If you’ve been online in the last decade you’ve probably seen an ad for Vistaprint. They’re the ones behind the “free business cards” advertisements that proliferate all across the Internet. Many people are aware that they’re not necessarily free, but do you actually get the cards if you go through with the offer?
Business cards have long been thought of as a necessity for any owner or representative worth their salt. Some professions, like doctors, lawyers, and sales reps still rely heavily on the scant information provided by these tiny cards.
As the world gets more and more digital, the apparent need for business cards seems to be diminishing, but Vistaprint seems to still be thriving on an offer that seems as old as the Internet.
They are still promoting their FREE business cards, and now they even include a stamp with your information on it, just pay shipping and handling.
The hype is that they use the word free, even though you’ll be paying to have them shipped. Obviously we all know this is a classic gimmick for all sorts of products, and we’ve all gotten used to it. We know that nothing in life is truly free, and in this instance it’s easy to know that Vistaprint is not going broke giving away hundreds of free business cards.
They’ve obviously gotten their costs down so low that they can profit from sending out 250 business cards for the cost of shipping. They definitely don’t pay as much as much to ship the cards as you do to order them, so there is some profit margin, but it must be razor thin, and they try to make up for it with volume.
The cost of these “free” cards is just shipping. You can choose once you get there which package you want, and whether you want to enhance it with additional cards, or special upgrades. If you go with the basic offer you’ll get 250 cards for around $10 shipping.
You have to spend the time to get the cards to look the way you want them to, and if you don’t have a creative bone in your body this can be rather difficult. You can pay more to have them design the cards for you, but that sort of defeats the purpose of getting low-cost business cards.
Offering free business cards is a good ploy to get people to your website. You never quite know what people will buy in addition to free business cards, and it’s a great way to collect customer information to try to upsell them into other products or services.
By offering free business cards they are attracting a very specific clientele. They know that they will get customers that are small to medium sized business owners, or entrepreneurs that are just starting out with their first venture, and don’t have much start-up money.
Because they can profile with some accuracy the type of person that would take them up on their offer, they can taylor their other products to meet that specific demographic. Additionally, they can sell their customer lists to other, related businesses that can buy these leads and try to sell you on things like incorporating your business, or applying for business loans or credit cards.
Does Vistaprint Really Work?
If you discard the notion that they’re free business cards, and realize that you are in fact paying for the cards when you pay for shipping, then the product is actually pretty good.
You will get cards that are of decent quality for the money, and perhaps the best part is their design function that lets you customize the cards until they look the way you want. That way you won’t have some boring card to hand out to people that are interested in what you do.
When compared to non-free offers where you have to pay for shipping as well as the printing itself, the cards are of the same quality. They also measure up to the type of card you’d get locally at places like OfficeMax or Staples, without having to leave your home, and while having full control over the design.
If you’ve made the determination that you need business cards for your particular line of work, and you’re just starting out, then Vistaprint is a relatively easy, cheap, and fast way to get your business cards.
In the Information Age, especially with social networking on the rise, fewer and fewer networking is happening in the real world, so you should seriously consider the need to have a physical business card. Focus your attention more on your online presence in the form of your own website or your social networking profile pages, and save things like business cards for when you make it big.
What do you think? Does Vistaprint really work?
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