Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking

Business Cards:  Why and How You Need Them

by Michelle Green, The Business of Baking

In a world where technology seems to be created faster than we can master it, it would be reasonable to think that traditional business cards as a marketing tool are no longer relevant. In recent years business cards have had a bit of a revolution, you can now get all sorts of different sizes, shapes and textiles. I recently got one which was engraved on very thin balsa wood, and one embedded with seeds so that if you were to plant it and water it, in a few weeks you'd end up with some alfalfa. Business cards are as relevant a marketing tool as they ever were, and I find myself using them in all sorts of situations. I've given them out at networking events, attached them to quotes I gave to clients, given them out to people or companies I meet who want more information, or even attached them like a gift tag to some items I put in a goodie bag for a cake show. My first business cards were awful freebies from an online company, but as my business and level of professionalism evolved, so did my business cards. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, so having to update them once a year is really not a huge expense for what may be a great return.  Simply having a business card at all indicates a level of professionalism so they're well worth investing in.

At the very least, your card should be seen as an extension of your brand. If you sell a premium product, don't give out a thin, cheap feeling card with a stock photo on it. Similarly if you sell macarons, don't get a card with a photo of a cute kitten on it. Your business card should be a reflection of your brand and what you do.

At the very least your business card should include:
  • Your business name
  • Relevant branding (colours and fonts)
  • Your logo
  • Your name (especially important for small businesses. People prefer to call and ask for a specific person)
  • Contact details (phone and email at the very least)
  • Website address for your business
  • Something which indicates what you do. In my case, along the top edge of the card it says,
  • “Cakes*Cupcakes*Cookies*Classes” so there is no question about what things we offer. We do offer more services than that, but those are our main selling areas.
If you've got the room for it, you can think about adding in:
  • Your tag line if you've got one. By tag line I refer to the 'second line' of your business name.
  • Social media 'buttons' and how to find you: for example the little Twitter bird icon and then @yourtwittername I would not use the whole address for social media sites as their logos have strong enough recognition. I would only include the social media which you regularly update and interact with, even if you are on more than one platform. There is no point wasting space on a small card with social media accounts you rarely use.
You might be surprised that I'm not including social media as a “must have” and that's because in the first instance, we're wanting to use those cards to generate leads which may turn into orders. It's much easier to find a company on social media than it is to find their price list, so use your cards to drive people to the place which is most likely to turn into an order: your website. Once they've got your business name and web address, it's easy enough to find out where you are hanging out online if they are interested enough to do so, plus your website itself will tell them.

Getting your first set of cards feels incredible – it gives you a certain legitimacy and there is no denying your name is there on a tangible item. You need to also think of it as a living item though, so that means it will need updating, and it will need to be actually used! I always have a little stash of them in my wallet and I make sure my loved ones do, too. Many is a time I got an order from my husband's work mate or my in law's friends – all because they had a spare card or two in their handbag. Business cards are as exciting to get as they are to give – just be sure that they are  portraying your brand in the correct light (which means I wouldn't use the seeds card unless you own a plant nursery.)

Business card tip of the day: Any time anyone asks for me for a card, I give them two and say, “Here's one for you to hang onto, and one for you to share with a friend,” It's such a simple strategy but it's worked really well for me – people are surprisingly good at following directions like that.  As an added bonus, even if they don't remember to share it, they've got one to refer to when the first one gets lost.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.


Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" -www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.

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