Dos and Don'ts of Promotional Marketing

What does your business card say about your business?

by Janelle Elms
- Aug 24, 2009

I'm confused: I am potentially one of your customers—so why don't you want my money?

At the last three e-commerce conferences I have attended, sadly I have encountered the same conversation over and over again:

"What do you do for a living?"
"I sell the best XYZ widget ever made!"

"Oh, I need one of those. Do you have a business card with your Web site on it so I can purchase one when I get back?"
"Sorry, I don't have any on me… but you can just go to and get them."

Again, don't you want my money? I'm not going to remember your URL and neither are other potential customers. If you don't care about my business, I am certainly not going to go out of my way to spend my money with you.

Now, some of the people I talked to did have business cards, but they still didn't get my money. Why? At the end of the day, I went through the stack of cards I received. Only a couple of them had enough of the right information for me to remember the conversation, person and product we had talked about.

I would love for this article to be about breaking out of the traditional business-card marketing path, about standing apart from your competition by using other ways to promote your business, but first we need to get back to the basics of promotional marketing and what success steps to take.

You can have multiple goals; just make sure you also have multiple cards

Call to action

What is the goal of your business card? Is it to get someone to sign up for your newsletter? See your class schedule? Promote your eBay Store? Pick one goal and make it great. One of the cards I received had all three of these on it. This distracts the potential customer and can dilute the power of conversion.

Make sure your goal includes a call to action. Just stating your goal, "Sign up for my newsletter at" won't entice customers to act. Use active conversion language like "99 percent of eBay Stores owners are set up wrong… Learn to be that 1 percent at"

Success Tip: You can have multiple goals; just make sure you also have multiple cards. I have one card for professional speaking, one for joining Rock Stars, another to promote the OSI Success Library, etc.

TMI: too much information

There is no rule stating that you have to include all of your information on one business card. Keep in mind your goal when choosing what information to include. Many of my cards don't have my name on them at all because that information won't achieve my goal for that card. This is also true for your address and phone number. What are the essential pieces of information your customer will need for you to achieve the goal you have set?

  • Phone number: If having your phone number on your card will help achieve your goal (this is a definite "yes" if your goal has to do with selling items for others, teaching classes, etc.), then think about which number you want to use. My home number isn't used for anything and is a private number. My cell number is used only for professional business contacts. I use a Skype number for the business cards that need a general business number. The phone number is set up to go directly to a branded voicemail.

    You also might want to check out Google's new service called Google Voice. It allows you to have one number for all of your calls and texts. This allows you to screen your calls, forward calls (great for an assistant), have conference calls, view voicemail transcripts, personalize the greeting depending on the caller and more. As of mid-August, it's still in beta and accessible by invitation only.

  • A domain name is going to cost you about $8 a year, and will almost always come with at least one free e-mail address

  • Web address: I am unsure why I'm still seeing traditional eBay Store URL's on business cards, e.g., The chances that I want to type all of that into my computer to get to your products is very slim. This type of domain also gives me way too many opportunities to type in something incorrectly and never arrive at your Store. Head over to your favorite domain company (I use GoDaddy for all of my 270 domains) and for about $8, purchase a real URL like This provides branding for you, an easy to remember domain name for your customers—and you can add a redirect to it so eBay will pay you to send traffic to your eBay Store.

    Success Tip: Try to purchase the .com version of your name. If your domain name ends in .net you will spend an enormous amount of time educating your buyers to go to that particular domain. If you don't own the .com, the person who does will receive a good portion of your traffic automatically. Don't forget to also buy any common misspellings of your domain name.

  • E-mail address: If you choose to include your e-mail address on your promotional material, do not use an unprofessional one. By this I mean something like If you are in business, and presenting yourself as a business to your customers, it's time to look like a business and not like someone who's running a business out of their garage—even if you are!

    Instead, use an e-mail like that provides a level of professionalism and includes branding of your business.

    Again, a domain name is going to cost you about $8 a year, and will almost always come with at least one free e-mail address. You do not have to build a Web site on the domain you purchase; simply redirect it to your eBay Store, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.

Give it 100%

So many of the business cards I see only have information on one side, with the back left blank. This surprises me. If you have gone to the effort of creating cards, and developing a relationship with a potential customer, why would you only offer 50 percent of your marketing to them when you could offer 100 percent? Take the opportunity to always sell to them, no matter what side of the business card ends face up.

In the next article, we'll talk about wowing potential customers with your giveaways and marketing materials (not to mention getting them to spend money).

About the Author

Janelle Elms is a best-selling author, inspiring educator and Visionaire of the OSI Rock Stars. You can hear her on wsRadio every Wednesday on Ask Janelle Radio. Learn the success information you need to grow your business at For step-by-step training on how to set up an eBay Store for maximum exposure and profit, visit One Percent Coach.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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