Business Cards That Work

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Your business card is one of the most important marketing tools you'll ever create. Here are a seven tips to consider before you design or redesign your business card.

stack of blue business cards
Image source: BigStockPhoto.com

Your business card is one of the most important marketing tools you'll ever create. You give your business card to prospects and customers so they have your contact information. You tuck your business card inside of presentation folders, drop it in letters, and use it in a myriad of other ways to let people know who you are and what you do. And, if you run ads in local newspapers, your business card may even double as camera-ready copy for the publication's "business card ad" pages.

But no matter how you use your business card, it won't be the marketing workhorse it should be unless it looks professional, is easy to read, and helps customers and prospects remember what you sell and why they should buy it from you.

Making all that happen on a document that is only 3½ inches wide and 2 inches deep is a tall order. But it can be done. Here are several suggestions to keep in mind before you design or redesign your business card.

Use a logo
Have a professional designer create your business logo. If you provide products or services that can be represented with a symbol (ie, house painter, home builder, restaurant, dog grooming service), the logo should symbolize that product or service in some way. It should also be scalable for use on business cards, letterhead, brochures, and your website. (You can keep logo development costs down by using LogoWorks.com (or one of the other the logo creation services on the web.)

Develop a one-line slogan
If what you do isn't immediately apparent from your business name, create a one-line slogan that will help people remember what you sell. Include the slogan on your business card.

 



Include your website address and/or email address
Customers and prospects will want to know your website address and your email address. If you're concerned about spam, have your webmaster set up two email addresses for you -- one to put on your business card and give out to the public, and another private email address that you only give to a few trusted business associates and friends.

Make your card readable
Use (or insist your designer uses) font sizes that are big enough to be easily readable without using a magnifying glass. Be sure the type color stands out against the background of the card, too. Light gray type on a white card makes it hard to distinguish letters and numbers. Remember, your goal isn't to produce a work of art. It's to produce a business card that clearly communicates what you do and how to reach you. If recipients can't read the contact information you'll lose sales.

Make your card stand out from the rest of the pack
Yes, your business card may wind up stuffed in a desk drawer with a stack of other business cards. Make it stand out from the rest by using bright colors, including your photo on the card, or using high gloss card stock.

Have your business cards printed on good card-stock
If the card feels flimsy or looks like you printed it yourself on a cheap printer, it will leave people with impression that they are dealing with a company that will disappear as soon as the owner finds a real job. Have your business card professionally printed on good heavyweight business card stock.

Although some of the preprinted paper that you can buy to create your own business cards is heavy enough to pass for a "real" business card, most people will get better results by having their business cards professionally typeset and printed. Professionally printed cards may cost less than the print-it-yourself variety, too. If you order business cards online from a site like Vista Print, you'll pay about $20 (or sometimes less) for 500 full-color professionally printed business cards. (Shipping is extra.) By comparison, good, heavy-weight preprinted business card stock that you use to print your own business cards is likely to cost you $30 to $40 or more -- and that doesn't include the cost of the ink or toner to print them.

Print your own cards if you don't have time to order them elsewhere
If you need cards in a hurry because you've run out of them, the print-it-yourself variety is a viable option. Avery's Linen Textured Stock has a good feel to it and prints beautifully on an inkjet printer. For best results, use the "Best" printing mode of your inkjet printer. If you follow Avery's directions for separating the cards, there are no tell-tale rough edges or perforations.

Read more about creating business cards:

© 2006 Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.

 
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