I’m certainly not a fan of printing unnecessary collateral materials, and enjoy technology as much as the next person (for the most part). However, for those that feel that business cards are no longer viable or important, I will be the first to disagree. In fact, it blows me away how many business owners and professionals don’t carry business cards – or think that they are still even necessary. They are!!
Business Cards Allow You to Be More Memorable
There is something incredibly tangible and far more memorable about a well designed business card. It can give a quick colorful snapshot of who you are and/or what your business does and the services it provides. And with so many reasonably priced printing options now available such as Vistaprint – among many others, there really is no excuse not to have business cards.
Depending on your business and budget, you can get super creative with business cards. And when/if applicable use BOTH sides of the card!
What to Include on Your Business Cards
Depending on your industry, profession etc., there may be other elements that should be included on your business cards. But for the purposes of this article, its focus is on common oversights observed regarding those who participate in creative public facing events such as craft fairs, art shows or even farmers markets.
- Simplicity does it – go for a clean, quality design
- Your logo (so folks can identify with your brand)
- Name and title
- Pertinent contact information – phone, email
– in today’s digital age YES, you DO need an email address
– it’s not necessary to include your physical address if your
business is a home office.
- Include a small image or two of your works – allowing folks to
easily remember and visually identify with you
- WORKING LINK to website, blog or online store (if applicable)
- You SHOULD have a website – NOT just a Facebook page!
Regardless of your industry, have business cards with you at all times! You may find yourself handing one out in the unlikeliest places!!
A Business Card Re-imagined:
Sometimes business cards are so poorly designed/created that they could be causing you to lose potential sales.
Take the case of the following business card. It’s to this beautiful shop in Boulder, CO filled with unique lighting and home accessories. However, how would you remember that by the look of this card?
How it currently looks:
Now check out this Business Card Design Make-Over:
Seeing the the card reimagined, it’s likely you’d remember the shop for sure! It’s just one example of how a business card really can make an impact.
A Poorly Designed Business Card Could Cause You To Lose Potential Sales
From the before and after reimagined example above, you can see how not being very memorable could actually cause you to lose sales.
With no point of visual reference, a bland, black business card is just that. There’s not much for you to recall or to motivate you to go visit the website.
Ego vs. Oversight or Missed Opportunity
On one occasion, I was at a shop and asked the owner for a business card. Much to my surprise, the shop owner acted offended that I should ask her for a card – feeling that she and her shop were memorable enough on their own. Really?? Not being a local to that area, how would I know that?
Another event I attended found the business owner with no other recourse but to scribble her info down on a ripped piece of paper. Perhaps an oversight that at a public facing event a business card wasn’t necessary? Professionally speaking, both these instances were unfortunate as they likely meant lost sales opportunities.
Make Your Business Cards Accessible…
On that note, if you do participate in any public facing events such as art fairs, craft shows, farmer’s markets etc., make sure your business cards are easily accessible to folks. Your business cards should not be a secret. So don’t hide them or force people to have to ask you for one.
This can work against you especially if you find yourself engaged with another customer. Folks may not wait around and simply walk away instead – which could be a lost sale for you. Just place them in several easily accessible spots around your booth. Make them visible so that people can reach out to you later!
Handing Out Business Cards in Unlikely Places
Beyond networking or other public facing events, you just never know when you’ll need to hand out a business card. Having them handy is key!
Case in Point:
A day snowboarding and on the ski-lift with a fellow rider, he asked what I did? Telling him I offered web design and SEO services, he asked if I happen to have a business card with me. He was considering launching his own business. Learning to keep some of my cards in my jacket pocket, I handed him one of my biz cards. No fumbling for a smartphone in the cold necessary. A week later he became a client and he’s still a client to this very day!!
Sharing the Luv – Services Others May Need
Beyond handing out my own business cards, when applicable, it’s nice to share the luv for others services. As a dedicated Subaru owner (I love my car), I have been blessed with finding a great mechanic. I’ve lost count of how many times folks have asked me who works on my car – at gas stations, parking lots, etc. So much so that I began carrying a bunch of my mechanic’s business cards in my car! Lord knows how much business I have given him and all by way of the innocent and often overlooked little business card.
Promoting Yourself Around Town with Your Cards
Promoting yourself around town can be as simple as a stop to your local Small Business Resource Center, Coffeehouse, Library or other local haunt. Biz centers often have a wall rack dedicated to place your business cards. This can literally put you right in front of other business owners or professionals who may be able to benefit from your services.
As for Coffee Shops etc, often they have a bulletin board teaming with an array of business cards for all kinds of services. No reason yours should not be there too. Not to mention it’s a bit of free local advertising which never hurts. And if you think it’s a waste of time in doing so, guess again! People really do stop to look and I can vouch for getting a client in this very manner. A little “old-school” never hurts!
There are quite a few options available for business cards. You can utilize recycled paper, paper made of stone, hemp or other materials to stand out from the crowd. And you can find a Green Printer to work with who utilizes soy inks among other options. Business cards are very reasonable to print and at the least the one piece of printed material you SHOULD have for your business!
Don’t Be an Epic Fail!
The jury may be out whether business cards are still necessary. Professionally speaking, I believe YES, they are!
Sorry millennials and Smartphone obsessive users, you won’t be winning this battle just yet.
Admittedly, I’m a fan of the humble little biz card.
For the record, there are digital business cards you can “hand out” using your mobile phone. The steps involved can be tricky, so avoid digital business cards for now. Eventually digital may replace paper cards. But for now nothing can replace the ease of physically handing someone an actual card. It’s a more tactile moment.
Business cards are part of your print collateral materials used to market and promote your business. This way you have something professional to hand out that properly represents you and for folks to remember you by 🙂
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Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.