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How to Make Your Business Card Call for Action
by Christopher Brunner

An old marketing adage goes something like this:

"He who has a thing to sell
And goes and whispers in a well,
Is not as apt to get the dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollers."

Most business cards whisper. If they speak to your prospect at all, they do so quietly. Many don't say much at all. And because of that, a potential customer never learns about your award-winning service department, or your extended hours, or your playroom area for the kids.

Instead, your card is tossed into the wastebasket and your competitor's card is carefully tucked into a Rolodex.

True, business cards do more than convey the information that's printed on the card. A card that's ugly, dirty, printed on perforated paper or full of corrections screams loud and clear that you're an amateur. No matter how many wonderful services you offer, your card brands you as unprofessional and you lose business. A clean, creative, professionally printed and visually attractive card, on the other hand, conveys a positive first impression that lingers long after your initial meeting.

Still, a savvy businessperson knows that adding marketing-oriented text to a business card in addition to contact information pays off.

One strategy is to add text that gives specific customer benefits.

For example, your card can tell people how easy you are to do business with by adding a slogan or tagline such as:

  • Easy to PAY - "Credit cards and competitor's coupons accepted"
  • Easy to FIND - "Located next to ___ in the heart of ___"
  • Easy to BUY - "Walk-ins welcome. No appointment required."
  • Easy to BUY - "Express check-in and check-out."
  • Easy to get EXPERT ADVICE - "Pharmacist on duty around the clock."

Better yet, your business card can be a marketing tool that asks for your prospect's business. Asking people via your business card to visit your store or log onto your website is a great idea. But in order for this strategy to be effective, you need to be specific, and you need to give people a reason to do what you request.

Consider the following types of phrases often found on business cards:

  • Visit today
  • Stop by and see us!
  • Customer service is our priority
  • In business for 25 years

The first two immediately raise the question, "Why?" Why should someone come visit your store? Your prospect is busy, and she's not stupid. She knows you want her to come into your showroom, fall in love with the latest model, and walk out thousands of dollars poorer. So you need to give her a reason to come in.

These calls to action are much more powerful:

  • "Present this card for a free watch battery"; or
  • "Ask for Fred to receive your first oil change free!"; or
  • "Log onto for current discount coupons!"

The last two phrases sound good but are so overused that they're almost meaningless. What do they actually say to your customer?

Do you you promise to return phone calls within 15 minutes, or that you provide a late-model loaner car while theirs is being serviced?

Do you offer jewelry repair is done on-site by a certified technician, or that you offer a complimentary two-year extension to the manufacturer's warranty?

Then say so on your business card! Let the holder know why you are the person they should come to when they need the services you provide.

Using a business card merely to convey contact information is downright wasteful. Your business card can be the most portable, affordable and versatile marketing method you use - but not if it's quiet about your services or shy about your accomplishments.

Investing in full color business cards that grab attention and appear more valuable will help you to gain new prospects. Your clients will love them, and you will enjoy handing them out.

Author: Christopher Brunner, Springfield, Missouri, USA