How to Create a Competitive Advantage Using Your Business Card

Imagine you’re a marketer attending an AWAI event looking to find and hire a new copywriter.

During the event, you meet a copywriter named Bill. After your conversation, you exchange business cards. And while you were impressed by Bill, you’re not impressed by his card.

It’s on thin, cheap paper with just his basic information: name, address, phone, email, his website, and a graphic that looks like it was one of those free graphics that comes in Publisher.

It has an amateurish feel to it—like he put it together and printed it off at home the night before.

Then you meet Sharon. She’s as equally impressive as Bill. She presents you with her business card which is printed on high-quality paper, professional-looking, and creative.

Her logo is unique and obviously professionally done. She has a benefit statement front and center on her card telling you what she can do for you. On the back of her card, she has several testimonials from impressive clients.

Which copywriter would you call first?

Sharon, obviously.

Which business card above most closely resembles your card?

If you said Bill, or hesitated even just a little before saying Sharon, you’ll want to continue reading because I’m about to reveal the huge number of opportunities and advantages you are currently missing out on.

Your business card is often the first impression you give. And often it’s the only thing left behind for your prospect to remember you by.

What a business card done right can do:

  • Reflect whether you know how to position yourself and whether you’ve taken the time to do so.
  • Show a sample of the type of work you do. Great card, great work. Not so great card, not so great work.
  • Provide powerful, lasting advertising with many impressions. A great card will be held on to, shown to others, and talked about.
  • Capture attention and win the battle for which card is looked at and held on to.
  • Give you a competitive advantage. Especially when you are at an event where you are competing for the same business as others and your prospect has both your card and your competition’s.
  • Make a statement about who you are.

Is your card something you are proud of?

If not, here are eight things to consider and/or do that will help you create a card to win your prospect and his or her business:

1. Don’t cut corners. Don’t print your own business card. A free business card printed on your home computer can potentially cost you way more money in lost business than the price of having your card professionally printed. It says you aren’t serious about your business. It gives the impression you aren’t making any money from your writing business and aren’t any good. Use the best materials. Great quality paper can set you apart.

2. Use an email address that reflects and advertises your business. Buy a domain name and use it for your business. Using Gmail or whatever local email provider you have communicates you don’t have a real business. If you’re worried about having to check multiple email addresses, realize you can set up your website email so you can send and receive emails from Gmail (without anybody knowing it).

3. Design your card with a purpose in mind. Are you trying to get leads for your business? Create a strategic alliance? Find someone to do a joint venture with?

Think about how you want to position yourself and tie your unique positioning into your card. You might even consider having more than one card created for the different types of actions you want prospects to take. For example, you could have one for asking for referrals, one for setting up meetings or follow-up, and another for making an offer in exchange for their email address.

4. Double the power of your card. Instead of wasting the real estate on the back of your card, print on both sides of your business card. Here are some ways you can use the back of your card:

  • Include testimonials from well-respected experts in your niche. For example, my card includes a testimonial from Ziglar, which is a well-known and respected brand in the self-development niche. I also have a testimonial from Matt Furey, who is considered one of the best email copywriters in the world.
  • Print a message with blank areas to fill in a name, the date you met, and how you will follow up. To illustrate, here’s what your message would look like using parenthesis to show the areas you would leave blank and what they would be used for. “(Name), pleasure meeting you on (date) at (place or event). Please do follow up with me about: (items you discussed). Thanks!”
  • Use a QR Code (Quick Response Code) that connects them to a promotion, your website, or an offer page. A QR code is a unique barcode that lets prospects or clients instantly know about your service by scanning the code with a smartphone which will take your prospect to a mobile version of your website page. If the QR code is the only thing on the back of your card, you’ll want to include a call to action with the QR code.
  • Create an offer for your bait piece and drive them to your site to sign up for it. For example, offer a free report when they visit your website and sign up for your free e-newsletter.

5. Put a photo of yourself on your card. This can be especially effective if you pick a color shirt or look that will be a bit different and memorable, and then wear that same color shirt at networking events. For example, self-made millionaire, marketing coach, and speaker, James Malinchak, picked a deep-purple shirt and created all his marketing wearing that color shirt. Then he wore the same color purple shirt at events, and it helped people tie him to the picture on his marketing material. Another idea is to add a caricature of yourself to your card. Most people won’t do that, making it a memorable addition.

6. Use alternative materials. Are you a video script or sales writer? Why not create a business card DVD with a sample on it? You can also use metal, wood, and other substances to make your business card stand out.

7. Get creative. Using a creative approach is an excellent way to stand out, show uniqueness, and be remembered. There are many ways to get creative. For example, come up with a more creative business title like “Profit Producer” or “Chief Creative Idea Maker.” Give it a unique look like a folded-over business card printed like money or a passport on the outside. Create a wooden coin with your business information on it.

Use a tri-fold card, a card that folds out to three times the size of a regular business card, printed on both sides to create a mini sales letter. You can include a headline, bullets with benefits, a testimonial or two, and a strong call to action.

8. Include a unique twist. Do you already have business cards you like with a plain back? What about including an element on the back and laminating it? For example, you could glue shredded money to the back of your card (you can buy bags of it) to represent the money your prospects are missing out on.

A new card can be like a new outfit and give you a feeling of confidence showing the new, improved, revitalized, and current business you represent.

Invest the $40 it takes for a professionally printed 2-sided card and it will pay dividends the next time you hand your card to a marketer deciding between you and your competition.

Use these tips so that when your first impression of your work is your business card, it makes your prospect say, “Wow! Now that’s a great card!” and prompts him or her to follow up with you personally.

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Published: January 5, 2012

2 Responses to “How to Create a Competitive Advantage Using Your Business Card”

  1. Hello, I designed my business card for my Life Coaching practice and had it printed professionally. I did put advertisment for our Hawai'i vacation rental on the back. What do you think of that? Good? Bad, for the primirary business?
    Thanks for you comment, MF

    Guest (Marie-France)January 7, 2012 at 2:31 am

  2. Over the years I’ve ordered dozens of business cards that were printed with less than expected quality. Last year my company in Pembroke Pines, FL printed some business cards with PCA Delta, and they were great. I’ve been printing with them ever since. If you need business cards printed go to pcadeltaprinting dot com.

    Guest (Latoya Smith)April 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

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