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For Newbies

What Should I Have on My Real Estate Investor Business Card?

Business card for real estate investors

We’ve said it before: referrals play a big role in getting new REI leads. It’s not always easy for real estate investors to attribute a referral back to their business card, but these cards definitely work. Of course, if you give out cash for referrals, you know the exact number of leads that were a direct result of you giving a business card to people.

Yes, paper is replaced with digital solutions whenever possible (including marketing), but this doesn’t mean that paper has become obsolete, especially when you’re buying and selling houses face-to-face. So, if you ever wondered whether business cards are dead, the answer is, no, for REI’s, they are certainly not.

But, what do you put on your business card? Do you go for a “vanilla” option with only your contact details? Or do you go for a layout and content that stands out? 

Join us as we examine the reasoning behind designing business cards for REIs.

The Benefits of Having an REI Business Card

  • They are cheap – it will cost you literally dimes to make one, so if they get you a closed deal, the ROI is phenomenal.
  • You can make them fast – once you choose the design, you can have them within hours.
  • They help build credibility – this works on a subconscious level – they signal that you know what you’re doing.
  • They contain your essential contact information – you are giving people a one-stop-shop for ways to reach you.

How to Put Together an REI Business Card

Ask yourself the following question: “Why am I making this business card?” If you are a typical real estate investor, the answer probably is: “So that people have a quick reference to my contact details.” Well, there you have it, the concept of your REI business card in a nutshell.

What Information to Include

Go with the details that let people know how to reach you when they need you. The bare minimum is:

  • company name
  • your name
  • phone number

However, you can also provide alternative contact details, and give more info about your practice:

  • your website
  • a functional email address
  • the physical address of your office (with or without working hours)
  • alternative phone number
  • company logo

There is one caveat when it comes to including many contact points on a business card, though. Unlike the digital world, where you can quickly amend an incorrect detail, business cards have a long shelf life and the information will stay on paper as long as the card exists. The more details on the card – the higher the possibility that you’ll share a contact detail that is not relevant in the long run.

Let’s take the address of your office for example. Will you change offices during the lifespan of the business card? What will happen if a motivated seller goes to the physical address only to find a different business operating there? The same goes for websites, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Only include additional details if you intend to keep actively using them in the future.

Pro tip: If you change your email, make sure you use email forwarding.

Should You Include the Type of Deals You Specialize In? 

Real estate covers all sorts of properties: residential, commercial, multifamily or single-family units, development, warehouses, retail, and others. And even within the field of real estate investing, you have house flippers, wholesalers, those after rental properties, those who specialize in probate proceedings, etc. So, it’s natural to wonder whether to list your specialty on the business card.

Opinions are divided on this. Some are all for it because people will know immediately if you’re the person they are looking for. On the flip side, this might effectively limit your reach and you can end up losing clients because you were too specific in the description.

Another issue you need to be aware of is that the general public is not educated about the services that real estate investors offer, not until they need an REI when they become motivated sellers. Let’s take the wholesaler among REIs. The titles you can find on their business cards are along the following lines: Real Estate Entrepreneur, Acquisition Specialist, CEO, Managing Member, and so on. What will your clients learn about your business if you introduce yourself as a “Managing Member”?

Include your title or your specialty, but only after carefully considering its value – will it make people call you?

Should You Add a Call to Action on an REI Business Card?

You’ve probably heard this as advice: “Use every opportunity to obtain a lead by maximizing calls to action in all of your materials.” And in many cases, this advice is solid, but does it also apply to business cards?

You might be tempted to drop a “call me to schedule a meeting at any time” on your REI business card, but given the fact that the card contains your contact details (and not much more than that), adding a call to action is redundant.

If your multichannel marketing strategy warrants it, feel free to include a CAT, however, keep in mind that, unlike other marketing channels, business cards have only one purpose.

How to Design an REI Business Card

Which Font to Use

The golden rule is to go for a clean look, meaning big letters and a popular font so that the text is easy to read. Designers offer a lot of fancy fonts, and some of them change shape (3D?) when viewed from a certain angle. Yes, these kinds of gimmicks will catch people’s attention, but your clients shouldn’t struggle to read the letters (what if they have poor sight?).

Which Card Size to Choose

Business cards come in a standard size of 2” X 3.5” and you can stick to it. In theory, you can go for both larger and smaller sizes, but there is no point in designing an impractically sized card, because, ultimately, its size is not what will make it stand out. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A memorable logo, on the other hand, will separate your business card from those of other REIs. If the logo has a distinctive feature, people can easily associate it with your face (if they’ve met you in person). As to the specifics of choosing a memorable logo, that goes into a bigger discussion on branding.

Which Colors to Use

On that note, your overall branding strategy usually dictates the business color scheme for all of your materials. Generally speaking, brightly colored business cards attract more attention, but if such color pallets aren’t within your branding profile, don’t force it.

Should You Add Info on Both Sides of the Business Card?

The short answer is: yes. It’s a waste of real estate (pun intended) not to use the back of the card. There are many variations you can go for. Here are some:

  • all text on the front, only logo on the back
  • logo, company name, and your full name on the front, contact details on the back
  • logo, your first name, and contact details on the front, catchy design on the back
  • photo, name, and contact details on the front, logo, and company name on the back

Should You Add a Photo of Yourself on the Card?

On the subject of putting a face on the business card – is that appropriate for REIs? Well, including a portrait makes the card impressionable and some people are better at memorizing faces than written text.

However, real estate is a business in which consequences are great, and real estate investors profit on big decisions made by their clients. Think of it this way: when you choose your dentist, do you look at their face or do you ask their former patients about the quality of service in the dental office?

So, you can go with either option on this one, but keep in mind that motivated sellers want their problem to be solved, and solved fast, and it hardly matters that you’re good-looking.

Should You Add a QR Code?

By all means, yes. Including a QR code to the business card allows you to instantly share REI listings with people. Also, by reading a QR code, they can immediately save your contact details or make a quick visit to your website. It’s all about removing obstacles and making it easier for clients (and colleagues) to reach you.

Should You Laminate Your REI Business Card?

Obviously, you want to protect your business card from getting the unappealing “dog ears,” and lamination works great against that. But how far do you need to take this glossy look? Some people want to write a short note on the business card (eg. at which event they met you) and a business card that is laminated on both sides doesn’t allow that. The solution is simple – make one side glossy, and keep the other plain.

There are many ways to make your business card flashy. Some play with its shape and use rounded corners, or they chip one of the corners. Real estate agents go for thick padded business cards with embossed text (and sometimes the letters are with silver or golden inlay). Of course, adding texture to your card, and similar fancy tricks will increase the cost of production.

Yet, it goes much deeper than that.

How Slick Do You Want Your REI Business Card to Be?

Real estate investors should never forget the specifics of their industry. And sometimes, this means that the winning formula is counterintuitive.

Designers put a lot of effort into creating aesthetically pleasing layouts, but will this make motivated sellers pick up the phone and call you? In one of our podcast episodes, Ryan Dixon, who has done a lot of direct mail marketing for REIs over the years, shared an observation – motivated sellers don’t appreciate good design.

This is not hard science, but the reasoning goes like this: people are already in trouble with slick bank representatives if they are behind on their mortgage. They are wary of large real estate companies, fearing that these guys in big suits are out to get them. They don’t want a nice design, they simply want a way out of their predicament. Therefore, going for a low-key (and even ugly) design for your marketing materials may perform better in building trust with a motivated seller.

It extends to the overall feel of your business card, so don’t make it too official or slick. If you are a beginner REI, test sub-par designs when you work with clients, and you’ll notice a difference.

Business Card for Novice REIs

When you start out in this business, everything seems twice as hard. What to include in a business card when you don’t have any closed contracts in your real estate portfolio? Whatever your strategy, don’t go for a flashy REI business card, because that’s not a substitute for your lack of experience in the field. If you try too hard, industry professionals will know that you’re a beginner, and clients will go to those REIs who seem to know what they’re doing.

You may not have closed deals under your belt, but your prospects don’t know this unless you decide to show it to them. So keep it simple. “We buy houses cash” was enough in this industry for a long time. And, we are not really giving off trade secrets if we advise you to use a catch-all phrase like “We Buy Houses In Any Condition And In Any Situation.” Or something that will explain to prospects what you intend to do, like “We Buy And Renovate Distressed Houses, And Then We Sell or Rent Them.”

After all, business cards have a role to play for both beginners and seasoned real estate investors.

Why Are Business Cards Still Important for REIs?

For the most part, real estate investing relies on in-person interactions. First impressions are very important, and if you manage to make your first interaction with clients memorable, you are already ahead of your competition. Remember, a lot of other REIs approach the same motivated sellers, so helping your clients to make a connection between your face, the logo, and your business card can be a big advantage, especially if they don’t have the time or energy to look you up online.

These business cards have a life of their own – you don’t know which card will make someone call you, nor do you know when they will do it.

And, of course, having a quick reference to your business is great for networking with colleagues, private lenders, or potential partners. It’s just what you need when you mingle with the real estate lot.

Conclusion: Business Card Etiquette for Real Estate Investors

Once you do have a solid business card, you should use it appropriately. The rules are really simple. The first one is – always carry business cards with you, because you don’t know when you’ll need them, nor how many of them you’ll need.

Another consideration is: Who do you give your card to? The common wisdom is to offer your business card only to people you’ve talked to. In theory, you can share it with strangers too, but the results of this are mixed. The only exception are networking events, where exchanging contact details is expected. In this case, don’t forget to ask for other people’s business cards in return (colleagues, private lenders, lawyers, and other professionals).

If you’ve just got your new business card, don’t offer them like you’re on a mission to get rid of them as fast as possible. So, don’t give more than one business card per person, unless someone explicitly asks for it. Of course, if you leave your cards in a public place – like a diner, the counter at a local club, or similar, you can hand out a bundle. 

 

Finally, offer your full attention to the person who’s getting the card from you. It’s your best chance at leaving a good impression. When you accept business cards from other REIs, you can also acknowledge a specific detail that’s included in their card (“Nice office location”, “Great font”, “Love the color scheme you used”) or you can add a handwritten note on the card.

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