In a recent networking meeting I met Lisa Grey of Step 1. Lisa provides concierge, professional, and administrative help to small business owners. She said she’d seen my business card on the desks of several of her clients and was curious to meet me. I inwardly gave myself a high-five. Over the last two or three years I’ve made networking my primary marketing tool. It’s gratifying to know my business cards are out there and getting noticed.
Later, I began wondering whether the shape of my card made it so notable. It’s not a standard business card—it’s a fold-over card.
A fold-over business card is the same size as a standard card but twice the thickness. The top of the card is a fold that when opened doubles the size of the card. My experience is that fold-over cards rarely lie flat. The fact that they pop up like a tent is actually an advantage. They garner more attention that way.
The marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson devoted a couple pages to talk about business cards in his book, Guerrilla Marketing Weapons: 100 Affordable Marketing Methods for Maximizing Profits from Your Small Business. He wrote
These days, you can employ fold-over business cards; the front has the old-fashioned information, and the rest is like a mini-brochure. People appreciate having complete information right on one small item along with the convenience of a business card.
His book was published in 1990 and his comments about the mini-brochure capability of the business card are as true now as they were then. The front of my business card has my business name, logo, tagline, and contact information. The old-fashioned information as Levinson puts it. Since I deal often deal with middle-aged networking partners, I decided to make the text large so it’s easy for older eyes to read it.
The Golden Space Inside
When a standard size, fold-over business card is opened up you get a page that’s 3.5″ wide and 4″ tall. While it’s true that’s not a lot of space, to a creative marketing person that space is a golden opportunity. It can be used to highlight the person’s or the company’s background information; talk about potential business opportunities, products, or services; provide space for illustrations or photos; pretty much whatever you want to convey.
Because business networking is a big part of my marketing, I decided to place my standard elevator talk on the inside. That way my card not only conveys important information about me, the inside copy becomes a mini portfolio piece of my copywriting skill.
Don’t Forget the Back
Most business cards only use the front side to convey information. That makes the back side a wasted marketing opportunity. Some enlightened individuals and companies put an appointment form or QR code on the back side of the card. Good ideas. Numbered/bulleted lists, taglines, or inspirational quotations are other possibilities. Want to leave the space empty for notes? That’s fine, if that’s your intent. Just remember the space is available.
On the back of my business card is this statement, “I believe in helping clients through networking with power partners. If you know any of these professionals, please introduce us.” I then list some of my best power partners, such as business coaches and web designers.
(What’s a power partner? It’s a special kind of referral partner. Since the term is unfamiliar even to some experienced networkers, I defined it on the card: professionals who have the same kind of clients, but don’t do the same kind of work.)
Why that statement? I wanted to capitalize on these two benefits of networking:
- I want to develop relationships to people who have complementary services to mine. I like to offer my clients several people they can contact or consider hiring for services I don’t offer, such as business law advice or graphic design. That way I become a greater resource to my clients.
- It helps me connect with people who have clients who might want my services. No business owner is good at everything. If the business owner already recognizes it’s prudent to hire my referrer, they may be willing to hire me to help with their copywriting or copy-editing needs.
I love how networking creates a win-win-win situation for the client and both power partners.
The Networking Advantages of Fold-Over Business Cards
Several referral partners of mine were impressed when they first saw my business card. Some by the thickness of the card stock before realizing the card was folded over. Others by the fact that my elevator talk was printed inside. They can read exactly what I do, who I do it for, and who I want to meet. It’s all there on the card. No need for them to scribble tiny notes on the back. Even if we never meet or talk again, they’ll have that information. And if they give my card to someone else, that person can read my elevator talk and determine whether it makes sense to contact me.
One thing I’ve learned about business networking is that effective networking requires multiple contacts to deepen relationships. Networking’s mantra of “Know, like, and trust” takes time and effort. Simply exchanging business cards isn’t enough. But my little brochure business card helps me make a great first impression. The fact that a fold-over card doesn’t lie flat on a desk, helps it keep making an impression for me months later.
If you do a lot of networking as part of your marketing tactics, I encourage you to borrow one of Jay Conrad Levinson’s guerrilla marketing weapons: the fold-over business card.
As Writing Jim, Jim Driggers provides copywriting and business process writing to owners of small and medium-sized businesses. His clients gain sales through marketing text that better resonates with their customers, and they save money when their employees follow guides rather than impulses. His clients give themselves the time to focus on what they do well when they leave their writing to Writing Jim.
For copywriting help with your print or online content or for help systematizing your business processes, contact Writing Jim at [email protected] or 925-231-5825. Visit www.writingjim.com for more information.