|• Even if you can produce your business cards at home
using an inkjet printer, have your business cards professionally
made by a printing company. Your business card will be the first
impression your prospects receive of your business, so let them
convey the best possible one.
• Avoid using standard clip art as your business logo.
A logo brings credibility and brand awareness, so before you
invest in business cards have a logo professionally made for
• Put up a website and use the URL in your business cards.
If you don't have a website, people will notice the absence of
a web address in your business card and, depending on the business
you are in, it may make you lose credibility.
• Keep your business card simple. Don't use too many fonts
or try to cram too much information in it. Try to use a pleasant
layout and make sure that your main message (your tag line or your
unique selling proposition) doesn't get lost.
• If you live in the US, limit your business card size
to 3.5" x 2". Anything bigger will not fit in standard
card holders and your card may end up in the trash. Business
cards in Europe tend to be larger, but so are the wallets and
• Make sure that your business card reflects your image.
If you are an artist or a graphic designer, it is OK to use trendy
colors and fonts. If you are an investment banker, a sober layout
and colors such as blue or gray work better.
• Your business card is an integral part of your brand
or corporate identity strategy. It should follow the same graphics
standards as the rest of your communications material (stationary,
brochures, letterheads, etc.).
• Find a way to make your business cards stand out. I've
seen business cards with one of its corners cut in an angle,
or with an interesting texture, all of which makes your business
card stand out of the crowd. The best one I've seen is from an
interior designer, who used a hologram to show a room before
and after a redesign.
• Make your business card easy to read: use high contrast
between the background and the type. Light background with dark
type works better.
• After your logo, your name should be the largest piece
of information on your card.
• Make sure that all the information on your card is
printed in a large enough typeface to be easily readable.
• Run your business card copy through a spell checker
and double-check your contact information.
• Keep your business cards with you at all times. Keep
a stack in your car, in your house, in your office, and in your
• Leave your business cards in billboards at supermarkets,
schools, stores, libraries, etc.
• When giving away your card, give two or three at a
time, so that your contacts can in turn distribute them to other
people. This will not only help you distribute them faster, but
will generate a beneficial "endorsing effect".
• Include a business card with all your correspondence.
People may throw away the letter, but will usually keep the business
• Make your business card go the extra mile: use the
back of the card to print more information: special offers, checklists,
• Throw in a business card in every product you ship.
• Send a business card with any gift you send, instead
of just a card with your name.
• Scan your card and use it as an attachment to emails.
• Use your business cards as name tags. Get a transparent
plastic cover with a pin, and attach it to your lapel. Wearing
it on your right side tends to make it more noticeable.
• Use your business card as a name tag on your briefcase.
Make sure that your company logo and tag line are visible. This
way, your business card will turn into a "conversation piece" during
plane rides, which may help you meet interesting people and good
• Use your business card as an ad: many publications
offer "business card size" classified ads. If you design
your business card properly, it can double up as an ad in those
• Don't give your business card too quickly. It may be
perceived as pushy. Try to establish a conversation with your
prospect first. For example, ask them what do they do. That will
usually prompt them to give you their card. That is the perfect
moment to give them yours.
• Don't try to give your card in situations where many
people are giving them to your prospect. Wait for a moment when
you can capture your prospect's attention span.
• Another tactic you can try when your prospect is overwhelmed
and can't pay you enough attention is to send your card by mail.
Pretend you ran out of business cards and ask for theirs. Then,
mail them your card and take the opportunity to drop a follow
• If you have a mobile phone number or a direct phone
number that is not listed in your business card, write it at
the back of your card before handing it out, and tell your prospect
that you are giving them your direct number. This will make your
card more important, and less likely to be lost or thrown out.
• Another way of increasing the chances that your prospect
will keep your card is by printing valuable information on the
back, for example important phone numbers (local police, hospitals,
etc), a calendar, or a football schedule.
• Offer to hand out cards of complementary (non-competitive)
business people in exchange for them distributing yours. An example
of non-competitive businesses is real estate brokers and mortgage
• If somebody gives you their business card, you should
give them yours in return.
• Always give your business card face up.
• Take a cue from Far East business people, who hand
out business cards with both hands. It helps give the impression
that your business card is something very important.
• If you conduct business internationally, use the back
of your card to print a translated version of your business card
in your customers' language. Even if they have no problem reading
English, it will be a classy touch and they will appreciate it.
• If you sell different product brands and want to put
their logos on your business card, print them in only one color.
Using each logo's brand colors could make your business card
look chaotic and busy.
• Create a business card in magnet form. Magnets are
widely used, to hold important papers on the refrigerator door
at home and on file cabinets at work. They are always visible
and always get read.
• When receiving somebody else's business card, don't
put it away immediately. Instead, keep it in your hand for a
while you talk to your prospect, or place it neatly over the
table, and try to develop a conversation based on the information
on the card.
• Use the back of the cards you receive to write down
important facts about the persons who handed them to you. It
will help you enormously when you follow up with them.
• If you are in a profession where relationship selling
is important, it may be a good idea to include your picture in
your business card (i.e. real estate brokers).
• Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, you
can still use "account manager" as your title instead
of "owner" or "president". If you do sales
(and we all do) "account manager" is a perfectly appropriate
title, and it will give the impression that you work for a larger
• Use logos of organizations that you or your business
belong to in your business cards. They are an easy way to provide
instant credibility to your business. For example, if you operate
a repair shop you can display the logo of the National Institute
for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Triple A (AAA).
• If you participate in affiliate programs online, you
can still use business cards to promote your affiliate links.
Use the name of the affiliate company as the company name, use
'partner' or 'associate' as your title, and the URL of the directory
or web page where you have placed your affiliate links as your
web address. Just because affiliate programs are online doesn't
mean that you can't use off-line marketing methods to promote
• If you need to give cards to different kinds of prospects
(for example if you are a student looking for work), make business
cards with just your name and contact information, and attach
custom made self-adhesive labels at the back with information
of interest to each specific prospect.
• Include an information email address (for example:
email@example.com) that is set in autoresponder mode, that
automatically triggers an email message with full information
about your product, service or company. This will increase the
effectiveness of your business card since you will give your
prospect much more information that you can fit in a card.
• Take good care of your business cards. Keep them clean
and crisp in a cardholder. Don't give away cards that are bent
• Try to get a cardholder with two pockets. That way,
you can use one for your business cards and the other one for
the business cards you receive.
• Keep all the business cards you receive neatly organized
in a Rolodex®. It will save you time and will provide you with
a database of contacts with whom to build positive business relationships.
• Collect all the business cards you can find, even if
you don't need them. Together, they will act as an "idea
file" that will provide you with valuable tips that you
can use to design your business cards.
© 2003 Mario Sanchez
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Mario Sanchez publishes The Internet Digest www.theinternetdigest.net,
an online collection of web design and Internet marketing articles