You know your business card is your staple marketing and networking tool. Not only do potential customers expect you to have one, but finding yourself without your business card when you meet a new prospect can literally break any potential deal. That’s why savvy business professionals always keep a few business cards on-hand, even when going out at 1 a.m. to pick up milk for the baby. But in today’s ultra-competitive environment, simply having a business card isn’t good enough. You need a business card that wows. Here are five ways you can stop handing out that dud of a corporate business card and start attracting customers with a business card that’s so good, they’ll share it with their own network.

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1. Design to dazzle

A compelling design is the first step toward a winning business card. Many designers seem to believe that all business cards should look the same. While it’s true your business card should display your contact information so it’s easy to find and understand, it’s also true you should add personality to your business card. Forget the mug shot and instead do a full-color photo background. Tell customers why they should do business with you, personally. And develop a design that enhances your brand image and lends itself to your story.

2. Be useful

The back of your business card might be valuable, yet wasted, real estate. Print information on it that your customers will find useful, or add value with a coupon. Sports schedules, measurement conversion charts, discounts, and other information can make your business card good enough to keep on-hand, rather than simply toss in the card file (or pile, as it may be). Add value in a way that is relevant to both your company and your customers, and you’re well on your way to a winning business card.

3. Be interactive

Interactive elements such as QR and AR codes can make your business card fun and compelling. You can use these elements to let customers “check in” with your company, visit a website, download an app, or watch a video right from their smartphones. Don’t miss the opportunity to share interactive features with your customers on your business card; doing so can make it fun to share and motivate sales.

4. Be social

Does your business card include your Facebook page, Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile? Why not? Not only should every post-2012 business card feature social media profiles, those profiles should be instantly accessible via a smartphone scan.

5. Have fun

If you want to print a truly memorable business card, take the time to have a bit of fun with it.  A photographer could print a die-cut business card with a cut-out frame, for example, or a tech consultant could pass out a business card that, when scanned, leads to a fun (and relevant) smartphone game. Think of creative ways you can make your business card fun, and you’ll earn the kind of attention that leads to excellent sales figures.

Your business card can be the difference between winning or losing a potential customer. Instead of considering business cards as simple contact tools, think of them as powerful marketing tools that can help you land new customers any time, anywhere. After all, you never know who you might meet in the grocery at 1 a.m.

How can you improve your business card?