Now we have firmly embraced the digital age, most people may be leaning towards getting rid of their business cards, with some companies having disposed of them already, but that’s a mistake: your business card is still one of the most valuable networking tools at your disposal. Small, easy to carry and yet they create a huge impact.
Approximately 27 million business cards are printed daily, demonstrating just how many people still see it as a genuine requirement for the success of their venture. In some industries, it is considerably more important and in start-up circles it is expected that you have a stand-out business card that explains exactly what your forte is. There are a myriad of reasons why this modest rectangular card is still so powerful and here are a few:
- A business card makes you memorable
At every event you go to, whether it’s a social gathering, a job fair or a meet and greet for your industry, there’s going to be a lot of people all trying to get their own message across. Depending on your industry, it may be an idea to add your photo to your card, but even if you don’t, the act of handing over your card and the other person looking from your face to the card will cement you in their mind. Your business card acts as a call to action: they will either call you back or at the very least add you on LinkedIn.
- Business cards make your small business more legitimate
Whether you are out there trying to make it work by yourself, or have some new employees helping you, it’s important to create the right first impression. People are more likely to go with a well-known business simply because they feel safer. If you want them to trust you, you have to provide them with something that makes them both interested and secure. Presenting a great business card (or even just a professional one) lets them know that you’re a serious organisation that can help them out.
- They make exchanging information easier
Although it seems like everyone has some kind of digital device attached to their hand permanently, it hasn’t actually make it any easier to give them your contact details. Some phones allow information to be beamed from one to another, but this is only possible if you both have the same device, and rarely works first time. Also, not everyone knows how to, or likes to use their smartphone in this way. Handing over your business card is still the easier option.
- It’s a fantastic way to show off your personal brand
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working for yourself or for a small company, you can show your own style in a business card. This can be as simple as having curved edges on the card, your photo (which works excellently in entertainment, recruitment and for job seekers), or a punchy colour that makes it stand out. You can choose a different texture, such as plastic or metal. Whatever you choose, it says something about you, and it’s part of your marketing but it’s so simple. People expect you to have a business card – if you use it wisely, it can make them reach out for that card and use it to buy your product or service.
- They are always accessible, even in a power outage
There’s no downtime with a business card. This is particularly helpful if you provide some sort of service, as if their phone is dead, or they can’t connect to the Internet to find their address book, then your card is what they’ll reach for. But it’s also handy if you’re on a remote island on holiday and meet that ideal client who is interested in what you do, they may not have a phone on them, but they probably have a bag or pocket to put your trusty little card.
- They are necessary in some countries/cultures
If you travel regularly for business, it’s more than likely that you are exchanging business cards on a regular basis. You may have to brush up on whether handshakes or nose touches are acceptable, but handing over your business card is seen as the first part of a meeting globally. In the Middle East, South East Asia or China, everyone exchanges cards almost before they take a seat at the table. This ritual can say a lot about how you intend to do business so it’s always important to have a stack of your own cards with you when you travel.
- Business cards facilitate networking
Even with online networking experiencing a huge boom, face-to-face networking is still the preferred method for most business people to establish a relationship. A friendly smile, eye contact and a firm handshake smooth the pathway, a well-designed business card can close th
e deal.When people return to their hotel room or office, your card may be placed in a holder, stuck on a board or propped up on their keyboard for future reference but it will present a reminder of your business whenever they catch a glimpse of it, and they have all your information in one compact, single space. What could be easier than that?
Make your Business Card Stand Out
So what separates the great business cards from the merely good, and then from the downright dull ones? Firstly, your branding needs to be brilliant. This doesn’t mean that it has to be all bells and whistles, simple can be very effective but everything needs to be cohesive across your entire visual presence. So, make sure the colour scheme, font and imagery matches your website and other platforms. This will ensure that your audience recognises your business instantly – and you’re onto a winner. Also, studies have shown that people are far more likely to hold on to a coloured business card, so consider this when you’re planning the design.
Here’s a few other tips that we’ve gathered at Greenlea from over 30 years in business that can help you make your card the best it can be:
- Business Name Make sure your business name is the most eye-catching thing on the card. This is the first thing you want people to see and to remember.
- Contact Information It should go without saying but all the vital info must be present – your name, your phone number and your email address (ensure this is professional and relates to what you do, if it’s yourself you’re promoting i.e email@example.com as opposed to firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have a business premises, be sure to include this, so people can drop by to find out more.
- Your social media accounts These days, it’s helpful to include your public LinkedIn profile URL, as most people will want to connect with you after they’ve met you. If it’s relevant, also include your business website, Twitter and Facebook, so they can connect through these mediums. If they’ve received your business card with this information, they are much more likely to take a look, rather than when it’s at the end of your email or quarterly newsletter.
- Your logo A good logo will make you stand out. If you think of any big brand, their logo will come straight to mind. So, if you have a well-designed professional logo (which is worth investing in), definitely put it on your card.
- A tag line This is a branding statement that describes what you do i.e ‘Developing functional cloud solutions for the future’. If it fits, it has a great impact, otherwise leave it out. It’s never a good idea to clutter the card.
- Areas of expertise If your card says “Salesperson”, that doesn’t tell much about what you do, apart from sell things. “Energy Conservation Consultant” is better, but it’s helpful to add some of your strength’s so that I’m more inclined to call you. If you’re an investor add “Stocks and shares, private funds, bitcoin” etc. Tell us more about what you specialise in. Just a few words should do the trick.
- Your photo This is open for discussion, but it will immediately jog the person’s memory when they look at the card again. If your appearance is your calling card, put it in. If you’re a financial accountant, it’s probably not necessary.
- The size Normally, a business card is 3.5 inches by 2 inches, perfect to fit into a wallet. Although it may be tempting to have an oversize or different shaped card, bear in mind that most people prefer this size and you may run the risk of your card getting discarded if it’s larger. You can opt to have different edging, texture or imagery to make it stand out but think carefully about changing the size.
Final tip: Leave space on the back
If you have all the pertinent information in, leaving the back of the card blank (or at least almost) provides the space for someone to take notes about you and what you may have discussed. Also, keep a pen handy so that they can write it down there and then.
If you’re planning to re-brand your business card, simply get in touch with Greenlea Print today for the best printing services in Perth.