Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do you need business cards or website first?

<span class=Kadek Rudi - Tour Driver" style="border: medium none ; display: block;" height="180" width="240">Image by redteam via Flickr

This is a question I hear from time-to-time from small business owners and start-ups. You can actually have your cake and eat it too.

Here's how.
This article is for those of you who have some knowledge of conducting business using business cards without a website and the opposite - conducting business with a website and no business cards. Then there are those of you who need both.


Either is fine and useful in the right marketing arena. I've used a few questions and answers to help you see if you need business cards now that you have a website or if you need a website if doing business with cards already works.

I have a website but I don't have business cards. What can I do?
You can conduct business online without giving out a business card to get people to visit your website. Before you go out an have business cards designed and printed, look for websites that allow you to build online business listings, and offer you marketing tools to increase your business connections. Go to websites like MerchantCircle.com, Kudzu.com, Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local Listing, Yellowpages.com, etc. These are just a very few so jump on the search engines and start listing your business online now.

People browse for local business reviews on every topic you can imagine. Choose the listing that best fits your business. Now go out and have at least 100 business card printed so you have another channel to drive traffic to your website. Best of all many of these business listings are free. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true. It probably is.




I have business cards. When should I get my website?
With the saturation of text messaging and email, it's very easy to pass along the phone number of your favorite salon to your friends. It takes about 1 minute. You can even send them the salon website address and name of your hair stylist if you want. So why do a business card design and printing for nothing? The truth is there are times when you don't have your cell phone or computer under your finger tips - or should I say you should think twice. A wedding is not a great place to do business, and being on your cell phone is even worse. So if you choose the lesser of the two; go with the business card pass over texting your business info. Since you have a channel for telling people about your business with your business card, now is the time you can add a website address to your business card.

You can gain information by having a simple form on your website, update potential clients on new offers or innovations in your industry. Your website can help you tell people about the benefit of conducting business with your company. Your web site need not be more then 1 or 2 pages to add value to your brand.

It's perfectly fine to conduct business when you have business cards but no website. Keep in mind that a website will offer your company additional exposure and potential for winning new customers. So it's really up to you when and if you want to turn up the volume. Take it one day at a time and make your best educated decision after your research.

I have a website. Why do I need business cards anyway?
Business cards are a great way to advertise and market your business or push more people to your website. They can help you give people a glimpse of what your business can do. You can start building your brands mood with different colors and images that represent or backup what you have just vocalized. The business card can be passed from one recipient to a third party. Most importantly the business card allows you more opportunity to give something physical and they are a powerful way to increase referrals to your small business.

The best answer in my opinion is to go ahead and knock-out both at the same time.
Have business cards printed and your website design at the same time – if at all possible. If you receive your business cards first, don't hold back on handing out your cards if you website is not finished. You may be thinking that
potential customers will go to your website and see a big-fat goose egg, zero, nothing, nada, zilch, zip. To keep this from happening, tell your web guy to add a small statement to your website about your company that tells visitors how to communicate with you while your site is being "updated." Never say "under construction." Nobody wants to hear that there dinner is almost ready and that's what "under construction" sounds like. Additionally, your visitors will be hungry for information (main purpose of the Internet anyway) and you need to at least give them a nibble. Chick-Fil A does a great job at sampling. Take note and use the same principle.

This is Gibron T. Williams, Head Honcho at Oevae Marketing Consultants and these are my opinions.