Posts Tagged ‘business cards’

So What? It’s Just a Business Card

How is your business card working for you? Have you asked yourself that lately? What difference does it make, you’re probably asking yourself. It’s just a business card. It has my name, phone number and email address on it, what more does it need? After all, I’m using them so that business associates have that information at their fingertips. That’s what my business card is for.

Really? Wow. That’s what usually goes through my mind when I hear an established or prospective client tell me that. Right in their pocket they have one of the best marketing tools that they can readily carry with them and use, but so many people don’t. There are two basic mistakes that people make with their card design. They go so ultra-minimalistic that they don’t let anyone know what they really do or they travel to the other end of the spectrum and cram in so much information that you don’t even want to read the card. It makes your eyes hurt and your head spin. You just can’t concentrate on all of the information there.

Finding the middle ground is the key here. Let’s think about all of the billboards that you see when you drive along the freeway or highway. You’re moving along at a fairly fast speed and one of these mammoth-sized boards come up on the horizon. You only have a few seconds to see what it says before you’re moved on to the next board rising in the distance. I like to think of business cards the same way. I only have a few seconds to capture your interest, to let you know what my service or product is, and give you a way to contact me before the next business card is thrust in your face.

I design my cards with that in mind. I have to give you enough to be able to reach me. I have to interest you enough to want to reach me. And I have to be creative enough so that you will hold onto my card when the next business card comes your way. In addition, the cards have to adhere to the company brand. Do a drive-by test with your business card right now. Move it from left to right. Can you find the contact info easily? How does the logo stand out? Do you know what the person or business does? Was it pleasing to the eye? Are the fonts too hard to read or are they too small?

Hopefully your card passes the first test. Now, let’s take an even closer look at your card. Does it feel solid and professional? Can you run your fingers along the edge and feel those perforations? Yes, you know what I mean. The perforated business cards are okay in a pinch but they should only be used as a last resort to get you out of a major bind. Does the paper have a nice weight? Is the printing clear and vibrant? If you’re not pleased with any of these items you might want to consider getting your card printed by a professional printer or changing the printer that you use. The great news is that most design professionals have an affiliation with a printer that offers them a discount on high-end printing which helps to save you money and deliver an exceptional product all at the same time.

But wait, we’re not done with your card yet. Flip it over. What do you see? A large portion of you will see nothing. It’s blank. Why? I know that no matter which way my card is handed to the client, if it gets flipped over on their desk, stuck in their pocket backwards, no matter what, my client will be able to readily identify my card. In my case I have a gorgeous California sunset illustration that I drew from a photo along with my URL. This lets me showcase my illustration skills, marketing a service that the client might be interested in plus they have more incentive to hold on to the card. I love when I see my clients with my card stuck on their bulletin boards. If they love the picture they are much more likely to keep my card which means they will always remember me.

So, now we’ve talked about the appearance of your card. What about how you use it? Can I ask you a question? If you are one of the many people who only give their card to someone that you know wants to contact you – why? Why are you limiting your business and not reaching out to all of the people who need to reach you, who might be interested in what you have to tell them? Don’t hold on to your cards like you’ll never have any ever again, some rare precious commodity like gold. Let them go. Use them! Personally, I use my in all kinds of instances. Do you want to give another parent at school your phone number? Give them your card. Odds are they work or their spouse works or knows someone who works and might need your services. And I bet if you have retail items to sell – they buy stuff. Its a nice subtle way to let them know what you do and that you’re interested in their business. And don’t stop there. Give them to anyone you want to give your number too. Give them to someone who you can see will benefit from what you have to offer. There’s no value in being stingy with them.

Now that you’re convinced to hand them out, be a little bit sensible and don’t look desperate by dropping huge piles on grocery store shelves, gas station pumps, etc. Is this the person that you want to do business with? I want to come across as a professional so leaving them in the business card rack at the coffee shop, that’s good. Leaving them thrown all over the ground hoping someone picks them up. That’s bad.

Business cards. The biggest little tool in your arsenal. Put them to work for you.

Debby is a working writer, designer, artist, photographer and guest lecturer in Southern California. If you are interested in hiring her she is available for ghost blogging, strategic marketing planning, graphic and web design, photo shoots and more. You can email her at djohnson@debrongraphics.com