Easily overlooked, but incredibly important. Business cards. Having a professional business card is a reflection of your brand image, and as it is often the first item prospects receive from you, it is vital to make a strong, positive impression on them. A recent trend of do-it-yourself card printing is a troubling phenomenon, as it […]

Easily overlooked, but incredibly important. Business cards. Having a professional business card is a reflection of your brand image, and as it is often the first item prospects receive from you, it is vital to make a strong, positive impression on them.

A recent trend of do-it-yourself card printing is a troubling phenomenon, as it is easy to spot cheaply produced cards. And when you show these, what message does that send to your prospects? You are not doing yourself any favours by missing the opportunity to start building a positive brand image from the start. Because cheaper isn’t better when it comes to first impressions.

Designing tips

Unless you possess requisite designing skills, make sure to call in the help of a professional designer. This could be the designer who also does your other collateral (letterhead, brochures, website,…) so they are able to carry your brand image through to your card.

Keep your card simple. Don’t be afraid to use white space, don’t make the font too small or your logo too big. The standard size for a business card is 3.5”x2”, but feel free to stand out from this standard and be more memorable.
Keep the back of the card blank or use it for noncritical information. Not very often people look at the back of the card so make sure all the essentials are in the front.

Content tips

Brainstorm in advance about what you want to include on your card. Don’t make it too crowded, but make sure it contains all the essentials. Below are listed a few items that should best be included.

  • Logo and tagline: this includes your brand name and logo, so make it recognizable.
  • Job title
  • Contact information: keep it simple! One phone number and an e-mail address.
  • Your physical address may be included, but is not a necessity.
  • Website address
  • Optional: A few of your social media channels. Don’t make it too crowded!

What not to include

  • QR-code: It’s a waste of time and space, and people might as well just call you instead of scanning your code.
  • Services: only include these if the list is shot and you have the room on your card.
  • Multiple websites: stick to one url. Too much clutter ends up confusing the reader.

Business card etiquette

Rule #1
Do not hand out your cards like lollipops. Receiving a card without making a connection to the person comes across as impolite and annoying, and it is very likely they’ll just throw out your card. It is the equivalent of receiving junk mail at your house. If you want to spread your brand’s image to a wide audience, use advertising. But the goal of networking is to identify potential leads or employers. Be selective in who you choose to exchange information with and make a connection before handing out your card.

Rule #2
Give your card to someone when they ask for it. If you are interested in connecting with someone beyond an event, ask them for a way to contact them. That way you are in control for a follow-up, and are not waiting by the phone for a call.

If someone asks for your card, write a note on the back of the card before you hand it over. It could be a note about what you talked about, a reminder for why they asked for your information. This will help them later when they go through the loads of cards they received.

Rule #3
Don’t waste contact information. Why take someone’s card if you are not going to follow up. Send an e-mail. Make a quick call. Send them a physical card. But do something to capitalize on the meeting. This doesn’t have to be complicated. This goes for entrepreneurs and careerist. Entrepreneurs can send updates about new products or developments in their business. Professionals can send out industry relevant information and tips.

Elyn Vandenwyngaert

Author Elyn Vandenwyngaert

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