Business Card Basics

Are you wasting your most versatile marketing tool? Whether you conduct business on-line or off, there’s probably not another weapon in your marketing arsenal that’s as affordable, as portable, as versatile, and as readily accepted worldwide as the humble business card.

Business cards are much more than a convenient means to leave contact information. Today, a business card can be an ad … a mini-brochure … a coupon … a discount card … even a phone card or CD-rom presentation. Very often, your business card determines what (if anything) that your prospect remembers about you after your initial meeting.

First and foremost, your card must be legible (try not to go smaller than 10-point type for your primary information). The most common mistake in business card design is overcrowding.

Remember, the truly ESSENTIAL information on any card is your name, your company name, and your primary phone number (which should be in bold text, if other numbers are on the card.) Include your email address and website URL if you can, but remember, a card that’s too crowded won’t be kept or read.

Business card design is a more individual concern, but using color on your cards is probably the single biggest way to make it stand out. (The vast majority of business cards — more than 90% — are printed in black ink on white card stock.) Full color cards are extremely affordable these days, yet unusual enough to attract attention.

However, what you do with a business card (yours as well as others) has far more to do with the sales you generate than your card design. Offering your card with both hands, for example, is a simple, no-cost strategy that still creates an enormous psychological impact.

Consider exchanging cards with like-minded entrepreneurs through business networking groups. Introduce yourself with your card. Include your card with all correspondence. Sign your name (or a brief message) on the card. Tuck your card into related books at the library. Actively seek out ways to use your cards.

When you receive cards, too, always treat them with respect (how would you feel about doing business with someone who didn’t even glance at your card, but just crammed it into their pants pocket?)

Jot notes on the back of cards you’re given, such as date, event, common interests, physical characteristics of the giver, type of information you need to send, and so on.
Develop a system for carrying and collecting business cards, and file them the way you remember them (by company name, person’s name, or industry.)

Then, follow up and stay in touch. You’ll reap the rewards.