Picture this – you’re waiting in line to checkout at the grocery store and it’s unusually busy. You find yourself striking up a conversation with the person in line behind you and they casually ask what you do for work. You quickly describe your business, and lo-and-behold, they have been looking for a good (fill-in-the-blank) and would love to take your business card. The next moment either fills you with eager excitement, or embarrassing dread, as you reach into your pocket to pull out your business card. The contrast in emotions can stem from your confidence in how well your card presents you, and the work you do. I’m going to discuss some ways that you can make sure your business card makes a positive and instant impact!
Business cards come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s no question that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. You need to ask yourself how you want to be represented. Energetic and bold? Professional and spartan? Clean and minimal? There are so many options, but it all starts with making sure your design relates back to your business. If you have a high-level law office, you may opt for the more minimal, or clean look, while web design companies would try to emphasize their creativity. Your business card should be an extension of you, and the work you do, so make sure that it does!
A common problem I see, as a designer, is someone who wants to cram too much information on to their card. Is it really important to have your grandson’s birthday on your business card (maybe a tad bit of an exaggeration)? I encourage people to just put the most important contact information on their card, and try to make it a conversation starter, and then people can reach out if they need more, such as a quote for services, a portfolio, or anything else. Name, phone number, and website, are the 3 most important points of emphasis. Your email, title, or address is also nice, but only if it fits into your business plan. Some companies operate mostly remotely, or don’t use their working office for much other than team meeting and organization. Don’t forget that you also have two sides, so use that to your advantage to space out your information, and not crowd the card. There are other ways to have people remember your card among the stack they’ve collected besides making it chock full of a bullet-ed list of all your services; that’s not to say you can’t make a text heavy card work, but it needs to be incorporated into the overall design. If you want to put a lot of information onto your card, either consider trimming it down a bit, or putting copy on one side, and an eye catching design or element by itself on the other side.
There is a plethora of interesting mediums and finishes out that that can really make your card stand out amongst the stacks of cards the other business owners often have languishing in a forgotten desk drawer. One really cool way to do this, is to use a unique size. Even if it’s just slightly shorter and longer, or taller and thinner, make it so when they pick up that stack of cards, yours (literally) stick out! There’s also tons of unique substrates out there. If it fits with your business, use an interesting transparent material, or a recycled textured material; both can make a huge impact. Lastly, try giving UV coating, or interesting cut-outs to help make your card unique. Both of these techniques allow you to highlight specific information on your card to really make it pop!
A lot of these methods will end up costing you a little bit more per card, but in the end, business cards are one of the highest ROI instruments you have in your marketing tool belt. They are relatively cheap (even for “expensive” ones) and usually one solid job can pay for an entire box of business cards within the first hour. So remember to link it to your business; make it feel like it really represents you. Don’t clutter it up with too much information to the point that the really important stuff gets lost. And don’t be afraid to use something different to make yourself stand out. You want your prospects to pick up your card and instantly flash back to remembering you, so if you cut corners, make sure it’s only to make your business card stand out from the pack.