Business Cards – It’s more than just your phone number!

We all have them … that big stack of business cards that you’ve collected, just sitting in your desk drawer. How often do you look at them or use them? Did they make an  impression when they were handed to you? If not – why not?

You’ve heard the old saying – You only get one chance to make a first impression. After you’ve “wowed” them with your great handshake and winning personality, your business card is the most tangible way they have to remember you. Keep that great first impression going with a quality, attractive card.

The ultimate goal of your business card is to help you sell your products and services. The longer your prospects keep your card, the more opportunities exist for them to contact you. The best way to get your prospects to hold onto your business card is by adding customer value. The back of your business card is the perfect place to do this. The most important thing when developing a value-added business card is to come up with something that your customers will find useful.

Add customer value to your business cards:

Adding a coupon for a percentage-off discount or buy-one, get-one-free offer is a great way to get both repeat business and new customers in the door. Make sure your offer is good enough to be considered valuable to your prospects, and make sure everyone gets one of your cards!

Offer referral bonuses
Offer free services, gifts, discounts or even cash to existing customers who refer new customers to you. You can use the back of the card to detail the information and include a referral code; or you could have a folded business card perforated so one-half of the card will easily tear off to be given away. Again, make sure the referral bonus is worth your customers’ while.

Punch card
Turn a portion of your business card into a punch card that is stamped or punched each time your customers make a purchase. Once they have all the places punched, they’ll get a free gift, bonus or discount – as well as a new card so they can continue punching.

Special web offer
You can try adding a special website URL for a page that offers a discount or bonus offer for your business card holders. Make the URL a little difficult to remember, and they’ll at least have to take the card home and to their desk to see what the offer is. If your offer is good enough you might generate repeat business immediately.

Useful information
Adding useful information such as conversion charts, tipping fee tables, calendars and athletic and other event schedules are always safe bets for keeping your business cards out of File 13. If you know your target audience well, you should be able to come up with information that they’ll find useful enough to carry around in their wallets, briefcases and purses for several months at a time.

Great tagline
You don’t necessarily have to add value to the card itself. You can add value to your entire company by incorporating motivating taglines in your business card design. A tanning salon could enhance the perceived value of their service by billing themselves as the “Summerless Suntan Specialists,” for instance; or they could add a powerful call to action like “Get 10 percent off your tanning lotion when you schedule your next appointment.”

Adding customer value to your business cards is one of the surest ways to get your branded campaign in front of hot prospects over and over again. Give your prospects something they’ll truly benefit from, emphasize the benefits of buying from your company, and you’ll reap your own benefits from a well-run branded campaign.

Cool Customer Appreciation Ideas

Customer appreciation programs are an important aspect of the relationships you build with your customers. Not every business has a customer appreciation program, and of those that do, not every business gets its customer appreciation program right.  You don’t have to have a formal customer appreciation program to give your best customers something that demonstrates how much you appreciate their business. Find inspiration in the following customer appreciation ideas; each is a winning way to show your customers you really care.

Personal thank-you
The all-time best way to demonstrate customer appreciation costs only a few minutes of your time.  Pick up the phone and call your best customers and personally thank them for choosing you. Your thank you should not be a sales pitch (though it’s OK to ask for suggestions, comments and if there is anything you can do to help your customers).

Showcase your customers in your newsletter
Use your newsletter and/or email newsletter as a forum to thank specific customers.  Spotlight your best customers and include their story, how they came to you, and how you helped them.  Make sure you specifically thank them for choosing you, and include photos, links to videos and other information your other customers will find interesting.  Publicly thanking your best customers is a great way to show your appreciation, and when you create a story around the thank you your other customers will relate to your brand. Social media additionally offers excellent platforms for similar customer appreciation strategies.

Birthday freebie
Many restaurants incorporate this strategy into their customer appreciation programs, but any business can take advantage of birthday giveaways. From oil changes to portfolio reviews to grocery discounts to fashion buy-one-get-ones, no matter what industry you’re in you can deliver a unique birthday giveaway to demonstrate customer appreciation. Added bonus: Birthday freebies create an incentive for customers to give you their contact information for permission-based marketing.

Event tickets
If there’s a hot concert, sporting event or other event going on in your town, get tickets to give away to your best customers.  Giving away event tickets is a great way to show customer appreciation. If you plan ahead enough, you can set up a contest through your website with the tickets as the prize.

Personalized gift
And by personalized, I don’t mean a wine bottle with their name on it.  Those kinds of gifts can be nice, certainly, but what I suggest is a gift that meets each specific customer’s tastes. Event tickets (as mentioned) and restaurant gift certificates are two easy ideas, but you’ll really impress customers if you give them something related to past conversations.  Does one of your customers love rock climbing? Give him a gift certificate to a local indoor climb zone. Have a die-hard Rangers fan in your list? Give her tickets to the next big home game. Such personalized gifts are meaningful to your customers, and they’ll feel you truly listen to their needs.

Rewards program
Print a loyalty rewards card to stamp every time customers make a purchase, and give them something free (or a discount) after so many visits. That’s just one way to frame an ongoing rewards program, which gives your customers incentive to buy.  Make sure your rewards program offers excellent value for your customers to lends a sense of appreciation.

Feedback contest
Ask your customers to submit feedback in the form of suggestions on how you can improve, then promise to incorporate the winning idea and give the submitter a reward – anything from a freebie to a gift basket to a family vacation. You’ll get a ton of great ideas for improving your business, and your customers will appreciate you for listening to them.

Refer customers
One of the best ways to show customer appreciation is to send business to your customers. Many industries include non-competing businesses that complement one another. One example would be the travel industry, which includes hotels, restaurants and transportation services. Sending business to your customers will not only demonstrate your appreciation, it will also motivate them to send business back to you.

By Brian Morris on March 1, 2013

Postcard Marketing Campaign

Postcard printing remains one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to small businesses, yet many companies have yet to engage in postcard marketing.  If you’ve been hesitant to try postcard marketing, perhaps for the postage investment, or if postcard marketing hasn’t worked for you in the past, I issue the following challenge:  launch a highly-targeted postcard marketing campaign this month.  The following will walk you through a small-scale campaign so you can not only learn how to market effectively with postcards, but how to turn your investment into predictable and measurable profits.

Step 1:  Identify your best customers
First, make sure you know who your best customers are.  I’m talking about your top one to three customers, those who buy more from you than anyone else.  Now, determine their shared demographics: age, gender, income, employment status, geographic location, established purchasing habits, what they buy from you, how much they spend per purchase and anything else  you know about them.  Write your best customer demographics down.

Step 2:  Develop your offer
Decide what type of deal your best customers are likely to respond to.  How does your product or service relate to what’s going on right now? Consider upcoming holidays or local events, whether or not school is in session, local sporting events, even the weather.

Step 3:  Write your postcard copy
Your copy should incorporate a headline that highlights your special offer, the features and benefits of your sweaters, a time limit and a compelling call to action.  Make sure your customers know what to do to redeem your offer.  I suggest having them bring your postcard in as a coupon, thus making it easy to track your response rate.

Step 4:  Design your postcard
Your postcard design should make your copy even more compelling with large headlines, bulleted benefits and natural flow toward your call to action.

Step 5:  Consider your mailing list
You should always maintain a mailing list of your customers – past and present.  Anytime you consider a mailing campaign, these people should be including in your recipient list, in addition to potential customers. To reach potential customers – there is no “sure-fire” way to hit the perfect group of people … it is all very dependent on your product or service. A home services type of business (maid service, AC, landscaping) may benefit from targeting neighborhoods that fit certain criteria – age of home, value of home, or how long the current residents have lived there. If you have a retail location offering services most people need (such as auto insurance, hair stylist, pet care products), you may benefit from a “blanket” coverage of surrounding homes or businesses.  Highly targeted mailing lists are available for purchase. The cost of these lists depend upon the specificity of your criteria and the number of records returned.

Step 6:  Print and mail your postcards
Have your postcards printed on premium paper stock.  This lends an impression of quality, which is how you want your products to be considered.  You can address, stamp, and mail your postcards yourself; but you’ll save a lot of money, time and energy by having your printing company handle it for you.  Some printing companies are full-service: you can have your postcards written, designed, printed, addressed and mailed under one roof.  Typically, this will save time and money, and make your entire effort more cohesive.

Step 7:  Measure your results
Make sure you track the number of customers who redeem your postcard for your special offer.  Also measure the difference in sweater sales during the promotion; customers will tell their friends, who will also come in to buy.  By measuring your results, you’ll not only know your return on investment, you’ll have a base to test against for future campaigns.


What if your campaign fails?

If your postcard marketing campaign fails, evaluate the process and identify where you went wrong.  Talk to your best customers and ask if they received the promotion, and why they didn’t buy.  You could have misjudged their perceived value of your offer.  Or, your copy might have been lackluster.  Whatever it is, identify what went wrong and correct it, then try again.  After a few postcard marketing campaigns, you’ll master what works and you’ll have a profit-producing marketing strategy that will serve you well for decades to come.

Portions taken from an article by Brian Morris, 2/13/13