Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Business Card Basics

As a small business owner I have been accumulating the business cards of the people I meet through networking.  And I marvel at the diversity of presentations.  It is wonderful to see how different perspectives speak to the entrepreneur's vision and brand.  Not all of them are effective presentations (though most, I think, are)  and some even lack critical pieces of information.  These little pieces of paperstock are a critical piece of our marketing.  They need to sing!

I have some suggested guidelines for someone planning to create their own cards. (Note, professionals are out there and most all will do a superior job creating business cards.  I do advise using one if at all possible.  But reality is that we do what we can afford.)

1. Most importantly, include all of the critical information.  Your company name, your name, your phone number, email address(es), web site, and address, as well as any thing that will help someone find you and resume the connection.  Believe it or not, some cards lack some of these data!

2. Don't go wild, unless that's intrinsic to your brand.  Conservative designs, color choices and fonts will serve you well.  When selecting templates, if they are offered, opt for the calmer choices and beware of unnecessary graphics.  And do adhere to your brand: colors, logos, etc. should be related.

3. I'm agnostic about including your photo.  Feel free to include it if it is likely to support your appeal.  But it is probably unnecessary.  I'm also agnostic about using both sides of the card.  Using both sides can spread information and reduce the "busy-ness" of the design.

4. Use the best printing you can afford, including good grades of paper.  Make sure your business card is as high-quality as you are in person.

5. I recommend having enough space, either on front or back, to be able to handwrite custom information when needed (for example, the date and location of a special event.)

6. Finally, make sure everything is readable!  Shrinking font sizes may give you more room, but it will give you fewer "readers" and fewer customers.

Good luck as you create, or re-create business cards!  Enjoy this powerful marketing tool and give it as much power as it deserves.

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