I remember the very first business card I ever had. This simple 2 x 3 ½ inch piece of card-stock contained my very own name and how to connect with me. It validated me as a professional. Over the years I’ve had numerous cards spanning a multiple decades-long B2B marketing career. Still. I will always remember my first.
According to the history of business cards, “Bearer cards, calling (or “visiting” cards), and trade cards were the three main predecessors that turned into our modern system of exchanging business introductions.”
There are companies that do nothing BUT print business cards. And there are companies that have been producing cards, as well as the full suite of corporate stationery, for decades. And whether you choose to order your cards online, at your local printer, or even produce them yourself, remember their objective: To make a great first impression and help other people connect with you.
So what makes a business card stand out?
How it feels. The worst thing, in my opinion, is to hold a card that is printed on such a lightweight stock that it practically wilts. You want nice, sturdy stock that has substance and just feels good. It may be velvety smooth or filled with texture.
In my article: Capture the senses for an unforgettable print experience that sells I share how, by engaging the sense of touch, you create a memorable and long-lasting customer experience that makes money. Cards that make a person take a second look when placed in their hand are clear winners.
Perfect finishing. We’ve all seen them. Crooked business cards. While many are quick to blame the printer, it’s often the design that puts the card at jeopardy. Designs with elements that fall outside safe zones make things like crooked cutting easy to spot. The good news is that many finishing technologies – like die-cutting, spot coatings and foil finishes – are more affordable than ever before thanks to digital print enhancement technologies like Scodix. Experienced, reliable printers capable of handling the challenge can help you achieve your ideal result. It’s this attention to detail that shows your business card means business.
Crisp, clean edges. If a card has a solid background and you keep it in your wallet in your back pocket, the ink will rub off over time. In fact just about any card will show signs of age over time. A worn-out/faded background, and/or frayed edges, makes business cards look old and tired. It makes it seem as if you have not handed one out for a very long time. Keeping your cards in a business card holder is the ideal solution, though not always the most convenient. You can use a dummy front and back business card and serve cards up from the middle of the stack. It will add a bit of longevity, but you will still need to periodically replace your cards with a fresh batch.
What it says. Business cards share valuable information. In addition to how to get in touch with you, they remind people why they have your card in the first place. Your business card can include key messages, interactive elements, calls-to-action and/or keywords that nudge the connection farther. But be selective. Don’t cram it all in.
Which brings us to Font size. If you have to strain your eyes to see a number or, as in my case, you have to ask your child to clarify if what you’re looking at is a 6 or an 8, then your card will not be able to do its job. At the very least, name, phone number and email address need to be easy to find and easy to read. Don’t sacrifice this for creativity. There are 2 sides to ever busy card. Some have more!
How it looks. Design is the ultimate wild card in the deck! Because if the card is superbly designed, but produced on flimsy stock because it was 5 cents cheaper per card, then it won’t matter. You’ve already left an impression that you’re not worth the investment.
Think about who you want keeping and referencing your card. What elements will evoke a response that drives business from them? Design your card for your audience, not yourself.
Business cards are one of the most important items in your marketing toolkit. Always have a supply of fresh cards on hand (stash some in your car). You don’t need to give them out like candy, but you do need to give them out when it matters. Hand out a few and you may end up with some surprise referral business; and entry into a new network of opportunities.
What does your business card say about you?