The business cards can be exchanged during introductions, both as a convenience and as a memory aid. In other words, business cards allow networkers to further the relationship through future contact.
Business cards may include one or more aspects of striking visual design, but should also contain important contact information. Use this guide to make the most of your business cards:
1. What to Include
All of this information should be included on a professional business card:
-- Name: This does not have to be your given name, but should be what you expect people in business to refer to you as.
-- Position: This is really optional; many small business owners find themselves wearing many hats, and may find it beneficial and/or less confusing to leave their official title off the cards.
-- Address: Physical office location and/or mailing address.
-- Web site: Adding a Web site address to business cards is now very common and expected.
-- Email: Email is also now a very common and popular communication channel.
-- Phone: Include your business phone number.
-- Instant Messaging/ICQ Address: Internet chat address.
2. Double Sided Cards
If your company is global, or your sales territory focus is in a region where your spoken language is not the predominant language, you might wish to consider using the backside of your business card to include your information in an alternate language. You can also use the back of the card to provide more extensive information and details about your products and services. Or, if you do a lot of local business, you might want to include a small street map to your office on the back of your card. There are lots of things you might be able to do with all that blank space on the back of your cards.
3. Conversation Starters
Savvy sales people often use their business cards as a conversation starter. Of course, the card needs to be unique or unusual in order to generate a dialogue. Some of the more interesting cards I've seen recently were printed on micro-CDs, on magnets, on translucent plastic, etc.
4. Standard Size
Even if you are aiming for something unique, you should still not diverge from the "standard" business card size. For managing their contacts, many people will create a business card rolodex, or may have a hand scanner specifically sized for business cards. So stick with the standard size -- otherwise you may be excluded from their contact databases simply because your card didn't fit!
5. Order Quantity
Quantity discounts apply to business cards. When pricing printed business cards, check to see where the price breaks occur; sometimes you can significantly increase the quantity of business cards for very little additional cost.
6. Quality Matters
Flimsy cards that are paper thin, and cards with ragged perforated edges, just scream "amateur." If you are going to print cards yourself, be sure to use heavy business card stock, and use stock that has "clean-edge" micro-perforations. And "glossy" finished stock can also help boost the quality perception of self-printed cards, especially if lots of color is used in the card design.
7. Brand Cards
Your business cards should be similar to all of your other printed promotional material. Business cards should contain your business or product logo. Double-check the colors with the printer to make sure the correct Pantone colors are used. This will ensure that the logo is printed using the correct and matching color scheme.
8. Keep Current
Information contained on the business card should always be kept current. Business cards with obsolete information crossed out are very unprofessional. If any information on the card changes or becomes obsolete, have new cards printed to reflect the change, and throw the old ones away.
9. Change It Up
Textured business cards, or cards with scalloped edges, stand out. Consider a wide variety of ways to make your card jump out of the pack. The texture or color of the card can also be utilized to ensure your card stands out.
Use a legible font that makes the text on the business card easy to read. Avoid making the fonts too small. Use contrasting colors, and avoid using porous paper that will allow the ink to bleed and the text to blend into the card.
There is little more embarrassing than business cards that contain typographical errors. Proofread the cards multiple times. Let me say that again -- proofread your business cards! And have other people proofread them too, as they will often be able to spot mistakes that you've overlooked.
Maximize the power of your business cards. Whether you are networking, or just being personable, business cards are a must in the professional world, and crucial to business marketing.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll, software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll, audio recording and editing software.© 2007 Sharon Housley
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.