Business cards are one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways of getting your name out to potential customers. Dollar for dollar, they’re still one of the most powerful single business tools in which you can invest. Here are some ideas for getting maximum ROI out of your most cost-efficient advertising method.
Before you go to the printer
- Strongly consider hiring a professional graphic designer. First impressions are crucial, and your business card should look as neat and professional as your paint jobs.
- Collect business cards of other painting contractors, and design yours so it stands out from the competition.
- Avoid using standard clip art. A custom logo brings credibility and brand awareness.
- Make sure the look of your cards is consistent with your letterhead, logos and any other marketing materials you have. Consistent branding will help people remember your company and generate business.
- Build credibility and differentiate yourself from the competition by including logos of any business organizations with which you are affiliated. Examples: PDCA, Better Business Bureau, etc.
- Consider printing your services or useful things like calendars and sports schedules on the back.
- Try magnetic business cards. Once placed on a file cabinet or a refrigerator (at work or the office), they often stay in place for months or years.
- If you have a website, include the address on your card. Ditto your e-mail address.
- Consider setting up an auto-respond informational email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) to print on your card. Set this address up in the mode that automatically triggers a response that thanks the person for contacting you and provides additional information about your company and services, along with a promise to follow-up personally within 24 hours.
- Include your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) on your card. Examples: “Faux Finish Specialist to the Stars” or “Fire, Water and Smoke Damage Experts.” Whatever sets you apart from the competition; make sure your card tells your story.
- Consider including a coupon or discount on your card as a way to get people to remember you.
- Do you have Spanish-speaking painters or supervisors? Consider adding “Se habla español” to your cards.
OK, you got your box of cards...now what?
- Carry a few with you at all times. Don’t miss opportunities by leaving them in your truck.
- Use a business card wallet or other holder to keep them in good shape. Handing out wrinkled or worn cards sends the wrong message.
- Keep all info on your cards current. Crossing out old information looks unprofessional. If you change your phone number, address, website, etc., get new cards.
- Include your business card with all correspondence. Even if someone throws away the letter, they often keep the card.
- Giving your card too quickly can be perceived negatively. One method is to ask for a new contact’s card first, then offer yours.
- Encourage people to jot down notes from your meeting on the back of your card. Then they’re more likely to keep them.
- Or jot down a personal note (example: your cell phone number, if it’s not already on your card) on the back of your card when handing one out. Again, the card is more likely to be saved.
- Give two or three cards away at a time. That way, your contacts can distribute them to other people.
- Post your cards at your Sherwin-Williams store, and at any community bulletin boards at supermarkets, schools, libraries, etc. in your area.
- If someone you meet seems too busy or harried to take your card in person, send him or her your card later by mail with a follow-up note.
- Consider giving them to your painters to hand out to their friends and contacts.
- Try working with professionals from non-competing but related trades (drywallers, carpenters, electricians, decorators, etc.) and pass out each other’s cards to prospective clients.