Friday, March 25, 2011

 

5 steps to a better business card

The business card is not going away.

They're no longer the best way to store contact information (when's the last time you saw someone with a Rolodex on their desk?), but as a marketing tool they're going to be around for a long, long time.

What's the best way to ensure your business cards stand out without going too far, assist with a great first impression, and help the prospect remember you after the final handshake? Here are a few tips.

Use a thick card stock. Flimsy cards are a pet peeve of mine. The physical nature of the card, the way it feels in your hand, needs to reflect something about you. Thick card stock has presence, it shows you put some thought into the card's design, and it implies someone who's taking things seriously. Believe me, this is an important part of a good card's first impression.

Stay away from gloss. I haven't yet met someone who liked getting a glossy business card. Not only do they often look too packaged, but they're impossible to write on effectively. Plus, they typically cost more. Save your money for two-sided printing (more on that later).

Use a clean design. Make the card easy to read, not only for the recipient but for the business card scanning devices that are increasingly being used to convert cards into lists in Excel, Outlook, LinkedIn and more. Remember that business cards are an introduction and reminder, not a brochure. Don't force them to do too much.

Make an offer. There's no reason your card needs to include only contact information. Remember, it's not a brochure, but why not entice the recipient to take one small next step? It could be an offer to get your newsletter, a best practices download, your event schedule, something. Keep it simple, keep it short, but give them a reason to spend more time with you when they're back at their desk.

Use the back. It typically costs very little to print two-sided business cards, and the back is a great place to cleanly position the offer we just discussed. Leave enough white space on the back for note-taking as well (and keep the color light enough that they can see it), but take advantage of the other 50% of the card.

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