50 Surefire Business Card Tips

Business cards are one of the most powerful and inexpensive marketing tools you can use. Here are 50 surefire tips to make the most out of your business cards:

Your business card must communicate more than just your contact information. Make sure that your card includes a tag line that explains what you or your company do.
Order them in large numbers. By ordering 1000 your cost per card will be significantly lower than if you ordered 500.
Even if you can produce your business cards at home using an inkjet printer, have your business cards professionally made by a printing company. Your business card will be the first impression your prospects receive of your business, so let them convey the best possible one.
Avoid using standard clip art as your business logo. A logo brings credibility and brand awareness, so before you invest in business cards have a logo professionally made for your business. Nowadays, there are online companies that can produce a professional logo for as little as $25, so there is no excuse for not having one made.
Put up a website and use the URL in your business cards. If you don’t have a website, people will notice the absence of a web address in your business card and, depending on the business you are in, it may make you lose credibility.
Keep all the information in your business card current. If you changed address or phone number, don’t scratch the old number and write down the new one by hand; get new business cards.
Keep your business card simple. Don’t use too many fonts or try to cram too much information in it. Try to use a pleasant layout and make sure that your main message (your tagline or your unique selling proposition) doesn’t get lost.
If you live in the US, limit your business card size to 3.5″ x 2″. Anything bigger will not fit in standard card holders and your card may end up in the trash. Business cards in Europe tend to be larger, but so are the wallets and card holders.
Make sure that your business card reflects your image. If you are an artist or a graphic designer, it is OK to use trendy colors and fonts. If you are an investment banker, a sober layout and colors such as blue or gray work better.
Your business card is an integral part of your brand or corporate identity strategy. It should follow the same graphics standards as the rest of your communications material (stationary, brochures, letterheads, etc.).
Find a way to make your business cards stand out. I’ve seen business cards with one of its corners cut in an angle, or with an interesting texture, all of which makes your business card stand out of the crowd. The best one I’ve seen is from an interior designer, who used a hologram to show a room before and after a redesign.
Make your business card easy to read: use high contrast between the background and the type. Light background with dark type works better.
After your logo, your name should be the largest piece of information on your card.
Make sure that all the information on your card is printed in a large enough typeface to be easily readable.
Run your business card copy through a spell checker and double-check your contact information.
Keep your business cards with you at all times. Keep a stack in your car, in your house, in your office, and in your wallet.
Leave your business cards in billboards at supermarkets, schools, stores, libraries, etc.
When giving away your card, give two or three at a time, so that your contacts can in turn distribute them to other people. This will not only help you distribute them faster, but will generate a beneficial “endorsing effect”.
Include a business card with all your correspondence. People may throw away the letter, but will usually keep the business card.
Make your business card go the extra mile: use the back of the card to print more information: special offers, checklists, schedules, etc.
Throw in a business card in every product you ship.
Send a business card with any gift you send, instead of just a card with your name.
Scan your card and use it as an attachment to emails.
Use your business cards as name tags. Get a transparent plastic cover with a pin, and attach it to your lapel. Wearing it on your right side tends to make it more noticeable.
Use your business card as a name tag on your briefcase. Make sure that your company logo and tagline are visible. This way, your business card will turn into a “conversation piece” during plane rides, which may help you meet interesting people and good business contacts.
Use your business card as an ad: many publications offer “business card size” classified ads. If you design your business card properly, it can double up as an ad in those publications.
Don’t give your business card too quickly. It may be perceived as pushy. Try to establish a conversation with your prospect first. For example, ask them what do they do. That will usually prompt them to give you their card. That is the perfect moment to give them yours.
Don’t try to give your card in situations where many people are giving them to your prospect. Wait for a moment when you can capture your prospect’s attention span.
Another tactic you can try when your prospect is overwhelmed and can’t pay you enough attention is to send your card by mail. Pretend you ran out of business cards and ask for theirs. Then, mail them your card and take the opportunity to drop a follow up note.
If you have a mobile phone number or a direct phone number that is not listed in your business card, write it at the back of your card before handing it out, and tell your prospect that you are giving them your direct number. This will make your card more important, and less likely to be lost or thrown out.
Another way of increasing the chances that your prospect will keep your card is by printing valuable information on the back, for example important phone numbers (local police, hospitals, etc), a calendar, or a football schedule.
Offer to hand out cards of complementary (non-competitive) business people in exchange for them distributing yours. An example of non-competitive businesses is real estate brokers and mortgage brokers.
If somebody gives you their business card, you should give them yours in return.
Always give your business card face up.
Take a cue from Far East business people, who hand out business cards with both hands. It helps give the impression that your business card is something very important.
If you conduct business internationally, use the back of your card to print a translated version of your business card in your customers’ language. Even if they have no problem reading English, it will be a classy touch and they will appreciate it.
If you sell different product brands and want to put their logos on your business card, print them in only one color. Using each logo’s brand colors could make your business card look chaotic and busy.
Create a business card in magnet form. Magnets are widely used, to hold important papers on the refrigerator door at home and on file cabinets at work. They are always visible and always get read.
When receiving somebody else’s business card, don’t put it away immediately. Instead, keep it in your hand for a while you talk to your prospect, or place it neatly over the table, and try to develop a conversation based on the information on the card.
Use the back of the cards you receive to write down important facts about the persons who handed them to you. It will help you enormously when you follow up with them.
If you are in a profession where relationship selling is important, it may be a good idea to include your picture in your business card (i.e. real estate brokers).
Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, you can still use “account manager” as your title instead of “owner” or “president”. If you do sales (and we all do) “account manager” is a perfectly appropriate title, and it will give the impression that you work for a larger company.
Use logos of organizations that you or your business belong to in your business cards. They are an easy way to provide instant credibility to your business. For example, if you operate a repair shop you can display the logo of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Triple A (AAA). (Check with them first about the terms of use).
If you participate in affiliate programs online, you can still use business cards to promote your affiliate links. Use the name of the affiliate company as the company name, use ‘partner’ or ‘associate’ as your title, and the URL of the directory or web page where you have placed your affiliate links as your web address. Just because affiliate programs are online doesn’t mean that you can’t use off-line marketing methods to promote them.

How To Choose An Online Business Card Printer

It’s gotten way too confusing to order business cards online. How do you choose a business card printer when there seem to be millions of them competing for your business?

Shopping for business card printing online is like shopping for any other product – your goal is to find what you what, for a reasonable price, from a reputable dealer. The problem when buying business cards online is making sure you’re comparing apples to apples, as the saying goes.

Finding the Business Cards You Want

Your first task is to find an online business card printer who carries the type of business card you want. Most online business card printers offer full-color business cards in a standard size (3″ by 2.5″), so a simple search for “business cards” or “business card printing” will find those.

You will need to decide whether to use custom artwork for your business card or one of the pre-designed backgrounds or templates offered by many business card printers. Again, many online business card printers allow you to order business cards either way.

Don’t be put off by the idea of using backgrounds that are available to everyone else; odds are slim that any of your direct competitors will find and use the same background. And these are professionally done designs that flat-out make you look good to prospects. (Much better than a homemade business card!)

If you need different cards, such as die-cut business cards or embossed (raised print) business cards, those are also easy to find using your favorite search engine. Many business card printers offer more than one type of card – raised print, one-color or full-color, for example. Some even offer magnetic cards, sticker cards and more.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’re looking for full color business cards.

Paying a Reasonable Price for Business Cards

Business cards are the bargain buy of the marketing world, but comparison-shopping for business cards can be a nightmare. It’s not enough to compare style and price of business cards between printers (say, 1000 full-color cards, printed on one side – 4/0).

Besides the style and price, you also should compare:

the thickness of the card stock (a 14pt card is sturdier than a 10pt card);
whether or not a protective coating is included in the price (and which type – a card can be “glossy” without having the protection of UV coating, and UV coating is generally considered more desirable than aqueous coating);
whether or not there are extra charges, such as a fee to upload your own images;
how many (or how few) business cards you can order at a time;
shipping costs; and, last but not least;
the reputation of the business card printing company.

Finding a Reputable Business Card Printer

Online business card printers who’ve made it to the top of the search engines, and stayed there, are generally okay – but not necessarily.

In fact, one popular, high-ranking business card printer online has such a pattern of complaints that they’ve received an “Unsatisfactory” rating from the Better Business Bureau. (This company’s cards are also of substandard size, although it’s hard to tell unless you directly compare them with another business card.)

So one guideline is to look for a designation such as Better Business Bureau approval or Bizrate certification. If a company has won such a designation, they’ll probably mention it somewhere on their website. Testimonials are another clue – but it isn’t hard to find a dozen happy people out of thousands of customers, so read them with a grain of salt.

Another way to assess a business card printer is to request samples of their business cards – not only will you get to examine actual cards, but you’ll get a feel for their customer service as well.

One Last Complication

Did you know that many, if not most, of the business card printers on the web are dealers for two or three huge wholesale business card printing companies? That’s right – you spend all that time shopping for the right business card printer and you probably don’t realize you’re comparing identical cards.

(You usually can’t tell until you reach the section of the website where you actually choose and edit a business card template or background – the URL will change.)

Now there’s nothing wrong with these online business card dealers, many of whom add value by educating people about business cards, just as I do, and nothing wrong with the business cards. But knowing that many business card printers online offer the exact same cards should save you some comparison time!

Given the affordability, portability and versatility of business cards, it is certainly worth taking time to shop around for the right business card printer for your business. And now that you understand some of the differences, you’ll make a more informed decision when you next go looking for a business card printer on the Internet.

A Business Card and You

A business card, invoice sheet, order forms and brochure are key elements of advertising your business. It also brings in future sales at craft shows from repeat customers. It took me about eight craft shows to realize the importance of a business card. Whenever a customer didn’t buy something, they would ask me for a business card. Each time I kept saying “Sorry I don’t have one at this time”. After telling so many customers that I didn’t have one I thought it was time I looked into obtaining some business cards.

Yet I didn’t know where to start and no one informed me that there was a website that created all sorts of business cards, brochures and other promotional tools called Vista Print. Since I was a newbie to the craft circuit I thought I could create my own business cards from scratch. This sparked me to look on the internet and read about how others created their cards. Some used a special program or ordered their cards from expensive printing services. Then I noticed a software program on my computer called Microsoft Office Publisher so I used it to create my first cards. Needless to say I didn’t know a thing about the quality of paper or what should or should not be on a card. My business card only had the name of my business, my name and phone number.

I didn’t add other important things like what type of crafts I created or my email address. So when you create your card ask yourself this question “What does my business card say about me? For one thing it tells a customer who you are as a business. It makes a statement about your craft before you begin to speak. Also gives a basic description of what type of business you run and what you offer to potential customers.

While planning and designing your card, keep in mind that a customer might not know how to find you and never assume they will know your zip code or area code. Here are a few basic things to consider for your business card:

Name
Business Name
Address or PO Box
City, State and Zip Code
Area Code and Phone Number
Area Code and Fax Number (if applicable)
E-mail and Web Site (if applicable)

Now that you have the basic ideas needed to create a business card; let’s spice it up a bit! What catches customers most about the card is the graphics. For instance, let’s say you do porcelain dolls then you might consider adding a porcelain doll graphic on the card. Or if you specialize in wood furniture then maybe a small chest would be a good symbol.

All That Goes Behind a Business Card Design

It is a fine summer morning and you are in a happy mood. You have just returned from a long and important overseas business trip and you have attended a number of seminars and exhibitions. As you sit down with a cup of coffee your secretary enters and hands you a stiff piece of rectangular paper. She announces that a well-dressed man had come to meet you regarding an important business deal and had left behind his business card. As you glance through the card, you are impressed by the quality of the board used to make the card. What strikes you is the superb color combination the logo and the lettering of the card uses. Your eyes are riveted to the same and you just cannot take them away.

You also recall how many business opportunities you had lost in these meetings, seminars and exhibitions just because you did not have a business card. It is high time that you got a decent one made for your company. If you search the net, you will come across many ads that are selling cheap Business card designs that you can use for your business card design. It is not recommended that you use them for your official business card. If these designs are available on the net, you are not the only smart browser and in all probabilities others must have downloaded and used the same for designing their organization’s business cards. Check the net again and go in for some blank business cards online and select one whose base color and quality of card appeals to you.

Better yet, appoint some professional to make the selection for you. They are your best option when it comes to designing a professional business card for they have been in this business for many years and know how to design and print a perfect business card that adorns your wallet. You may go in for plain white colored cards, or ivory cards as they are called, for making your business card. If you so wish, you might also go in for color business cards that are the rage nowadays. During your sojourn you might have also come across business card maker programs. These programs are helpful when you need to print a limited number of business cards immediately

They are perfect when you have exhausted your current stock of business cards and need some immediately. However you need to ensure that you have your business card design in your computer before you can use the special software to make a few copies of your business card. Come to think of it, what is the need of such a program when you have the business card design on your computer? In all probabilities the agency that designed your card might have provided you with a `one up’ card design. This means that if you print it using a personal printer, just one card will appear on the printed A4 sheet. Not a wise judgment and too much loss of paper.

The special program will take the business card design that you have on your computer as the source and will make multiple copies of the same and arrange them on a single sheet of paper with cutting guidelines. This ensures that the paper is not wasted and that all the business cards are laid out properly. Just use a slitting knife to cut and separate the individual business cards and you are in business. Before jumping in, make sure that you have got the business card design of your official business card designed by professionals. They ensure that your card will stand out among others and when the purchaser has to select from a number of business cards lying on his table, his eyes are attracted by yours and that he picks yours only.

This results in you procuring the order you were hunting for a long period of time. Take some time and try to make a collection of the business cards of leading organizations and put them out on the table. Look at them and examine them carefully. Can you see what makes them tick? Most of them will be having simple designs and a good color combination. Not just the color combination of the text and logo, but also the color that is used in the background of the card. You will also notice that the leading companies also maintain a certain standard in their business card design. They never clutter up the card with too much text or information.

There are some folks who cram up their business cards with all the information it can hold. This is not done, for a business card is business card and not sales literature. Let the additional info be there on your sales literature and keep the business card as simple as possible. This will ensure that the card will be able to pass across the information it was supposed to convey immediately. Would you rather want that the CEO of a reputed company scanned all through your business card just to find your contact information? A proper business card design should have as much `white space’ as possible on it. People should be able to access the necessary information immediately.

When going in for your business card design, do not go in for a design that requires multi-fold cards. If you use such a card, you can be rest assured that the CEO will dump it in the trashcan without even bothering to glance at it. Get your organizations business card design designed by a professional. This might cost you some additional money, but it will ensure that your business card conveys your true image. After all this is what a business card is supposed to do. They are not required to promote your products. They are meant to project your image and they can do it only if designed by professionals.

Luxury Business Card Finishes and Styles

Laminated Cards

Matt and gloss laminated business cards are highly desired and offered by nearly all print manufacturing firms. Matt laminate has a tendency to dull colors down and has a subdued and sophisticated look. Matt lamination can also be prone to showing fingerprints, scuffs and scrapes, predominantly on black and deeper colors. Gloss lamination punches colours up, making them reveal more vibrance. The shiny finish has a more glamorous look and tends to scream, “Hey! Take a look at me!” Another choice, which is not as common, is soft touch lamination (also known as velvet lamination). This laminate is generally more expensive, but gives the card a soft velvet feel identical to suede.

Spot UV Gloss Varnish Cards

If you choose to select a matt laminated business card, it opens the door towards the possibility of spot gloss highlights. This technique includes adding areas of clear gloss varnish to the business card. The addition of gloss varnish on top off a matt laminated business card creates a impressive contrast, this effect will help your business card stand out from the crowd of normal matt laminated cards. Spot gloss varnish can be applied in two ways; registered and blind. Registered spot gloss requires applying the varnish on top of an artwork element. To illustrate, imagine your card is black with your business name in orange. If the spot gloss was added on top of the specific name it would be registered. If you decided to have the company name repeated in spot gloss across the card in another area, this would be blind spot gloss because it isn’t registered with the artwork. One thing to bear in mind is that registration during the production could vary 1-2mm, so registered spot gloss may not always sit perfectly on top of artwork.

Foil Blocked Cards

The impact and impression of foil blocked business cards undoutedly create the same results: Dispersing brand strength and credibility. Foil blocking requires the use of metal dies, pressure and heat to apply foils to business cards. Metallic foils are the most preferred, particularly silver and gold, mainly because they create a finish which is difficult to obtain by using traditional print manufacturing methods. Gloss, matt and various special effect foils can also be used. Special effect foils includes patterned foils, brushed foils and rainbow foils which change colour as they diffract light across the colour spectrum (these are also referred to as holographic foil). There is also a holographic clear gloss foil that simulates spot gloss varnish and changes color in the light! Foils can be applied to laminated business cards, and tend to be very affordable given that they adhere easily to laminates. Foils are also quite often used on textured card stocks and coloured cards, unlike traditional CMYK printing either is not possible or will not work. Some card stocks, such as 600gsm, are too heavy for many printing presses so foil blocking is often used. It also is not possible to print certain colors on specific card colors. If white text is necessary on black card, the text is going to be applied using a white foil with a matt or gloss finish.

Embossed or Debossed Cards

The processes of embossing and debossing can be dismaying. Embossing requires the use of a metal die and a counterforce. Through embossing, the text or image is pressed into the reverse of the card, this produces a raised impression on the front of the card. Similarly to spot gloss, embossing can be blind or registered. Registered embossing is usually a little more expensive than blind embossing due to the setup and registration of every card requiring a longer time. Debossing is the opposite of embossing, it relates to a metal die being utilized to create a deep impression on the front of the card. This can be done with little or no show-through on the opposite side. The embossing effect is the most suitable when using a slim card stock. Finer card stock will create a more effective raised impression. An embossed effect can be added to laminated cards and thin textured card stocks around 300-350gsm. Debossing is best suited on thicker card stocks mainly because it offers a deeper impression. 600-700gsm cotton card creates a beautiful debossed impression. The debossed effect can be applied on its own or with letterpress inks or foils.

Letterpress Cards

Almost all of letterpress business cards are created on cotton, or a mix of cotton and pulp card stocks. An equivalent process to foil blocking can be used but without the addition of temperature. Metal dies are covered with letterpress ink, and are then applied to the card stock using pressure which frequently provides a nice debossed effect at the same time. This process is often used on heavier card stock that cannot be replicated by means of CMYK colors on a standard printing press. Additional choices include metallic inks, combining letterpress inks and metallic foils and adding painted edges to the business cards.

Anatomy of an Effective Business Card

The elements of a business card consist of 1) the style – horizontal or vertical, 2) color – black-and-white cards or color business cards, 3) printing materials – printed on papers, plastic cards or magnetic cards. The most important part of business cards, however, are the information elements of a business card. After all, business cards convey the message you want to pass to your prospects, customers or clients. Effective business cards make a huge difference in your daily interaction with prospects, customers or clients. Many business deals actually begin with the exchange of business cards. Effective business cards send a clear message to your customers about who you are and what your business does. But not all business cards are created equal. When you greet your customers with business cards, you want to impress them with messages that highlight the uniqueness and value of your products or services. If they don’t use your services or buy your products today, you want to encourage them to come back in the future.

Information about the Person
There’re two types of business cards in terms of the purpose – the business cards that present a business and the cards that present an individual. The first type of business cards will just list company name, service, contact phone number and fax number. They’re often placed at the service desk for customers to pick up. The second type of business cards is the one we really refer to as business cards. They present both an individual and a business. The cards will list the person’s name, job title, and a brief description of the job title if official job title isn’t intuitive to laymen. Even if the job title is trivial, a tag line will emphasize your expertise and services and distinguish you and your business from others. A web designer may use a tag line – “build your virtual office”. An Internet marketing expert may say “Convert your visitors to sales”.

Information about the Business
Business information is the focal point for both types of business cards. The information about the business includes business name, brief description of the business, business contact phone number, fax number, physical address and website URL. More and more businesses have official websites for their businesses, but not every business prints the URL on the business cards. Some marketing experts actually believe that the purpose of the business cards is to remind customers to either call you or to visit your website for more information as needed. Website is where they find detailed information about your business.

Once we’ve identified the elements of an effective business card. The design of your business card is only limited by your imagination. You can do business card printing yourself using many different business card templates online or from business card printing software library for common business cards. You’ll need professional printing companies if you plan to have a magnetic card or plastic cards.

Natalie Aranda writes on marketing and online promotion. The elements of a business card consist of 1) the style – horizontal or vertical, 2) color – black-and-white cards or color business cards, 3) printing materials – printed on papers, plastic cards or magnetic cards. The most important part of business cards, however, are the information elements of a business card. After all, business cards convey the message you want to pass to your prospects, customers or clients. You can do business card printing yourself using many different business card templates online or from business card printing software library for common business cards. You’ll need professional printing companies if you plan to have a magnetic card or plastic cards.