Business cards are one of the simplest, lowest cost and most effective marketing tools for a business, and they are evolving. Here are some possible tips for the next evolution of your business card. Don’t think of these merely as business cards. Think of them as marketing tools.

Senior citizen card: Print up oversized business cards to give to senior citizens. Make the business cards twice the size of ordinary business cards. Why? Seniors can’t call you if they can’t read the phone number.

Add useful information to the back: Create industry specific tips (e.g., scald temperatures) or generic information like kitchen conversions, ways to praise a child, a tipping chart, calendars, key holiday dates, local sports team schedules and so on. Useful information increases the odds the card will be kept and kept handy.

Die cut cards: Business cards do not have to be rectangular. Many printers offer die cut business cards at no extra costs. These are cards with one to four rounded corners, cards in the shape of a truck, and so on. They add distinctiveness to your cards.

Promotions: Use the back for coupons and promotions. An easy way to offer special promotions is to get a variety of ink stamps made by your printer and stamp the back of cards to test them.  Make offers ranging from dollars off discount to a free filter, free gallon of bottled reverse osmosis water, bio-clean and so on. With the ink stamp you can vary the promotion. If you’re visiting a particular group, you can tailor the promotion to that group.

Special friends’ discount: A “special friends” discount card is a business card with an offer for special friends of the company, meaning friends of your employees. The employee writes his or her name on the card and the customer’s name. The customer can then present the card for an additional percent off on any service or product.

Photo cards: The advertising agency, Marketing Support Inc., prints a graphic image of each employee on the back of the business card. It’s more subtle than a photo business card, yet helps you remember the employee’s face.

Titles: Have fun with your business cards. Give people unusual titles. Ruth King calls herself Founder and Chief Evangelist. Sales legend Tom McCart used the title Assistant Buyer. When the customer asked about it, he said it was because his job was to help them buy the right products for their home.

Water temperature cards: Water temperature cards use a strip to measure bath or other water temperature to indicate if water is too hot. Of course, these are plastic cards and cost more than paper cards.

Repeat the front: Printing the same thing on the front and back ensures that your card is always face up.

Bilingual cards: Do you serve a Hispanic population where English is a second language?  Consider repeating the information on the back of the card in Spanish.

Local reference information: Use the back of the card to provide a list of local phone numbers for various services, such as the library, town hall, tax office, police, fire, emergency, time and temperature and so on.

Game: Print a small connect the dots or word search game on the back of your card. It’s different and you can use it as a way to distract kids during a service or sales call. It also creates an opportunity to pass out your card more often. If you’re in a public place and a kid is squirming and fidgety, hand a couple of business cards to the parent and suggest with a smile, “He looks a little bored. Maybe this will help.”

Folded money: If this seems like a cheesy trick, well, it is. Print the back of a business card to resemble folded money. Print part of a $10, $20 or $100 bill. Or even print a faux $1,000,000 bill. Drop these cards face down during home shows and other events. People will pick them up, somewhat discreetly, but they will pick them up.

These are just a few ways to enhance your business card.  For more ideas and ways to use business cards more effectively call 877.262.3341, and say you are a Contractor magazine reader and would like a free copy of the Comanche Marketing Guide to Business Card Marketing. 

Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, which offers contractors sales, marketing, and business management tools, peer to peer business support, and an industry buying group for just $50 per month.  Learn more at www.ServiceRoundtable.comor call 877.262.3341.