Talking Shop - The Basics of the Business Card
The business card may seem like an extremely old school way of making connections. But that tiny rectangle of paper is a great way to introduce yourself, remind someone who you are and build your business. Your business card, much like your Instagram profile or your logo, is an extension of your brand. When you design a business card, make sure it matches every other piece of branding for your business. Colors, type faces and design elements should all feel similar throughout each piece. This creates a cohesive feeling company.
Incredibly unique business card designs, like those in the shape of a shovel for a gardening company, can go either really unique and awesome or totally kitschy. In my opinion, if you're designing your own business card, it's better to stick with something that's simple but well done. For this, you want to stay inside the box. Design your card inside the normal rectangular dimensions. If you have taken on hiring a designer, you can explore the options of a unique card design because they will ensure you're not looking silly.
When you're designing your business card, be sure to include your name, your company's name and what you do. I very often look at business cards after I get home from an event and have no idea what that person did. For my birth photography, my business cards have birth photos on the front. When I give these out to a prospective client or business connection, they remember that I take birth photos because it's on the card itself. If you don't have photos of what you're selling (why don't you? Denver Style can get you taken care of) at least include a description or tagline as a reminder.
The material your business card is made out of may seem like a no biggie. In actuality, it's another one of those small details that creates a cohesive brand. If you sell high end shoes but your business card is printed on cheap computer paper, I'm totally not going to have a lot of faith in your brand. And I probably won't be calling you the next time I need a high end pair of shoes. Splurging on expensive paper, or even printing on wood or metal, creates an elevated user experience with your brand.
I like to include a space to write a small note on my business cards. If I talk to you at a show with a lot of people but we had a good connection and an idea to follow up on, I like to write myself a quick one to two words about what to follow up with you on when I get home. Otherwise, your card may get lost in a jumble and I'll never remember to contact you again for our world dominating idea.
Last but not least - please please please include a way to contact you on your business card. Ideally, you would put an email address and a phone number on the card. If you're like me and you don't like talking on the phone, don't include your phone number. Or if you never answer your emails and you prefer a quick call, only put your phone number.
Your website is not enough contact information for me. Don't make me work to get a hold of you. I am very often given business cards with just a website on them and when I get to the website, there's no email address, contact form or phone number. When I have a million dollar contract to offer someone who fits your exact business description, you're going to be really sorry when I have no way to get in contact with you. If it takes me more than two steps (i.e. step one: go to website; step two: enter information into a contact form) to reach you, I'm going to give up and contact someone else instead.
Always remember to bring your business card with you to any event. It also helps to have a couple in your wallet or your purse for when you make those random connections while out and about. I've literally run into people on the street before and talked to them about what I do. Having that card in my pocket meant I sealed the conversation right then and there.
Now get out and start making those connections!