8 Alternative Uses for Business Cards

Smiling male owner giving reward card to customer at checkout counter in supermarket


Business cards are a portable and affordable way to get your name out there, making them a vital marketing tool for small businesses. A creative business card design can grab your customers’ attention and drive sales. However, business card printing can be used for other marketing tools for your business.

With everything from referral cards to coupons, these alternative creative business card ideas can help expand your range of marketing tools and increase customer retention. To stand out from the crowd, consider these eight alternative uses for business cards.

1. Appointment cards

One of the most common business card alternatives is a branded appointment reminder with the time and date of your scheduled meeting. Appointment cards are a helpful reminder for customers that also promote your business. Some businesses that benefit from this type of card include:

  • Hair salons
  • Real estate agencies
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Mechanics
  • Personal trainers

When designing your card, include your address and phone number and leave plenty of space for your staff to jot down appointment information. Minimize no-shows with a reminder to call if they need to cancel.

2. Loyalty cards

Interesting business cards often include an incentive for the customer. For example, if you run a business that often sees repeat customers—like a barbershop, coffee shop or bistro— a stamp or loyalty card shows appreciation and keeps people coming back. Small businesses benefit from programs like this—a recent study found that 66% of consumers will adjust their spending to maximize their loyalty points.

Start a loyalty program that offers a discount or free item when a customer reaches a certain number of purchases. To maximize your company’s visibility, brand one side of the card with your logo and leave space on the other side for stamps to track their progress.

3. Referral cards

Your current customers are your best marketing platform—one survey found that more than 80% of Americans seek recommendations when making a purchase. When customers pass your referral cards on to their friends, family and colleagues, they’re advocating for your business and increasing its visibility. In return, the referrer receives a discount or free service.

Referral cards are particularly impactful with peer-to-peer businesses such as:

  • Accountants
  • Hairstylists
  • Car dealers

Use your imagination when designing your referral card. For example, you can build a hybrid loyalty/referral program by offering an extra stamp to customers who bring in a friend or family member.

4. Business card coupon

Coupons drive business—96% of consumers have used one in the past 90 days. Including a discount, promo code or free item on the back of your card is a great way to reinforce your brand and encourage patronage. Business card coupons work well for:

  • Small retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Nail salons
  • Spas

To make a visual impact and leave a lasting impression, consider the size and design of your card. For example, restaurant owners can use a large business card to promote a free appetizer or dessert on the next visit. If you’re offering a monetary discount, remember the rule of 100—percentage discounts are most effective on purchases under $100, and dollar discounts work best on transactions greater than $100.

5. Bag stuffer

Guarantee your customers have your contact information by including a card in every company bag. Using business cards as bag stuffers is also an excellent way to promote an upcoming event or sale. Print a small run of business cards with your logo and contact info on one side and a save the date on the other and staple them to the bag. You can also consider leaving a stack for customers to grab or handing them out at your next trade show.

A Business Person handing out Business Cards
A Business Person handing out Business Cards


Guarantee your customers have your contact information by including a card in every company bag. Using business cards as bag stuffers is also an excellent way to promote an upcoming event or sale. Print a small run of business cards with your logo and contact info on one side and a save the date on the other and staple them to the bag. You can also consider leaving a stack for customers to grab or handing them out at your next trade show.

6. Digital promotion

Including links to your website or social channels—such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest—on your business cards helps expand your digital audience and build brand awareness. Or, create analog-to-digital conversions by printing business cards asking customers to give you an online review. The results can pay off—93% of customers say online reviews influence their buying decisions.

7. Information cards

If your business has a great story, a unique product line or exclusive services, interesting business cards can differentiate you from the competition.

  • A coffee roaster can share how they got started and help customers get to know the people behind the business.
  • A farm stand owner can list their favorite products—such as premade pies, local honey and handmade salsa—using ingredients grown onsite.
  • A bike shop owner can list their general services—like tune-ups, flat fixes and bike fittings—and prices.

8. Wallet-sized tools

Ensure your customers hold onto your card by including a helpful tool to keep in their wallet.

  • Bakers can add a list of common ingredient substitutions or baking conversions on the back.
  • A tailor can include a mini ruler along one side.
  • A restaurant owner can share a recipe for their homemade bread.

Business cards are a powerful marketing tool, but their true impact is unlocked by thinking outside of the box. Whatever creative ideas you have for your business cards, FedEx Office can turn them into a reality.

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