A 3.5 inch by 2 inch business tool which is compact, efficient, low-tech, low-cost and keeps working for you long after it leaves your hand.
TIP #1 Avoid the template trap
Templates are tempting…They allow a business owner to get a nice, professional looking design without any design experience. So what’s the problem? Everyone uses them! Are you like everyone else? Is your business just another cookie-cutter company devoid of any originality and uniqueness? That might be what your branding is saying to your clients if you don’t have a unique, professional quality, well-crafted logo and marketing collateral.
Why is it a trap? If you pick a template design from a major on-line printer, you won’t have access to that artwork to produce other marketing materials (brochures, banners, car magnets) unless you purchase it from them. Maybe you got a great deal on those business cards, but are you sure their other prices are competitive? Want to shop local? Want something they don’t offer? Need it faster than they can provide? Too bad, you are trapped!
TIP #2 Include the essentials
- Your company name or logo
- Your name, title and qualifications (if appropriate)
- Your business type or profession (if it is not clear by the name of your business)
- Contact information (multiple types: phone, email, physical address, website, social media)
- Reasons for doing business with you …don’t say too much, but consider:
- Call to action?
- Benefits of doing business with you?
- Highlight specific products or services?
- Target market?
TIP #3 Consider the goals
- It is kept by the recipient – they need a reason not to recycle it.
- Helps the recipient remember you – your card is your 24/7 sales person, make it memorable.
- Encourages contact – don’t make it too hard to read (small type, bad font choice, too lengthy email or web address).
- Gets passed on to others – this is the big one! Is your card so unique that others are compelled to give it to someone else?
TIP #4 Make your card stand out
- Use both sides! This typically costs no extra, a one sided card is a missed opportunity
- Add your photo – This is not just for Real Estate professionals, it helps put a face with your name
- Odd sizes and shapes – Just don’t make it too big to fit in someone else’s filing system
- Vertical cards – Most cards are horizontal, consider switching the orientation
- Die cut (special shapes or rounded corners)
- Folding cards – This is a great way to get more real estate…don’t overdo it
- Bilingual? – Make a second language side, but keep the same design, you don’t want your alternate language audience to think they are less important.
TIP #5 Remember your business card etiquette
- DO give out cards:
- To friends, family, vendors, clients
- At business events
- At the beginning of meetingsWhen given one
- When asked to repeat your name
- With written business correspondence
- When you get new cards
- DO NOT give out cards:
- At meals (except Friday Networking Lunch)Weddings, funerals, or other sensitive events.
- Establish a rapport first, you are not a poker dealer (well, maybe you are, but don’t act like one while networking)!
- Understand cultural norms when traveling! Many countries have their own rules about business cards, know before you go.
- Always have enough in your possession and order more before you run out
- Don’t scratch out, cover up or correct (very unprofessional)
- Keep them in a holder – this keeps cards clean and straight
- Don’t go “fishing” – know where they are so you can easily retrieve one
- Establish a system for organizing cards you receive