Last week, I was pulling off some information from about 200 business cards and came across many that were either missing information or overall distasteful. With many popular sites to create business cards on, you don’t need to be a professional designer to make a nice card (but that certainly doesn’t hurt). As most large companies have standard cards, here are 8 tips for creating the perfect networking card for small businesses and for personal promotion.
Don’t use cheap, pre-made designs. Sure, you can’t beat the deal of Vistaprint’s free designs, but you can easily pick them out from a mile away. You want your business or yourself to stand out amongst a crowd. The best way to do that is by making a splash right off the bat. While the premium cards from Vistaprint are better choices, other sites such as Moo and Zazzle also offer beautiful designs and top-of-the-line paper. These sites will let you choose from hundreds of designs while giving you the option to customize. For about $25, you can get 100 cards from these sites and they are constantly running great sales. Keep an eye out for your next purchase.
Keep your audience in mind. What exactly is the purpose of your cards? Will you be handing them out to potential clients or will you be using them to connect with people? Depending on your answer, the function of your business card should work to your advantage. If you’re giving them to potential clients, you might want to add a tagline or phrase that leaves an impression of what you can do for them. For simple networking, you want to make sure all forms of communication are covered so they can reach you easily.
Your card should reflect you/your business. For businesses, it’s important to try to keep a bit of consistency through everything you publish, which extends to your business cards. Make sure your logo is on the card and try to keep the same colors you have in your storefront or flyers as well. Your industry should be reflected on your business card too. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, your business card should be like a mini portfolio. This is potentially your first time to show off your craft, so make sure it reflects your skills.
Use both sides. By using just the “front”, you’re limiting yourself to half the space. You have just a few square inches to make a good impression…use them! Make sure that one side contains all of your information as a standard business card would. This helps people easily access all of your contact info–especially if they use a binder to hold all of their cards. The “back” shouldn’t contain much additional information, but can include something like a logo or a picture, as well as your name or business name. The worst thing you can do is leave the back blank.
Keep it simple. It’s so tempting to want to squeeze every bit of information about yourself or company onto your business card. Keep in mind that this is just the starting point of a relationship between yourself and person who receives your card. You should include just enough information to help them connect with you further. A clean looking card is easier to read and will make it that much easier for a person to pick up the phone and call you.
Make sure things are clear and easy to read. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping it simple. Your design should be fun and creative, but it shouldn’t go overboard. The main reason of a networking card is to spread information, and if people can’t read what you’ve printed, there’s simply no point. Try to use plain backgrounds where you have text and make sure the text is easy to read on the color you’ve chosen. Sometimes it helps to get a second opinion when working on a design, so don’t be scared to ask a friend or colleague.
Don’t forget any information. I was shocked when about 1 in every 15 cards I went through were missing an email address. In today’s internet-driven society, many people prefer to communicate via email. By leaving out a critical way to get in touch with you, you may be missing out on prospective clients or projects. At the very least, your business card should include your name, phone number, email address, and a relevant website if you have one. However, if your industry is heavily involved in social media, it might also be beneficial to include your Twitter handle or Facebook link.
Triple check everything. This should go without saying. Your business card is a piece of you and should reflect the most accurate version of yourself. You don’t want to provide the wrong email address, mix up your phone number, or misspell your name. You don’t want to leave your contact wondering why you’re not responding to their email or not returning their phone call.
Usually it takes me a few days to perfect the design of my business cards until I’m ready to send them off to be printed. I try to have as much fun as I can with them so that my personality and professionalism shines through. To me, I’m proud of my work and I want to be equally proud when I pass out my cards. Are your business cards hurting or helping you? What other tips do you have for people when creating a business card? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @SimplyEricaR.
Bonus business card controversy: With these new sites that allow you to customize so many aspects, different sizes and shapes of business cards are popping up. Some of the different features include thicker paper and mini cards. There are pros and cons to choosing a radically different style than the typical card people are used to. On the one hand, you stand out right away and make people spend a little bit more time looking at your card. On the other hand, since it’s not a standard size, they may not have a good place to put it or may be off put entirely by the difference. What do you think about these different options? The risk is yours to take.