Rack Cards: 4 Tips for Differentiating Yours From the Pack

With compelling graphics and messaging, good descriptions of benefits and full contact information, you can effectively use rack cards to build business.

Display, Rack card

For small businesses eager to get their brand out in front of potential new customers, rack cards — those display advertising cards you see at store checkout lines, hotels, motels, airports and other travel-related locations — provide an easy and inexpensive solution. But when the racks containing those cards are overflowing, your card needs to stand out from the rest to grab the attention of passersby.

Here are five ways to make sure that your business's rack cards capture the customer's attention:

1. Focus on Compelling Graphics and Text

As with other types of display advertising, a rack card needs to catch a prospect's eye quickly or it will be ignored. Its graphics and messaging need to be bold and appealing. For example, if you're a retailer whose branding is closely tied to your weekly promotions, you could include "Come to First Fridays for Great Deals!" with a bold central image that features your top-selling product. If you run a landscaping business, you might showcase a striking image of a tree that leads the viewer's eye down through the card and to your most successful projects.

Since these cards are often displayed in such a way that only the top can be seen, the most dramatic graphics and messaging need to be at the top, with more detailed information below.

2. Detail Your Features and Benefits

Once you've caught a prospect's attention and they pick up the card, you need to offer a compelling reason why the prospect should buy from you. In order to do this, describe the features, benefits and incentives the prospect will enjoy. A spa, for example, might include a line on how a person can ease tension from a busy work week with a 30-minute relaxing massage. Be very brief, using just two or three lines — while you want to include enough messaging to compel the prospect to do business with you, you don't want to overcrowd the rack card with too much text.

3. Include a Call to Action

Directly telling the reader what action they should take will help clarify your message and provide motivation. In a rack card, this could be simple messaging like "call us" or "visit our website." To ensure that it's easy for the customer to make a purchase, include your web address, as well as your operating hours and physical location (if your business has one). Finally, make the CTA stand out with bold coloring and a large-enough font so the viewer can't miss it.

4. Use a Professional Printing Service

It's important to use a professional printing service so you have the highest-quality rack cards possible — otherwise, poor quality could negatively impact your marketing efforts. Professionals can help with design suggestions and produce rack cards with vibrant colors and graphics on professional-quality card stock, which will communicate the quality of your business to customers.

Rack cards can be a fun way to catch the eye of new customers, but they have to be professionally done and thoughtfully composed in order to make an impact. Explore your design options and test them with friends and employees to make sure they're sending your message effectively before you go to print.