What I Think About Business Cards

In Orange County, a huge percentage of the population is business owners. So you can’t turn around twice without coming in contact with a business card. Or 6. Or 6000. There are walls plastered with them, counters overwhelmed by them, and parking lots littered with them. So over the years I’ve developed my own rules to help put every one of the cards you own to work for you. There’s no sense in spending good money on what will become garbage.

Rule #1

Quit handing out cards to “every person with muscles” (an absurd marketing idea). Handing out cards to people who haven’t asked for them is like going to the town junk yard and handing out a card to every Buick. If the card doesn’t immediately get put in the trash (98% chance), the odds of someone who is in your target demographic seeing it are almost zero. Quit polluting – only give cards when asked! 

Rule #2

Giving 2 cards when someone asks for one = a waste of paper. Unless she has specifically requested more than one (be patient – she will!), giving more than one is either trash or a burden. Now, instead of casting a positive light on yourself, you’re giving her work. Now she has to a)hold onto this 2nd card for months and throw it away eventually when she cleans out her purse , or b)find someone else who needs massaging and give them a card [see previous point about receiving cards you haven’t asked for]. Bear in mind, she probably has no idea what type of client you are looking for. And I’ve had amazing clients that have sent me some real wackadoos.

 Rule #3

Leaving them “around” = socially acceptable littering. Come on…don’t be such a lazy marketer!! You want to vet your clients better than “she shops at Whole Foods.” Some crazy people shop at Whole Foods! (including me 😉 ) Get out and meet people! New clients are looking for a massage therapist with a face and personality, not a new business card of some rando who left her card sitting on a ledge. Found art is fantastic. Found cards, not so much.

Rule #4

How to work with partner business owners. Giving cards to chiros = ok. Medical professionals = ok. Most others = no. “I know a great massage therapist” is not effective coming from a florist, but can be very effective coming from a person’s trusted acupuncturist. The exception to this rule: if the business owner serves the exact type of client you are targeting. You want to give your cards their BEST chance to succeed. Therefore, don’t send your cardboard business warriors out into a harsh environment.

Think of your business cards as dollar bills that you’re putting into the stock market. They can increase in value (gain you a new client), or crash completely (in the recycling bin if you’re lucky). Set them up for success. Ordering more cards can be a joy IF you’re out of cards and now have thousands of dollars in income to show for them. But, not if you’re simply throwing them into a seeming abyss.


Where is the most irritating place you’ve ever been offered a business card? Do you agree with my rules? Or have you had a different experience? Then please share your insight below and help out the whole community.


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