I love to answer your question, but it is so generic. One thing that bothers me is the terms you use “creative” “attractive” “pretty”. This is not a competition to win design awards.
Here is an article I’ve just written on it. I never do second run on my articles due to time, so be warned of grammar and spelling mistakes
[b]Do Business Cards Work? And Why Not?[/b]By Fadi Zeidan ⋅ April 17, 2009
One of my members recently asked me what to put on a Business Card to hand out to Real Estate Investors. While I did provide an answer in private, I would like to share with the rest of you what I think about Business Card marketing.
“It’s an insult, get over it”
Couple of months ago, I was giving a Q&A on Real Estate Marketing to group of 20 Real Estate Investors and Real Estate Agents/Realtors. I usually hang around after the events to talk to people, and get to know the new guys and catch up with the ones I know.
One of the Investors approached me thanking me for the speech and asked me for my Business Card with his Business Card in hand. I was amused when I saw the shock on his face when I told him:
“I have business cards, but I don’t carry them with me. I’ve given them up before and no one really calls so I stopped giving them out to people sorry”
I know that was rude, but I honestly was trying to make a point to him. Hopefully he got it, although I doubt he will show up to any other events I speak in. Oh well.
So what was the point I was trying to convey to him? In all the years I have used Business Cards and I have simply handed them out to people I met, hardly anyone called me up. Those who contact me tend to be the ones I am always in contact with for various reason and have taken my number on their cell phones. So I honestly stopped giving them out to anyone who asks me for a Business Card unless I know they have a reason to contact me.
You don’t need a Business Card… Well… Not always…
Another participant in the event came and introduced himself and we had a nice chat. I don’t recall if he asked me for my Business Card as well, I’m sure if he did I would have given him the same answer.
Days later, I get a missed call and a message from him. He introduced himself again and reminded me of who he was. He explained that he had talked to someone in common between us and got my number from him. Now why he called is not relevant, but for this person, he didn’t need a Business Card to get a hold of me. He simply asked for my contact from other people and contacted me.
Yes you do need Business Cards, DUH!
There are many uses for Business Cards, we use them for Networking, Marketing, and introductions. The problem however is that Business Cards became such a regular tool that most people don’t understand how to use them effectively.
You should not handout Business Cards and hope people will act. Like any other Marketing Technique, Business Cards must have a system around them.
- They must convey a message
- Has call to action
- Has instructions to take that action
1. They must con very a message
I always tell people that Business Cards are cheap. Get as many different ones as you need. There is no law that states you must have one and only one Business Card design.
In the case on Real Estate Investors, you can have Business Card to hand out to other Investors. Are you a wholesaler? a Landlord and like to get prospect leads? rehabs?
You can have Business Card to hand to prospects with a targeted message to them. What do you have to offer them? Cash in days? you pay all fees? you can take care of existing tenants?
You can have Business Card to hand to Bankers and other professionals. What message you want them to hear every time they look at your Business Card?
Same with Real Estate Agents, although Agents tend to be restricted based on their Real Estate Broker’s template or guidelines. I don’t want to cause problems for Real Estate Agents but I would talk to my Real Estate Broker and ask them if I can change the wording on the Business Card or use the back of the card.
Speaking of the back of the Business Card… Should it be blank to write on it, or should you use it to elaborate on your message? Well, first it depends on the type of the Business Card and if it would be handed during a conversation or just handed out. Second, why not have both. Again, Business Cards are cheap.
2. Has call to action
Like any other Marketing campaign you do, you must have a call to action. You want whoever has your Business Card to do something with it. Without call to action, majority of the people will disregard it or save it for when they need it. We want their business now not when they want to, if they remembered us that is.
What can you tell them to act now? “Call now and get FREE Home Evaluation”, “go to www[dot]mysite[dot]com and be the first to see my hot deals”, and so on. You need to give them a reason to act or they simply won’t.
3. Has instructions to take that action
What is it that you want them to do as a result from getting your Business Card? Yes I know you want them to call you… But do you have a plan around that call? what about the wishy washy people who are not comfortable of that in person contact? What type of information you want them to give you?
One of the powerful tools we have is the web. Do you have extremely optimized marketing Websites? notice I said websites not website. Do you ask them the right questions? do you solicit their information and give them a reason to give you their contact information?
The website issue has been a hot button for me lately, and it is one of the biggest challenges Real Estate Agents and Investors have. I’ve been playing around with making Marketing optimized Websites with step-by-step instructions on how to convert leads. This is one of the projects that has been taking my time away from this site actually. Let me know if you’re interested, and I will let you know when I’m done.
Always be planning
Everything we do has to contribute to the overall goals. Granted, it is not easy and required planning and testing. But that is what makes it fun!