Key Elements of an Effective Business Card

Networking events are a big deal and can be a key ingredient to you and your company’s success. It takes effort and time to bring the elements of representing your business together and making a successful first impression. A key component to that impression is your business card. If it is well designed, informative and unique it is the icing on the impression “cake”. It can be that lasting reminder of the emotional connection you made that day. What are the key elements to an effective business card? You’d think a simple card wouldn’t be so hard, but a lot of businesses and people get it wrong and sometimes even really wrong, like inking out inaccurate information or not personalizing it with the person’s name.

Here are some things to keep in mind when designing out your card, whether working with a designer or doing it yourself. Of course, the more consistent the design is with your other marketing collateral is important, but at this point the focus is on just the card itself.

  1. Simple can be effective. You want your card to stand out and that typically means something that will need to draw the person in; whether it is color, shape, photography or texture. However, if isn’t done right it can have the opposite effect. Try and keep the amount of clutter, crazy designs or effects to a minimum.
  1. Good design matters, a lot! If you have a knack for design it helps and if you generally don’t, be honest with yourself and get some help. It is worthwhile to hire a designer. It may not cost as much as you’d expect. Consider it an investment into gaining that next client or contract, which will more than pay for a good designer and design.
  1. Information that is informative! What is the purpose of a business card? It informs, right? At its most basic level, a person needs to know the company name, person’s name, title, phone number, email address and website. This can be a place a lot of people make their first mistake and include way too much information. It isn’t critical that you put your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram information. These just add to the clutter and take away attention from the really critical information name, email, phone number and website. A lot of times a better option is to have the social-media icons on your card, which informs them that you have social-media and will have the added benefit of driving them to your website or searching for you in each SM platform.
  1. Great cards have a front and a back. The idea isn’t complex. If your card is only one-sided and it is on a desk with the blank side facing up it doesn’t get anyone’s attention. It is also doubles the real estate space to add elements that entice the viewer. Company name, style elements from the informative side and teasers are a great way to start making your card standout.
  1. Don’t skimp on the paper stock. A great card is like a handshake.  It should be firm and not flimsy. Be deliberate about your paper choice and not just pick a standard stock that a printer offers, which is usually driven by price. Also, while glossy paper can initially seem appealing, it’s a turn-off for people because they can’t write on it.
  1. Unique shapes or sizes may get your card tossed in the trash bin. For a while, the trend in business cards was to use a funky shape, be round,  and really big or small. If the design is intentional, well thought out and consistent with your other branding, it can work. But it is still a risk. Just keep in mind as your making these choices that everything that is made to hold business cards (besides a desk drawer) is designed for a standard size business card. If it is too small or just simply doesn’t fit in the holder it will be thrown out.
  1. Spelling errors and inked out information. It may be obvious, but triple-check all the information. There are too many times that a misspelling makes its ugly way onto a card. Inked out information shows that you aren’t prepared or won’t invest in getting your cards reprinted. This obviously can send the wrong message about you and your business.

A good card is your chance to make a really good impression over and over again. It is a very visible reflection of your company’s values and can be the first experience someone will have with your business. A well made card can make a powerful impression and be a reason a potential prospect becomes a client. Keep it simple, spend the time, on design and include the necessary information that is needed to get in contact with you.

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