximize Your Business Cards

Every day we hand out a tiny brochure about our businesses without even realizing it. Look at the stacks on your desk, the deck in your drawer or the stash in your wallet. Business cards, in all sizes, shapes and colors, are everywhere. And yet, while we all understand that a business card is a necessity, we often fail to see it as a marketing opportunity.

It's time to start seeing that little slip of paper for what it is: the best opportunity you have to market yourself or your business to a targeted and captive audience. After all, you chose to hand it to that person for a reason.

1. Make them memorable. Use design to make your card stand out from the pack. Cards that multi-task will be seen far more frequently than your average business card. Turn it into a bookmark, an event ticket, a note card, scratch card or sticker. Make it a conversation piece and your business will automatically become a part of the conversation. That said, focus on function and don’t get carried away! 

2. Keep it Simple. The purpose of a business card is to get someone to contact you, so focus on the information they will need to do so.  Put the minimum amount of contact info on it, especially if you can refer them to a source (like a web site) with the rest of your contact information, like physical address, fax, etc. If you have an active business social media following, include your twitter handle, Facebook page, etc. 

3. Track it. If appropriate, include a QR code or SKU on your business card, and whenever you hand it out, give the recipient an incentive like discounts or coupons for checking out your site. This way, you'll be able to track the rate at which your card compels people to action. If the current design and incentive doesn't work, you can always try another. 

4. Add credibility with testimonials. Customers relate to other customers. Because of that, testimonials speak volumes. Consider adding a brief quote or link to a quote on the back of your business card. It's a great way to use valuable space that otherwise goes to waste.

5. Share them! You’ve got your cards; now give them out everywhere! Make the handoff memorable. The physical act of exchanging your card can be more valuable than the card itself. Use it as a conversation starter to better understand where the person's needs, interests or hobbies lie. As you hand out your card, mention when you will follow up and also reinforce a message about the value of your business.

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