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    dcclark's Avatar
    dcclark is offline Moderates the loving team
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    Default Business cards: what to put on them

    Hello all,

    I'm finally taking some big steps with my photography: opening a website to sell my photos, and simultaneously offering some of my prints for sale in local galleries!

    Along those lines, I am planning to print some business cards. However, I have a few special considerations.

    Clearly I will have my name, website, and a dedicated email on the card. But, I'm not planning to offer my services for hire. The cards are strictly for giving out to people who are interested in my prints, and to have the cards available in the galleries (on / near my photos). So, I don't have a reason to have a business phone, and I'm not sure whether I should bother putting my (one and only) cell number on the card. Should I assume that potential customers have access to email, or should I risk them calling my all-purpose cell (which I answer with a basic "Hello?"). It seems like that could risk running over into the land of the unprofessional.

    In addition, is there any other data which I should include on the card? I will certainly have the word "photography" or some such on it. Anything else?

    Thanks for the time!
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    waffles's Avatar
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    I've heard from a few people (and one of them was a user on this forum) that it can make the expereince more personal if you leave the phone number off and write it on the card. It looks like you're doing something special for them.

    It also gives you the chance to change your number and not have out of date cards.
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    dcclark's Avatar
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    Waffles -- smart idea. That pretty much solves my worry about phone numbers!

    Now I just have to design this thing!
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    That's a good idea, also I think there are ways to set up a seperate voicemail on your cell phone, so you can choose to ignore the call or send it to the voicemail then attend to the message at your convience.
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    A lot of folks are turned of by "business" cards with no phone number on them. I have one set with number and one set without that I hand out depending on how confident I am that I'm not giving my number to "the wrong crowd."

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    You are in that "in between" land....
    A "professional" would have a dedicated website, e-mail, mailing address(p.o. box) and phone/fax. The first three are easy and cheap...The phone number more challenging....
    To date(5+yrs), I use email for 99% of communication....seldom ever give personal phone # or address. (non-photog business)

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    joshfinnie is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk66 View Post
    You are in that "in between" land....
    A "professional" would have a dedicated website, e-mail, mailing address(p.o. box) and phone/fax. The first three are easy and cheap...The phone number more challenging....
    To date(5+yrs), I use email for 99% of communication....seldom ever give personal phone # or address. (non-photog business)
    I have to say that getting the phone number isn't that challenging. You just need to start answering your personal phone like "hello NAME PHOTOGRAPHY, NAME speaking" And you only need to do this with names that aren't in your phonebook. If an unknown or unlisted number pops up in your caller id, answer it like a business call.
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    dcclark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshfinnie View Post
    I have to say that getting the phone number isn't that challenging. You just need to start answering your personal phone like "hello NAME PHOTOGRAPHY, NAME speaking" And you only need to do this with names that aren't in your phonebook. If an unknown or unlisted number pops up in your caller id, answer it like a business call.
    This isn't a bad idea. I'm wondering if it will matter very much, because I'm not going to do work for hire -- so I really don't know who would be calling me! (Other than, hopefully, galleries saying something like "we sold one!" -- but I'd know who they are too).
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    navcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshfinnie View Post
    I have to say that getting the phone number isn't that challenging. You just need to start answering your personal phone like "hello NAME PHOTOGRAPHY, NAME speaking" And you only need to do this with names that aren't in your phonebook. If an unknown or unlisted number pops up in your caller id, answer it like a business call.
    This is almost exactly what I do. I just answer my phone, "Hello, this is Jeff". Then it doesn't matter if it's personal or business-related.

    Dcclark...As a businessman, I would steer you towards putting your phone number on there. Business cards are all about marketing. And marketing is about first impressions and getting your name out. With only an email, you don't look as professional and may not be taken as seriously. You could be a fly-by-night scammer that doesn't have a phone number for a reason. You don't want them to think that or anything else that will make them hesitate in contacting you.

    In order to be successul at business, you need the public to know about you and be able to contact you. A website is not enough...it's impersonal. A phone is an absolute minimum...your email should be a secondary contact (not primary). Also, a very important aspect of any business is good customer service. What that boils down to is making the purchasing experience as painless and efficient as possible.

    Think of it from your possible customers perspective: "This guy has a website, but no phone? Why? Everyone has a phone. I'd much rather give him a call and get all the info I need in a minute conversation than having to play email tag...if he even responds to my emails at all. Too much work."

    You would be surprised how many business owners make it as difficult as possible for their customers (you know, the ones that pay their bills?) to purchase their products or services. I'm sure we all share the frustration of calling the big-box store for a little help with a problem or to get info on a product only to be put on indefinate hold or passed from department to department...or worse yet, never be able to even speak to a live person! It's maddening. I know this example is a bit extreme for your situation, but the point behind it is that you want to make your customer like doing business with you, not make them work to do business with you.

    Bluntly stated, if you are worried about the public knowing your phone number, you need to re-evaluate how seriously you want customers. I definately don't say that in a "mean" way...you just need to apply your focus to the customer. This realization is usually a "light bulb" moment for many business folk. Make it easier for my customers to purchase my products, I get more customers.

    Of course I am not advocating a complete disregard for your privacy. You may end up buying a second line as time goes on, or using a home line for business and your cell for personal, or vice versa. But initially, you have to think like a business-person...having customers call my cell is not a bad thing...it's a good thing. It means business. It means I get a paycheck. It's a hassle, but I enjoy what I'm doing and this is the price of being a successful independent business owner.

    Hope that helps! Good luck my friend!
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    And yet Jeff, you only have a contact by email option on your website

    dcclark: can you not get what we call on this side of the pond a pay-as-you-go mobile phone fairly cheaply? No contract, just use it for first contact incoming calls?
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