A business card is an integral part of any good
marketing plan. For its size and cost, it's probably the most
powerful part. Of course, you can't expect your business card to
tell the whole story about your company. What you should expect it
to do is present a professional image people will remember. A
business card can make or break a client's first impression of your
company. In fact, this little card makes as much of an impression as
your personal appearance-the suit you wear or the briefcase you
Choose a card style that's appropriate for your
business, industry and personal style. If you're a funeral director,
for example, you don't want to be caught handing out day-glow cards
with cartoon figures on them. If you're a mechanic whose specialty
is converting old Beetles into dune buggies, a formal,
black-on-white engraved card will probably be dropped into the
nearest circular file. When crafting a design, start with the style
that best supports the business image you wish to project. To help
you get started, here are five different card styles for you to
Basic cards. A
basic card is usually printed in black ink on plain white or cream
stock. This is a good style to choose when utility is all you
need. It's a no-nonsense approach that can appeal to clients and
prospects who would not be impressed by fancy design features-the
people who want "just the facts, ma'am." The design is simple, and
the information is clear and concise.
cards. Having your
face on your card-whether it's a photograph, a drawing or a
caricature-helps a contact remember you the next time he or she
sees you. Images representing a product or service, or a benefit
your business provides, can help you communicate your business
better than dozens of words. A splash of color (rather than just
black and white) is often helpful on a picture card, too.
cards. Some cards
are distinguished not so much by how they look as by how they
feel. They may use nonstandard materials, such as metal or wood,
or have unusual shapes, edges, folds or embossing. Tactile cards
tend to be considerably more expensive than regular cards because
they use nonstandard production processes such as die cuts. But
for some businesses, this more unusual card may be worth the
cards. A card can
do more than promote your name and business-it can also serve as a
discount coupon, an appointment reminder or some other function.
It may also provide valuable information that the average person
may need. For example, a hotel may include a map on the back of
its card for any guests who are walking around the local area. A
card of any type can be made multipurpose by adding any of these
types of features.
Outside-the-box cards. A
wildly original, fanciful or extravagant presentation can draw
extra attention. Creativity knows no bounds-except the amount of
money you wish to spend. Some examples are cards made of chocolate
or that folded out into a miniature box to keep small items in.
Now It's Time to Order
Once you've settled on a basic idea for your business card, it's
time to head to the printer. There are four primary considerations
when ordering business cards:
business cards are printed on 80-pound cover stock.
the three available-smooth, linen and laid-the smooth finish is
the most popular.
now, two-color cards predominate. If you're selecting from a
catalog, there are between five and 15 standard colors to choose
from. If you have another ink color in mind, your printer can show
you a Pantone Matching System book, which includes every shade
under the sun.
generally pays to print more cards rather than fewer, because the
printer's cost is primarily in the setup.
One Final Tip
Though this may sound like obvious advice, it might cost you another
trip to the printer if you don't heed it: Include the essentials.
This means your name, title, company name, address, phone number (or
numbers, if you want to include your cell), e-mail and Web site. If
someone wants to contact you after receiving your card, you sure as
heck want them to be able to.