Are Cheap Business Cards Online Worth the Savings?

Custom Business CardsIn order to keep pace with today’s busy world, you need to make the most of your time and effort by always implementing the latest marketing tools and strategies. However, there is one tiny yet powerful marketing “must have” that you just can not ignore; the basic business card.  Yep, a well designed and properly printed business card still plays a crucial role in today’s business environment, no matter how fancy today’s gadgets and smart phones might get, and regardless of whether you’re a small business or a McMega Corporation.

It really doesn’t much matter what line of work you’re in, whether you are a business man, lawyer, doctor, salesman, CPA, model or chef, when the opportunity presents itself, you need to be able to promote yourself with a good looking, impactful card that gives all your critical information that your prospect should remember about you.  Things like your name, professional title, company, phone number and email address.  You never know when they will need your help and expertise.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know these people well now, or that they might not need your knowledge today… things change quickly and they need to be able to pull out that card and contact you when the time comes.

Can You Make More Money From Your Business Cards Based on My Tucson Printer Experience?

But when it comes time to have your business cards designed and printed… you might find yourself in a bit of a quandry.  You see, there are SO MANY different online printers offering to create cheap business cards for you, you might have a hard time figuring out where to begin.  In fact, you may even wonder if you should be creating such a critical piece of marketing collateral with a nameless, faceless company on the other side of the internet ether (though they do offer some pretty compelling pricing, I must admit!)

For example, who are you going to talk to about whether or not you should go with full bleed business cards or double sided business cards?  Will they be able to give you feedback and help you actually design your custom business cards to be as professional as possible, and not look like they were done with a ‘cookie-cutter’ template?  Will they guarantee a delivery time?

If you’re not too sure about the answers to some of the above questions, maybe you would feel more comfortable working with a local print shop so they can help you with your design.  They’ll also be able to personally explain to you what the differences are when it comes to paper stock, UV coatings, rounded corners on your cards or other die-cut or embossing options you might not be aware of.

From my own personal experience, I choose to go with a local Tucson printing company for my cards and brochures, both when I was having them done for myself as a self proprietor, as well as when I was a marketing manager, setting up  printing accounts at a multi-billion dollar national company I worked for, (but that is just my personal preference).  With that said though, I’ll explain a bit why that was my decision and what you may want to consider when it’s your turn.

You see, no one can be an expert in everything, even within their own little niche of a specific industry.  So unless you yourself are a professional printer, I would highly advise you to at least talk to a professional printer before making a decision on what kind of collateral you’re going to have produced to represent you and your company (and if you ARE a professional printer… what are you doing here, reading this article???) ;o)

The Tucson print shop that I chose to work with for my color printing (and so much more) was great because within their organization, they had experts on all kinds of little niches that I would have NO idea about.  Things like how to properly set up a postcard mailing to reach my clients (I didn’t know you have to leave certain parts of the postcards free from type and images for them to go through the mail system properly).  They were also able to act as a combination printer and mail house for me, making sure I got the best rates on my mailing service.

They also had a top quality in-house graphic designer to help me design not only my full color business cards, but my custom brochures, presentation folders, vinyl banners, magnetic cards, various print promotional products, post card mailers, letterhead and envelopes and probably a whole lot of other things that I can’t even remember right now (and let me tell you, the improvement they made to my designs took things to a whole new level of professionalism).

The bottom line was that this group of print professionals was far more than just “a printing and copying” shop, and they did far more for me than just print business cards.  By establishing a working relationship with them, they became my marketing partners more so than just a vendor selling ink and paper products.

Now whether you can find the same kind of service I found here in Southern Arizona in your local area, I can’t say.  I have to imagine that in today’s economy there are plenty of printers with lots of knowledge that would be more than happy to go out of their way to create a long lasting client for life, with the hope and desire that both you and them will grow and meet your businesses objectives together.

Before committing to any one printer though, I highly suggest you ask to look at their past portfolio of work so you can judge for yourself the quality of their designs and production.  In addition to seeing any graphic design work they’ve done for others, such as logo designs, you should ask to see physical samples of all different types of work they’ve done, not just virtual samples.

For instance, ask if they have some wedding invitations, bumper stickers, rubber stamps or other die-cut projects, product catalogs (in both full color as well as black & white to see how they handle that option), posters, door hangers, sticky pads… you get the idea.  Try to see a little bit of everything since you never know what you might need them for.

One additional thing you might ask for is to see any types of campaigns they’ve helped to design, launch and manager.  This is a great skill for them to have and is a lot different than just printing a one-off project.

And while it’s true that the online ordering abilities of the super discount printers you’ll find on the web may seem pretty attractive at first, again, don’t discount your local guys web site too fast.  With the constant advancement of technology, even many of the smaller, non-chain printers offer web to print online ordering, business card proofs and even payment  tracking and management.  What’s more is that they are often more than happy to make a personal sales call to your location to show you some new ideas that could help your business grow.  And that is a whole lot more helpful than just another email piling up in your inbox, isn’t it?

My advice to you as far as doing your best to make a lasting impression with you existing clients and business associates, not to mention future prospects and lead generation, is to make sure all your business card printing specifically, as well as your brochure printing and other marketing collateral in general, is all well designed, well produced, and well priced.  Focusing too much on the price at the expense of the others may end up making you “penny wise and pound foolish” with some of the discount printing outfits out there.

But hey, that’s just my opinion on printing services…