The very best Business Card ideas

Keep reading if the title of this post brought you to me ” trust me, I’ll deliver after some intro.

When you have a blog like Talking Story, people will find you doing searches.

It’s pretty interesting being able to see what they’d typed into their browser search box, and which of my landing pages pop up for them – and the most frequent searches are not for “Rosa Say,” “Say Leadership Coaching,” “Talking Story,” or even “Managing with Aloha” (I wish it were”).

Management versus leadership” comes up a lot, as does “define values,” and “responsibility and accountability” probably leads the pack. “Courage versus Fear” has been a hot one too. I also get a lot of visitors looking for definitions of assorted Hawaiian words – however not once yet has a search come up for the one I talk about the most – aloha (with 4,590,000 results I’m too far down the pack). It goes to show you just how internationally known and understood aloha is.

So this was the search which brought someone to me yesterday: “what to put on business cards for the unemployed.” The search spiders brought them to this post I’d written a while back: Business cards fall under the category of: It probably wasn’t what they were looking for, but hopefully it sparked something for them, because their search did for me!

My mom still tells everyone that one of the best gifts I ever gave her (besides her grandchildren, and dedicating my book to her) was when I printed “calling cards” for her after she’d retired. I made 500 of them (250 is affordable, 500 begs commitment) and wrapped the box up with a new Book of Days. On my gift card I’d written,

“You have way too much talent to retire, so toot your own horn and let people know what they’re missing. Now you can do what you love on your own time. Besides, you’re really good at the things you love to do.”

Her “calling cards” were standard size business cards. They were professional in appearance (versus hearts and flowers) and printed on both sides. On one side was your standard business card stuff – her name, address, phone number, and this “company name:” THE STUFF LEGACIES ARE MADE OF. The job title I gave her was “Creative Force.” I also put her “hours of operation” after her phone number – just so whoever she gave them to wouldn’t call her too early (her time) or too late (my mom is not a night person.)

On the second side, I wrote a blurb for her in quotations, with my name and my title (I was some corporate executive with a fancy title at the time.) In other words, a testimonial and endorsement about her “services” written by a former “client.”

“Marie Protacio has been an invaluable resource for me, and I recommend her services highly. When she works for you, you are assured she works with your best interests in mind, for she possesses an extraordinary amount of empathy, and uncanny intuition. Best of all, she is a pure joy to be around.”
—Rosa Say, whatever-my-title-was-then

My mom started to use them the day I gave them to her, and today she is still one of the most active freelancing seniors I know. My calling cards certainly aren’t the only reason – my mom is pretty amazing – but I like to think they helped her get started.

On the cards she has today, her list of services are in a colored border on the right side of the front (contact info is to the left.) The blurb I had on the back has been replaced by three others from her “real clients.”

Right now, I have one business card for Say Leadership Coaching, and another one as author of Managing with Aloha. Sometimes I give people both of them: the mere fact that they are different guarantees me that people read them completely – they want to know what the difference is.

Both are one-sided, and when it’s time for me to re-order (very shortly) I’m adding some verbiage to the backs – for as I did write in that other post my Googler found, in my opinion business cards are greatly underestimated sales tools, and a blank back is valuable billboard real estate going to waste. I might even do one for Talking Story ” David got me thinking about this in his post (if you click in, read the comment thread too).

If you get business cards for free from your company as one of the so-called perks of the job, I’d wager they don’t do you enough justice (another one of those auto-pilot processes that annoy me), and you should offer to pay for them yourself in exchange for the opportunity to get more creative with them.

So what I’m driving at, (yes, it does take me a while sometimes”) is that I think printing a business card if you are presently unemployed and job-hunting is a marvelous idea. Do it!

Think of it as your calling card. Just imagine: in a stack of job applications on a prospective employer’s desk, yours may very well be the only one with a current business card clipped to it that says who you are, not who you were.

If you have some other ideas on this, or phrases you can suggest to print on business cards, please comment below. I’ve got a post heading I need you to help me deliver on!

And just to let you know, Wayne’s the expert on search engine optimization stuff. This is a great example: Blog visitor logs as helpful assistance.

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  1. says

    Great advice Rosa. In addition to differentiation by using both sides of the card, I think a good heavy stock will help make the card noticeable.
    Here is a link to one of our brick and mortar heating and a/c customers. I understand they have pretty decent pricing on b-cards.

  2. says

    Rosa, as usual you are right on the money. Good business cards are a powerful marketing tool that are very underrated and sadly underutilized. They say so much about a person and their values, including what information is placed on the card, and how it’s presented. The back of the card is, as you correctly pointed out, neglected marketing territory, that can provide some benefits of the products and services being offered.
    Job seekers should always use a calling card that outlines their job goal and their employment qualifications. As networking tools, business and calling cards are an often overlooked staple that deserves more attention.