Better Business Cards: Put a Modern Spin on an Old Standby

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If you’ve explored this blog you will have come across these two posts: A Practical Approach To Business Cards, giving tips on design and content, and Another View in which I talk about the impression your card gives.

In today’s post Marshall Jones answers the question “Business cards? Why bother?”

Over to you Marshall…

You’ve got a website. You’ve got a Facebook page. Why in the world do you still need business cards?

Imagine this: You’re at a professional networking event or a business trade show. You’ve met someone you’d like to keep in touch with, someone with great ideas who wants to do business with you. She asks for your card.

“Search for me on LinkedIn.” is not the correct response. Likewise, “I’m on Facebook.” doesn’t pack quite the same punch as a good-looking business card.

Just because the business world has entered the digital age does not mean you can forgo all the offline office protocols and marketing collateral. A business card is a tangible reminder of you and your company. It sparks memories of a real-world encounter. It speaks for you when you aren’t there. It’s something people can hold and see, even when they’re out of their coverage area or their iPhone isn’t charged.

So get some cards. Rely on an old standby. But don’t be afraid to give it a spin of your own. Personalize and update your business cards, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.

  • Let your colours fly. People tend to hold on to colourful business cards because colourful designs catch people’s attention. So why skimp on printing costs?
  • Heavier and better paper will give your cards a more professional feel. The good news is it doesn’t have to kick up the price. In 2012, Vistaprint started offering 40 percent heavier business cards (110 lb. paper stock) at no additional cost. Heavier cards make you look like a heavyweight in your business dealings.
  • If you use both a landline and a cell phone for business, think about leaving your mobile number off your business cards. When you hand someone your card, you can say “You might have better luck reaching me on my cell.” Then write your cell number on the card before you hand it to them. This is a great way to make the recipient feel like they’re getting personal attention and access to your direct line. It’s a little psychological trick that makes your card a little more valuable.
  • If you are the business owner, and you don’t have a large company with multiple divisions, it might be a good idea to omit your title. “CEO” doesn’t mean much if your business is a one-person start-up. You’re probably also the marketing manager, the accountant, and the janitor.
  • If your business is entirely online, or if you provide a service that doesn’t require a brick-and-mortar location, there’s no need for a physical address on your cards. Your name, your business name, your email address and your phone number will suffice. Add your Twitter handle or your business website address—they’re important. Resist the temptation to cram tons of information into the small space. If you do, it’ll just result in an ugly mess.
  • A quick response (QR) code on your business card can direct whoever scans it to your website, to a promotional offer, or to just about anywhere else in the digital realm. QR codes can take up a lot of space on your card, so if you can’t find a creative or visually interesting way to incorporate them, think about leaving them off.*
  • Holographic prints on a clear business card are popular in 2013, as are lenticular images, which are printed on a special material that gives the image the illusion of movement. Time will tell if these attention-getters are passé in the coming years. If you’re considering a business card gimmick, make sure it’s cutting edge and not behind the curve.

The trusty Rolodex isn’t as ubiquitous as it once was. Sadly, many people in the business world don’t take the time to organize and store business cards they receive. They should!

If you don’t want to deal with it, smartphone technology offers you a workaround. A variety of apps let you photograph your card, then save the info into your phone and set the picture as the contact’s photo. Voila—a Rolodex that fits in your pocket.

The ways we network and conduct business have evolved. Still, many of the most important professional tools are the ones that have been around for a long time. Business cards still have the power to leave an impression. We can control whether that impression is good or bad. So be creative. Be bold. Set yourself apart with a modern spin, and you’ll get ahead with your business networking.

Marshall Jones is a content marketer and journalist specialising in marketing, technology and business writing. He works in Austin, TX. Marshall lives with his wife and former shelter dogs, one of whom is missing a leg (a dog, not the wife).

He enjoys hiking, classic cinema, live music and travelling. He has written, proofread and edited for print publications such as The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Austin Monthly and The Austin Business Journal.

He currently writes blogs, press releases, success stories, eBooks, white papers and more for high-tech and online education clients, and is a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com.

Thank you for your insights, Marshall.

* Just a thought… if you like the idea of having a QR code on your card, but don’t want to clutter the front, place it on the back. Add an invitation to scan it along with a good reason for doing so. (read more about QR Codes here).

~ Carol

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Written by Carol Bentley

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