Business cards remain a critical part of networking, and their design, as well as the information they contain, helps networkers make and keep valuable connections.
When you’re meeting contacts face to face, your business card is the first thing you should reach for. You really don’t need a professional designer or to spend a lot of money to create a business card that will make a great first impression.
Dress (Your Business Card) for Success
Just as you wouldn’t show up at a job interview or an important business meeting in your pajamas, your business card should also be dressed for success, according to a Huffington Post article. A connection will form a first impression of you and your company based upon your business card, so you need to make that impression a favorable one.
To help make your card stand out from the rest, consider using heavyweight cover stock (at least 80-120 pounds); an easy-to-read font like Eras, Impact, or Century Gothic; and an eye-catching color scheme.
Make Your Card a Call to Action
According to Gwinnett Network, most business cards whisper, talk softly, or say nothing at all, while the real purpose of business cards should be to give prospects a tangible item to remember you by. They should be marketing tools that ask someone to give you their business by catching their attention, directing them to your website, or giving them a good reason to call you.
One way to make your business card a call for action is to add some text that outlines specific benefits that you provide to your customers. For example, try adding the word “easy” to your card, referring to how easy your business is to find, how easy it is to pay for your products with cash, checks, credit cards (or even your competitor’s coupons), and how easy it is to do business with you — no appointment necessary.
Connect the Dots: From Your Business Card to Your Website
QR, short for “quick response,” codes are starting to show up on business cards, according to SearchEngineLand.com. QR matrix barcodes can be read quickly by smartphones and are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and deposit it into a cell phone via scanning. Other common places where QR codes are found include magazine advertisements, billboards, and webpages.
A QR code can be scanned quickly by an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or any phone with an auto-focus camera and a barcode scanning app, directing users to visit a webpage, open an application, link to a phone number, or launch an email or SMS message.
QR codes can store and digitally present much more data than standard barcodes, and instead of a cumbersome barcode scanner, all that is needed to access them is a smartphone. An easy Google search for a QR Code Generator will uncover numerous inexpensive or free options for creating and downloading a QR code.
Go Simple, Uncluttered, and Business-Appropriate
According to The Huffington Post, the two most important pieces of information on a business card are a business phone number and an email address. A personal cell phone number and company website address are also basic elements that you may want to consider including on your card.
When deciding on the text you want to print on your business card, remember that you’re simply trying to make a positive first impression, not bombard someone with information they don’t want or need. This may mean resisting the urge to clutter things up with your Twitter handle, Skype alias, link to your LinkedIn profile, and IM nicknames.
Most importantly, make your card appropriate to your business. For example, think about the kind of impression a physician would make with a cartoon character or tasteless joke on his or her business card. When crafting a design, begin with a style that supports the business image you’d like to project, and then go about telling your story.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jan Hill is a business professional and freelance journalist writing for Vistaprint, a leading provider of free and premium business cards to consumers worldwide. Jan has written an eBbook about networking, as well as numerous articles on small businesses and career development for magazines and newspapers.