In today’s technology-driven business world, business cards may not seem to be as important as they were in the past, but believe me they are. Business cards are one of the most commonly used marketing pieces out there, and they are ultimately your first impression and reminder you leave with any potential prospect. They serve as a tangible, physical representation of your business and brand.
What does your business card say about you? If you haven’t given it much thought, you should probably take a few minutes to reflect. Creating an experience around the introduction, the conversation, and the presentation of a business card can leave a lasting impression.
Essentially, a business card acts as a snapshot or first impression of your company. It needs to answer the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHY for potential customers and clients in a very short amount of time. It is much more than a piece of paper; it is a channel for you to convey your mission, services, and purpose.
When it comes to designing a business card, there are certain overarching principles that hold true. Business cards are fairly small in size, so you need to be strategic about which information you choose to share and how you choose to format it.
Make it clean. Above all, your business card needs to be readable. The information needs to be organized, easy to follow, and displayed in a logical order. Be sure to include all pertinent information, such as your name, title, company logo, contact info, email address, website, mission, services, DUNS and NAICS codes, if applicable.
Make it sharable. The whole point of your business card is to share it with others! Use a nice printing company and choose a thicker card weight to give off a better first impression. Opt for an uncoated card stock so that people you meet can write or take notes directly on the card. If possible, consider providing blank lines on your card for people to do just that. Be sure to use an ownable color, but allow white space to balance out your design.
Make it unique. Stand apart from your competitors! Use fonts and color to express your personality and showcase your brand. Carry your brand look and feel from your card through to your website, collateral, social media and other marketing materials. Consistent messaging is critical to developing brand awareness.
Make it scanable. Many people will gladly accept your business card but trust me, no one is taping them to Rolodex cards anymore. (Did I just date myself?) Most business professionals are collecting cards and either taking a picture or using a desktop scanner to capture your information into their contact list. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that your card can fit through a scanner, the type is not mucked up with other graphics or varnishes, and all the information you want them to have is on there. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to scan a card and having everything in the wrong field when it is complete.
If designing your business card is 50% of the process, then business card etiquette is the remaining half of the equation. You can design a beautiful business card, but if your delivery is poor, then the design does no good. Here are a few points to remember:
- Start a conversation first. Engage and connect with that person before you offer up your card.
- Have your cards organized and easily accessible (whether that be in a card case, a name badge holder, or other spot). Don’t fumble!
- Carefully present your card to the other person facing in the correct direction. Don’t hold it between your fingers – it looks sloppy.
- Graciously take the other person’s card and take a moment to read and study it. Make notes so you remember the connection and any key points you both talked about.
- Place their card somewhere you will find it – don’t shove it in your pocket or toss it in your bag.
What other tips do you follow when sharing your business card? What business card design elements stand out to you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!