When setting up and growing a small business, who you know is just as important as what you know, if not more so. Making contacts, networking and leaving a lasting impression is essential, and the humble business card, along with well-designed letterheads and other professional stationery can be incredibly useful small business marketing tools for doing exactly this.
We realise that, with almost every aspect of our lives and businesses being run digitally now, it might sound odd that physical stationery is still so influential and important, but it is. And here’s why:
It's the personal touch you can actually touch
Technology may be our present and future, but there’s still something appealing about the tactility of the business card, and especially one that looks and feels good. A good business card will stay in the wallet or on the desk of your new acquaintance for months and even years, all because it’s something nice to keep as well as something useful to have. It’s a piece of your personality and is automatically more memorable because it’s an intriguing physical object, and the first impression your new contact will get of your business.
It lets you play the opportunist
The opportunity to drum up new business or meet new contacts can happen absolutely anywhere, whether you’re at a trade show or simply sitting in a bar, so you need to be able to quickly and easily pass on your details. Dictating a lengthy email address over the noise of your surroundings and scrambling to remember your phonetic alphabet is a pain in the backside, and swapping email addresses is terribly impersonal even in this day and age. Whip out your immaculately designed business card, however, and they’ve got everything they need to contact you, plus something nice they can keep.
It’s a lead generator
Receiving business cards is just as important as giving them out, and they’re great for follow-ups and lead generation. You’ll no doubt have already begun your professional relationships at the point of swapping cards, but keeping regular contact with your new acquaintances is equally as important and could eventually lead to new business or other golden opportunities that you might otherwise have missed. So don’t throw those cards away!
With the help of a good design and branding agency you can get your hands on a professional, stylish business card design that reflects your personality while also keeping inline with your company’s branding. Then, once you’ve got the design in the bag, it’s incredibly easy to get hundreds of business cards professional printed from the likes of moo.com or Vistaprint, with a huge choice of paper styles and for mere pennies. In other words, why wouldn’t you?
It’s good for consistency
As we just said, your business card design serves as an extension of your brand and keeps your message consistent. The same goes for your other stationery, such as your letterheads and invoices, which all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet to create a nice visual continuity. As professional documents, well-designed letterheads and invoices will lend a certain credibility to your business and help promote what your company stands for.
Back to technology…
While this post is primarily about why we shouldn’t be neglecting the physical aspects of our small business marketing efforts, we felt it necessary to also point out the importance of a well-designed email signature to round off your communicative image. Almost like an electronic extension of your business card, your email signature is yet another way of reinforcing your brand and reminding your contacts what you and your business are all about. It also adds an eye-catching, visual aspect to emails and is yet another way of adding extra credibility and professionalism to your company with very little effort indeed.
Successful small business marketing is all in the detail, and these physical finishing touches should be just as much a part of your marketing efforts as the big campaigns and the great website.