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How to Design Useful Magnetic Business Cards

Heidi Thorne is the author of SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business.

Magnets that offer something extra, such as this magnetic business card that pops out of a photo frame, are perceived as more useful... and likely to be kept.

Magnets that offer something extra, such as this magnetic business card that pops out of a photo frame, are perceived as more useful... and likely to be kept.

Magnetic business cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been a promotional product staple for decades. Because they are low cost and cheap to mail or distribute, they are popular for small business promotions. Designed to be put on refrigerators, file cabinets, and other metal surfaces, they keep a business' name and information in front of customer prospects several times a day. In fact, magnetic products are so popular, that according to a Counselor magazine State of the Industry study, they represent 2.4 percent of all promotional products sold.

Since they are so popular and inexpensive, customers and prospects get bombarded with so many of these business cards, that they can become ho-hum. As with any promotional giveaway, it's all in how it's used.

First to be discussed is whether or not a magnet is right for a business. Then check out a dozen design ideas that can help make a magnetic business card more useful and turn "Not another one!" into "Can I have one?"

Why Do You Want to Use a Magnetic Business Card?

Prior to designing, think about why you think this promotion will be appropriate for your audience. Frankly, for some markets, magnets are just not useful. Similar to using the concept of "where" noted in Choosing a Method of Advertisement for a Business, determine where customers will likely be when they are considering purchasing. If they will be in the vicinity of a refrigerator, piece of equipment or file cabinet, then a magnet would be ideal.

Some examples:

  • A specialty grocery store with delivery service (on refrigerator).
  • Furnace service (on equipment).
  • Copy machine service (on file cabinet or copy equipment).
  • Real estate agents (on refrigerators or file cabinets).

But what if the surface isn't metal?

Non-Magnetic "Magnets"

One of the reasons that magnetic business cards have been losing favor is that more and more surfaces in homes and offices are not metallic, turning these cards into just regular business cards. While people may still retain them, there are alternatives.

With advancements in non-damaging removable and repositionable adhesives (similar to that used on 3M Post-It notes), adhesive business cards can be posted on many different surfaces including walls, glass and electronics. Like their magnetic predecessors, they can easily be removed or placed elsewhere.

Some expanded examples:

  • Technical and customer service support for cell phones or laptops.
  • Furnace service contact information placed on thermostats (first place consumers look when the heat is not working!)
  • Service schedule reminders for placement on auto windshields.
Schedules, reminders and tips are perfect to include on magnets.

Schedules, reminders and tips are perfect to include on magnets.

12 Useful Design Ideas for Magnetic Business Cards

Regardless of whether you choose magnetic or adhesive business cards, there is only a few inches of space to tell your story. Plus, printing is only done on one side of the promotion. So make every bit of it count!

Many businesses clog up their magnets with their logo and other information that don't encourage customers to keep and post them. Here is a list of things that could be useful AND fit within minimal space:

  1. Checklist to see if service is needed and how to report a problem, e.g. If you see a red light, turn dial to setting 3 and restart. If the light glows green...
  2. Sports or event schedules.
  3. Emergency phone numbers with safety or first aid tips. Glow in the dark magnets are available so that these can be located at night.
  4. Photo frames.
  5. Save-the-Date reminders for weddings, graduations and anniversaries featuring photos of those being honored. Always a keeper for family members and friends!
  6. Shaped magnets that represent the product or service offered.
  7. Calendars (still popular for quick reference).
  8. Super strong magnets that can hold several pieces of paper. In general, the thicker the magnet, the stronger the holding force.
  9. New baby announcements. Like Save-the-Date magnets, family members and friends usually love posting pictures of the new addition.
  10. Magnets with QR codes that can be scanned to get the latest news or information.
  11. Service reminders, such as for autos and seasonal use.
  12. Schedules for open/closing or service dates, such as park district facilities or waste pick-up.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Heidi Thorne

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