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Article :: The Cheapest Form of Advertising

When clients ask for an opinion about advertising, the thing they always overlook is the very basic building block of all advertising: the Business Card.

Most people don’t stop to consider exactly how powerful a 2” x 3.5” card can be. While a Business Card is not going to close a deal, it can certainly open a dialogue, but that is going to depend on whether it grabs the attention of the person on the receiving end.

When I started in Graphic Design nearly 25 years ago, print options were limited and paper stock was usually linen texture or plain, flat white, light-to-medium weight thickness. Online printers hadn’t entered the market so local printers were the only option and their services were limited. If a client wanted UV coating, foil stamping or embossing, oftentimes the printer had to send the job out to a specialty company and prices were exorbitant.

These days, there are numerous options for paper stock, coatings, foil, embossing, die cutting, colored edges, etc. Prices vary widely but the end results can be spectacular. The Business Card has become a work of art and a definitive advertising statement. There are options and prices for everyone.

Case in point: A recent job was printed on double-thick, 32 pt Silk Stock with red prism foil and red colored edges. This client was exceptionally pleased with the end result and has actually increased her business because people immediately notice she has gone the extra mile to create an image that truly reflects her and her busienss. Her clients want to know more about her and the items she markets. Her Business Cards are a serious conversation starter that help her get her foot in the door and the effects remains long after my client has left the room.

My favorite Business Card story is a personal one. I’ve always counseled clients to hand their Business Cards out at every opportunity. For those people who pay bills by mail, stick a Business Card in the envelope. You never know when the person opening the envelope will need your services. Put your card in fish bowls at restaurants. In trying to win that free lunch, perhaps the person who draws your name will need what you provide. That’s exactly what happened to me.

One day, I decided to take my own advice and put my Business Card in a fish bowl at a restaurant. The owner called me several days later. She said I hadn’t won the free lunch but she needed a Graphic Designer to create and print window clings for her restaurant. I set up a meeting and was hired to design and print for her.

As it turned out, that decision to advertise my business in a fish bowl was better than a free lunch. You never know where your next client will come from so make sure to use the cheapest form of advertising as often as you can.

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