8/06/2007

Got a Business Card?

Got a Business Card?
Copyright © Scott Bradley

Have you ever been at an event...someone asks for your business card...and you have to say..."I don't have one?"...How did that make you feel? Unprofessional? Un-prepared? Frustrated?

For me I would personally feel a combination of all of those feelings because that is just the way I am.

When you think about it...your personal business card is the "Cherry On Top" to your personal brand. Why not take full advantage of the opportunity to leave your mark on the new person you just spoke with?

You now may be thinking three things...
1) Where can I get personal business cards for myself, and what should I put on them?
2) How can I effectively use these business cards to build my brand in the marketplace?
3) How do you effectively give out your business cards?

The Answers...
1) You can either get business cards professionally designed...OR...you can get them FOR FREE by going to http://www.VistaPrint.com
If you get your business cards professionally done be sure that it sticks out by being on nice cardstock paper with a flashy background. On the front of the business card be sure to have the usual information on the card...Name, Number, Blog Address, Website, E-mail...and then on the back of the card make the text "raised" so when you hand the card to someone they will feel the raised text and naturally turn it over. When they turn it over have the back split up with the things you do by saying..."Specializing in...______ _______ _______" This will be a great branding tool not only helping yourself build your brand, but your business as well.

If you want to get the FREE business cards by Vista Print...just pick the background that works best for you, and then do the best you can to put all of the information that you feel is important to go on the card...remember less is more.

2) You can use your business cards a myriad of ways!
-At networking events
-Career Fairs
-Parties
-Organizational Meetings in your local area
-Trade Shows
-As marketing tools if you create a "sizzle card" directing traffic to a phone number or website
-Professional seminars on real estate, stocks, network marketing, entrepreneurship

3) Now you may be thinking...Ok I have the card set up, I have the places to hand them out...but what is the most effective way to hand them out?

Most would think that at networking events you just go up to people and give them your card and walk away...

If you think about it...how effective is that? Why would you just go up to someone and give them a card without building some sort of rapport with them?...I don't know about you but if I was on the receiving end of that...I would feel like I am being treated like a number...and people don't like being treated as a number.

To effectively use your business card to help you and not hurt you here is what I would recommend.

1) Introduce yourself to the person you want to speak with. "Hello my name is Scott...What brought you to the event today?"
2) Ask them the questions that I have spoken about in other posts on "Networking Effectively"
3) Make some other conversation around the answers that you receive and share a little bit about yourself....BUT...don't "barf" over your new friend with an overload of information.
4) Before ending the conversation politely ask. "Do you by chance have a card?" If they do say, "Great, here is mine! It has been nice talking with you."

Until next time!
Have a fabulous day!

Best,
Scott Bradley

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I will no longer be posting to this blog.
Click http://www.NetworkingEffectively.com to visit the new blog
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8 comments:

Dan Schawbel said...

The problem with VistaPrint is that it's poor for Personal Branding unless you pay extra to have a personalized look. There are too many people who share the same templates, so it's harder to stand out.

Scott Bradley said...

Dan,

Interesting. Makes sense.
You would have to agree that it is a good start to get some sort of business card to work with starting off...and then as you begin to collect others, you can get ideas for your personal card when you choose to design one.

Meredith said...

I agree that Vistaprint's free cards do not give off the most professional impression.
I use ooprint.com I find they have a larger selection of free card designs.
If you decide to spend a little more money, they have a large variety of blank models (upload your own images/photos), professional cards (upload your own logo), and blogger cards, which allow you to advertise your website and personalize a tag cloud on your card!

David Mullings said...

Great post about the business cards and how to properly hand them out.

We designed our cards using templates from www.templatemonster.com The package came with designs for our letterhead, envelopes and business cards (then we tweaked them a bit). If you want the professional look for less than hiring a graphic designer, that is a great bet.

Our design is two-sided, the company logo is on the back and the card is vertical, not horizontal.

We also printed 5000 for each of us at $125 per 5000. These cards are full gloss, uv-coated and people love them because they are so different from the typical business cards so we stand out, especially because of the coating.

Keep up the great work and looking forward to the next post.

Jason Jacobsohn said...

I would have to agree with Dan about VistaPrint for the free cards. If you pay a little bit, then you can remove the VistaPrint logo and can put information on both sides. I think that VistaPrint is a very viable option if you are in between jobs or need your own card for branding. Scott, I like your tip about using raised text on one of the sides of the card. I never thought about that.

Scott Bradley said...

Jason,

Thanks for commenting!
I put the VistaPrint option for those who are looking for a quick free option...yeah its not as "unique" and yeah not as "cool"...but if you are looking for cards that do the job...quickly...and cost effectively it is a good option.

The idea about the raised text was not my own, as I recieved it after going to a rich dad real estate investing seminar. When I heard it I am like! Cool!

Anonymous said...

I considered VistaPrint, but it charges $4.95 for shipping and it does not give you very many cards. Places such as Office Depot or Staples are $5 or $10 more expensive, but you get 1000 cards instead of 250, resulting in a much lower cost per card.

Chris Sandberg said...

From my experience Office supply store cards are of much lower quality that the free Vistaprint cards if you choose the cheapest option. Sure you may pay less per card than the free VistaPrint cards, but all you get are these crappy plain black and white cards. If you were to get a card of comparable design and quality of the VistaPrint cards you would actually be paying more per card, so I think VistaPrint is still a good deal.

As far as appearing professional. I don't think you should rely too much on your business cards to make you appear professional. I know if I meet someone who I am very impressed with in person, the way their card looks make no difference. You should rely on your own presence to convey a professional image. Paul Allen, http://www.paulallen.net/, a very successful entrepreneur in Utah, uses VistaPrint's free cards and I don't think people think of him as any less professional for doing so.

Upgrading to a nicer unique design withough a logo on the back, may be worth the little extra money, but the Free vistaprint cards are still better than nothing.