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Marketing ROI: Getting More Out of Your Business Cards

Samantha Hartley
Aug 18, 2007
The most important thing to understand about lines of communication with your customers is that everything is one. Everything about you communicates, whether you want it to or not.

Are you sending messages, or leaking them? Are you carefully crafting exactly what you want your intended audience to hear when they come in contact with a particular aspect of your business?

I want you to get a great Return On Investment from your marketing, more bang for your buck. So, let's look at one medium you probably are spending on already, but may not be using to the fullest.

How is Your Business Card's ROI?

Your most ubiquitous piece of stationery can be a powerhouse, but don't overload it. As with every other marketing activity, decide your intention for your card.

As I look now at some cards on my desk, I perceive these intentions: "I want my card to build my credibility." "I intend for my card to inform about ALL of my services." "I want to create a warm reminder of my brand promise." Sometimes, there is just the intention to provide contact info in a convenient fashion. That's under-utilizing this asset.

Business cards are the best value in the advertising medium. They're small, personal and usually hand-delivered. They're one of the first impressions you make. Most people will hang on to your card, even if they throw your brochure away.

At minimum, your card should contain the essence of your brand. The card's look and feel should be in harmony with the unique identity you are cultivating for your company. Whether you deliver it in person with a smile and a handshake, or it is passed to someone in a referral from your happy client, it should make a strong impression for you, consistent with all the other experiences someone could expect from your company.

My intention for my business cards is: "May these cards find their way to those who could be helped most by what I do." I think about that when I meet someone and hand them my card.

Be careful of leaking accidental messages. If your cards are flimsy, poorly printed or out of date, people might draw some conclusions about your attitude to your business - that you're cheap, inattentive to detail or not serious about your work.

Your card should include your brand promise (Value Statement), which may take the form of a tag line or slogan. This quick benefit statement will be a reminder each time your intended audience views your card.

Beyond brand essence and brand promise, what you include on your card depends on what the recipients of your cards need to know. Basic contact information is good, but don't list ways of contacting you that you don't prefer. For example, if you're seldom in your office, why list a land or fax line? If you don't have open office hours, you can leave off the physical address.

However, consider the impression made by having, or excluding, any of this information.

If you have a web site, definitely include it on your card, since that's making the best use of both of these assets.

Action plan: Assess your card's effectiveness against your intentions for it. How does it measure up? Could it be working more effectively for you?
About the Author
Samantha Hartley of Enlightened Marketing helps socially responsible entrepreneurs who are struggling with peaks and valleys in their businesses to generate a consistent stream of new, profitable clients. For FREE marketing tips sign up for our eZine at http://www.enlightenedmarketing.com
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