What does your business card say about you? Of course it lists your name, your company name and all your contact information. But what is it subconsciously saying to the person who receives it? “I feel so positive about my company that I spent $10 to get these cards printed at Mr. Speedy On-Line Printer.” “You are so important to me as a potential customer, that I’m using this free piece of clip art as my logo.” “I could have printed in full color, but it was more expensive, and I like blue anyway.”

I think you get the point. That little 3.5”x2” card is a mini billboard of you, the ultimate goal being to help you sell your products and services. What’s the saying? “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Your business card is often the first impression people get of you and your company. No matter how many wonderful services you offer, if your card brands you as unprofessional, 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 that initial meeting. Especially when you can’t meet the person face-to-face, and have to leave a card behind.

Have you ever gone to a business meeting or networking event and collected business cards from various companies? When you looked at their business cards what did you think? I know if I am offered a card that is really unique or has a professional appearance I get a favorable impression. When the card is designed really well I think WOW, this company must be successful. Everyone wants to be part of a successful business. How many people have not followed up or visited your website because they are turned off by what they see?

I know of one person who designed a card that was embossed, die cut, foil stamped, printed full color on a quality stock. They cost him about $.65 each. But guess what? He didn’t give them to everyone. You had to earn the “right” to get one of his cards. He had to talk to you and determine that you would potentially be a good client for him. Maybe that’s extreme, but that’s someone who appears proud, confident, and successful, based on the time, effort and cost he has put into his promotional materials. If he works that hard to get you as a client, won’t he work even harder to keep you?

Now a pretty card won’t immediately translate into increased sales. It’s all part of your total marketing package, which consists of your logo design, and all of your advertising and collateral materials. But the card is the first step, and it’s usually what people see first.

These days, you have to everything you can to get an edge on the competition. Start with the little things. Start with your business card.