I collect, through networking, probably about a hundred or so business cards monthly. Approximately 5/6 of them don’t have anything printed on the back. I recently went through my card file and pulled out all of the inns and bed & breakfast business cards I have accumulated over the years. Of the 400 hundred odd inns business cards I had, only 17 of them had something printed on the back. Of the 600 plus odd restaurant cards, only 2 had anything printed on the back.
I love double sided business cards, it’s a great area for advertising that often goes untapped. But for inns and restaurants that have business cards only printed on one side, rejoice! There is a simple and low cost way to leverage the unused white space on the back of your cards.
Most people buy Avery (or a comparable brand) blank address labels, which come in a variety of sizes, to print return addresses on. Many of these sizes can fit easily on the back of a business card.
Instead of re-doing all your cards and adding additional information to them, think a little out of the box. (Although if you have just started using social media, this is a great way to add social media links without having to get your cards reprinted. Avery has a see-through clear label that is rather nice for this usage.)
Suppose you go to a Chamber of Commerce mixer. You print up 2 dozen labels, “friends and family labels.” While the members of the Chamber mixer probably won’t stay at your inn, their friends and relatives may. Especially if you give the cards out to people with an incentive: Friends and Family receive a 20% (or whatever) discount on a nights or a weekend stay. Not only will they probably keep your business card, you earn goodwill from them, and where do you think they will suggest family and friends stay? Even after they have used up those initial cards, they will still subconsciously remember that they recommended your place, especially when their friends and family come back raving about how great your B&B is.
The same idea can be used for a restaurant, give a discount on the label or a freebie (free app or free desert for example). To be either used by the person it was given to or to used by a friend or family member. Step one is getting them in the door to spend money.
Carry some teaser ones around with you in your car, in your wallet and in your bag or briefcase, you never know who you might run into that can be a great referal source for you. A well connected lawyer with friends that like to go on vacation at a high end inn or eat out at white table cloth restaurants for example.
You can also have a variety of preprinted labels all ready to go, and at hand to nab great customers with as they leave your business.
For an inn: Some have add-ons to them. Free chocolate dipped strawberries. Room upgrade if available. A bottle of bubbly. (incentives for returning quality guests, the ones that pay their bills without a fuss, don’t trash their rooms and are low maintanance for example.)
For a restaurant: a discount, a freebie, an invite to a special event that may have a cover charge. (incentives for returning quality customers: the ones that pay their tabs without a fuss, don’t hassle the waitstaff, are good tippers and generally have a large check average.)
Think about it, if you give a good customer (that runs up a hefty check average consistently) a small incentive to return more often, its going to help your overall bottom line.
Getting them in the door is key and while couponing and discount sites like Groupon are bringing in the deal seekers, giving a break or perk on something to people YOU select or who they are connected with, can bring in a whole different type of clientele.
Don’t forget to sign or initial the cards, while an inn probably won’t have someone scarfing up cards to duplicate the offer, a restaurant might. But again YOU are choosing who you give these cards out to, so the odds are that a good customer will take advantage is pretty slim.
Using business cards for this has several advantages over printing up specific generally larger sized cards (which are commonly used for this type of thing). You already have the cards with your contact information and they are wallet sized, which means people are more likely to carry them around with them in their wallet, as opposed to sticking it in a file or on a bulletin board.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to give each label set a unique ID, track where your referal cards come back to you from, it may take awhile but this can be useful marketing information, especially if you print ones up specifically for going to specific events or meetings, i.e. Chamber events, Trade Shows, Seminars, etc.