Do you ever get an article in the mail from someone with a business card attached? What do you think when you receive it? Most people think how thoughtful the person who sent it is. “They thought of me.” Your customers are the same.

Occasionally, you’ll run across an article in the local paper or in the trade magazine that you feel might be of interest to your customers. Shoot them a copy. Have someone in your office hand write on every copy sent that you thought they might find this of interest. Staple a business card in the corner and mail it en masse. It keeps your name in front of customers. It might stimulate them to act on a repair they’ve been meaning to have done. Regardless, it will help them to remember you favorably.

Magnetic Business Cards
This type of card accomplishes two things at once. It’s a business card and it becomes a refrigerator magnet. You can buy magnets sized for business cards with self adhesive glue.

A better approach is to get an ad specialties company to produce them as magnets. Companies that offer business card magnets are not hard to find. Many of the websites listed earlier provide them.

Photo Business Cards
Maybe because I’ve got a radio face, photo business cards have never been my style. I’ll never use one. However, I know people who do use them and swear by them. Proponents of photo business cards say the picture personalizes the card. One salesperson told me his prospects have remarked several times on phone calls that “I’m looking at you now.”

Looking at him?

They were looking at his business card.

Sales training superstar and “Tec Daddy” Charlie Greer adds that the photo business card’s primary is to help people remember who you are. When people collect business cards, all prospects see are the business cards.

Plastic Business Cards
Here is another way to stand out, look different, and keep the card from getting wadded up. The plastic business card has the added benefit of being washable. Plastic cards can be especially effective when combined with useful information on the back. The card can become a wallet reference. There are many sources for plastic cards.

Tent Business Cards
A tent or folded business card gives you more room to communicate a marketing message. You can run promotions while keeping the front relatively clean. If you have lots of products and services, this is the way to list them all. Tent cards are also made to paperclip to articles and clippings for mailing to customers. They are also selfstanding, which can be useful at a trade show or home show.

What Should Be On Your Card?
Online Contact Info. Don’t forget to include your website and your email address on business cards. Spammers won’t harvest your email address from your business card. They’ve got other sources (besides, they’ve probably already got it – and the spammers do seem to cooperate).

Titles. Have fun with your business cards. Give people unusual titles. Randall’s title at the Service Roundtable is “Plumbing Czar.” Janet is “Chief of Staff” (that’s actually a serious title, which we copied from other Internet companies).

Tom McCart used “Assistant Buyer.” When the customer asked about it, he said his job was to help them buy the right system for their home.

How Many Should You Pass Out?
When you pass out business cards to people, give them an extra card or two. Tell them to give them to a friend or neighbor who might need your services.

Use Multiple Cards
Some of the business cards discussed cost a little bit. You may not want to pass them out randomly. Rather than letting that restrain you, get several business cards made. There’s no rule that says you must use only one.

When I worked for Decision Analyst, my primary practice was technology companies. When working with them, I used a card that proclaimed me to be the head of the “Advanced Technology Group.”

That was fine when I was doing work for Earthlink or Ericsson. It wasn’t appropriate to give to someone at People Magazine when discussing a cover test. The simple solution was to print a second business card, omitting any reference to the Advanced Technology Group.
Change the title. Change the look. Change the material.

Water Temperature Cards
Water temperature cards are similar to the temperature and UV cards. They use a strip to measure bath or other water temperature. Of course, you are limited to plastic cards if they’re designed to be submerged. Water temperature cards are available at http://www.extra-mile.com/color.

Matt Michel spoke at HVAC Comfortech 2004 on marketing This rant was solely the opinion of Matt Michel, CEO of the Service Roundtable (www.ServiceRoundtable.com), an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at letters@contractingbusiness.com.