One of the many beautiful things about owning an online business is that there is very little overhead. Sure, there are some costs associated with being online, but they are nothing compared to the rent, insurance, upkeep, and supplies that traditional business owners face.
One of the most important, and often overlooked, expenses that online business owners share with their offline counterparts is business cards. I’m always surprised when I attend a live event at the number of people who don’t have business cards. Instead, they offer to write down their website or email address so that we can stay in contact after the event.
Unfortunately for them, the chances of me ever remembering where I have their information is at about zero. And, even if I do run across it, the chances of me remembering who the person is, are even less.
Initially, you may think you don’t need business cards because you do all of your business online. But that is small thinking. Yes, you can make money online without ever leaving your house. But, if you want a real business, that makes a real difference to a huge number of people, you’re going to have to ditch your pajamas once in awhile and step out into the real world.
Even if it’s a sacrifice, you should get to a live event within your first year in business. Not so much for what you will learn, but for who you will meet. You should also be doing in person networking locally on a consistent basis.
Live events are where you will meet future joint venture partners, people who will help promote your stuff, and people who you can confidently promote to your audience. They are also a great place to find clients. Live events can take your business from six to seven figures. Just because of who you meet.
But, just like you have to stand out to your market online, you’ve also got to stand out to the connections you make offline. Which you aren’t going to do if you write your contact information on the hotel napkin.
And, you aren’t going to do if you hand them a card you printed off your computer at home. Put some time, and $100 or so into this, and leave people with an unforgettable impression of you.
There are three things your business card needs to have to make sure it doesn’t blend in or get lost in the shuffle.
1. Your Picture
I know, many of you are feeling big time resistance to this one. But the best way for people to remember whose card they have in their hand, is to put your picture on it.
The downside to this is that it takes up a lot of room on that little card. But, people want to do business with people. Networking is about building relationships. Someone who looks at your card should see a person, not a card. You can make the picture small, have it as a background so that some parts of it can be covered with writing, or use the valuable space on the back of the card for your picture. Just make sure it’s on there.
2. Your Uniqueness
Again, this is about standing out. Avoid a black and white business card. Your card should be a reflection of your online branding. If you brand a certain color combination, use those colors on your card. If you have a distinctive logo, make it a central part of your card. If you have a catchy tag line, put it right there in the middle of your card.
Your contact should be able to look at your card and recognize that it’s yours by the uniquely branded look it has, before she even reads your name on it.
3. Your Contact Info (SOME of it)
Obviously, you’ll want your contact information on your business card. The question here is “what does that mean?” In the old days (a few years ago!), that meant address, phone, fax and email. Now, for online business owners that could mean website, email, phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube . . . it’s completely endless.
Resist the urge to shrink your font down to 1 point size and squeeze it all on. If you are doing things right, once a person is connected with you online, it will be easy for him to connect with you on all social media channels.
The “must have” information is your website and email address. Once someone is on your website, you have all the buttons for them to click and connect with you on social media right there. And it’s much more likely that people will connect this way than by typing in each of the urls listed on your business card.
Either pick the top 1-2 social media platforms you have a presence on and list them, or create an account at Xeeme.com (or a similar platform) and list that url. Xeeme.com allows you to have all of your profiles found in one place.
Finally, leave your phone number off your card. You can trade numbers when needed, or write your number on your card. Don’t worry about that looking bad. It makes people feel special that you don’t give your number out to just anyone.
I hope these tips have helped you realize you need a business card, or given you ideas on how to improve your existing business card. I’d love to hear other ideas about how you effectively design and use your business card. Let me know in the comments below.