Most professionals know that in any industry, creating a positive and lasting first impression is vital. They understand that people’s memories are faulty and that their prospects are busy. They are aware that there is a target market that they are vying for a share of. As such, they utilize the most common and effective marketing and business networking tool available, the professional business card.
Business Cards are an affordable, versatile and effective tool that most professional business people capitalize on, and would be stranded without.With variety comes compromise, and business card printers are no exception. So how do you distinguish between the thousands of online printers, not to mention the dozens of local printers that you probably have? How do you know which one is going to deliver a professional business card to you?
Professional Business Card Characteristics
To best understand how to identify a professional business card, it is easier to first determine what a professional business card is NOT!
It is not flimsy, homemade, adorned with generic clipart or sporting an ad for someone else on the back.
Professional business cards present a professional image. They look attractive, well designed, highlight the important information and usually include a motivation to retain the card.
That is pretty straight forward, something you probably already knew. So let’s look at some of the less obvious aspects to consider.
Professional Business Card Printers
It’s tough to compare “apples to apples” when evaluating business card printers because card stock and printing processes vary, and those specifications are difficult to iron out unless you know exactly what you are after. It’s also difficult to find specific business card specifications at many printing websites.
So I did some research into business card printers, at least the online ones.
For example, research into the most popular online business card printers in May 2007 found that the card weight ranged from 10pt to 14pt (10pt, or 80# paper, is thinner than an index card). One business card printer (Vistaprint.com) even used a business card size that was smaller than standard size – not a smart choice, if your reputation is important to you!
Some printers give you UV coating for free, which gives your card that nice sheen and helps to protect it, while others will charge extra for it. Template designs are a fantastic aid in creating your business card. Some printers offer over 10,000 templates, while others may only have a few dozen templates. Some of the printers charge you to use your own artwork, others include that option for no additional charge.
At the time I did my business card printer review, pricing for 1000 full color business cards varied between $34 and $140, depending on the printer. Shipping took anywhere from 3 to 14 days.
And while it is hard to determine customer service standards, organizations such as the Better Business Bureau can be of assistance. It’s also smart to ask for sample cards from professional business card printers you’re considering.
Look for a Professional Business Card Printer That:
In short, if you want professional business cards, you need a professional business card printer, too. Look for one that:
- prints industry-standard-sized cards on sturdy stock;
- doesn’t add cost to the cards for UV coating or image uploads (or at least discloses prices upfront, so that you can compare);
- ships quickly for a reasonable price;
- treats customers fairly and courteously; and
- maintains a comprehensive and frequently updated range of templates and designs.
I have worked with and can highly recommend this online printer.