I went to a networking event, a few years ago, where I talked about blogging, a guy who ran a small printing business said he had no idea what to write about, I replied with “Are business cards dead or still a useful tool?” As it happened every attendee at that event had some to hand out but this isn’t usually the norm. Many people don’t see business cards as a necessity as it’s easy to say “oh I’m JoanneDewberryUK across the board on social media.” *cough blatant plug cough* but unless you follow them straight away (i.e right THEN at the event, which most people won’t) you may just forget.
A business card works as a physical reminder that you met someone, their details and most importantly what they do. I believe business cards are an essential piece of your marketing and networking kit (and if you haven’t got any left consider taking along your latest flyer, magazine anything tangible to give away, always carry something).
Business cards also make you look far more professional and organised, it’s a little bit lame scratching your details down on a scrap of paper or being disorganised with nothing at all to share. The hardest part, when it comes to designing business cards is deciding just what information you should include. It can be easy to overload the business card with tons of information as mentally you don’t want to miss anything but as a receiver, this can look really busy and give the receiver far too many options. Too many options can also make it hard for the receiver to know what you do and what you want them to do, call to actions are important but too many is overwhelming.
What Information Do You Need on Your Business Cards?
Contact Details: Email, phone, website and most importantly your name. It’s always the obvious things we overlook. Don’t overload your business card with social media platforms, pick one and remember we always have our phones to hands you can always ask them “what’s your Twitter handle and I’ll follow you now” it’s also a handy way to keep the conversation flowing. But don’t worry as once you start connecting with individuals online you can always direct them to other platforms.
When I was designing my new business cards I listed the top things I wanted people to know;
- My name – Joanne Dewberry
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website Address – www.joannedewberry.co.uk
- Twitter Handle (as still aiming for the elusive 10,000 followers #40before40) – @JoanneDewberry
Trisha Reece Virtual PA Services soon realised there was a pattern to my information that would work well on a design she had previously seen. I literally love how it looks ⤵️
Use the Front and Back: The back is great for adding images which you can normally split across the number of cards you order. This can be handy for using your business cards to target your audience. For example, a photographer may choose to give out his headshot images at a corporate networking event and save his weddings images for a wedding supplier events. Or consider using the backs of your business cards for loyalty schemes and appointment cards, this technique will help ensure people hold onto them longer too.
Think Quality: Always opt for the best quality you can afford. (Be careful though as some cheaper printers may request their branding or website address on your business cards as a way of providing them at that low-cost price.) If you have a handmade business there really isn’t anything wrong with making your own business cards, however, remember to consider if this will be cost-effective? Make sure your business card sparkles and shouts quality this, in turn, creates a lasting impression. If you take this much care over your business card imagine what the receiver will be thinking about the quality of your service.
I’ve wanted to have recycled business cards for ages as I’m trying to increase my eco-friendly credentials but have always been worried the quality would be naff. When Aura-Print offered me 250 business cards to review I knew this was the perfect opportunity to give recycled business cards a try. I went for a 700gsm thickness as I wanted them to feel special which I LOVE but you would definitely still get a lovely quality from 350gsm as mine are almost like 2 cards thick! However, at least I know they won’t get torn or crumpled at the bottom of someone’s bag! I also went for the rounded edges as I like a more fluid, circular feel to my branding.
Format: Do not automatically assume business cards should be landscape why not stand out from the crowd, present something different and design your business card in portrait, square or even circle.
Think About the Colour: Some people might want to jot details down on your business card, clues to remind them about your small business, maybe where you met for when they get home. In this case, I’d try to avoid dark or block colours like blue and black. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with at least one side being more white, simplistic possibly slightly more minimalistic.
I opted for white on both sides of my design as it matches my branding, I also choose not to use lamination making it much easier for someone to pencil notes on my business cards. I also felt that the natural feel added to the overall quality.
Avoid Using Templates: Ensure your business card is unique to you and not one off the shelf that looks like everyone else’s.
Streamline Your Branding: Retail expert and fellow Sage UK Business Expert Graham Soult, Canny Insights, has designed his business cards in the style of retail Top Trumps, not only is this in keeping with his branding, it’s a talking point and it makes his cards memorable (otherwise I wouldn’t be mentioning it now). Streamline your branding by sticking to exact colours, fonts and images which are all synonymous with your small business brand.
Update and Re-evaluate Business Cards Regularly: Things changed. Fact. You don’t want to be turning up to an event with an out of date business card.
I’m absolutely in love with my new business cards. I cannot wait to do more face to face networking so I can hand these out! What do you think are the important aspects of business cards? Or do you think they have lost their relevance during small business networking?
For more Business Card Tips and Hints see Networking A Successful Small Business pages 69-73
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