Making your business cards work

You only get one chance to make a first impression. For nearly 300 years the humble business card has been the primary tool for transferring business information to new contacts or potential clients, in a universal and memorable format. Even in today’s exciting and ever-advancing digital world of online social and business networks this ‘real world’ product is going from strength to strength. Indeed, the more digital the world becomes, the more powerful useful offline tools like business cards can become.

We like to think that business cards may only be little but it’s what you do with them that counts. As a serious platform for promoting your business, it is often surprising how unremarkable people choose to make their cards. They are, after all, the ultimate direct marketing tool – something that your potential customer or client is given in person, takes away, and hopefully keeps forever.

Here are MOO’s top 10 tips for creating memorable business cards that will help you and your business stand out in these difficult economic times:

1. Thought: Whether you are having your cards designed by a graphic designer, or creating the look yourself, take some time to plan your cards. Look at the cards you’ve collected over the years to see what elements inspire you, and incorporate them into your own design.

2. Individuality: Your card should say something about who you are and what you do. It should be personal and be easily recognisable as YOUR card. When the recipient is flicking through their Rolodex, your card should jump out and remind them of you and what you do.

3. Relevance to recipient: Are you handing your card to an existing client, a headhunter, a stranger? Tailor your card to the recipients to maximise the effect. Hand over a card that demonstrates your awareness of who THEY are, and what they might find interesting about you and your business. Take an interest in who they are and they’ll undoubtedly take more notice of who you are in return.

4. Context: Are these cards for you to take to meetings, leave on tables or pass out at events or trade shows? The different environments that you might want to use business cards should affect the look and purpose of the card itself.

5. Impact: Your cards should be remarkable. They should spark interest and prompt further questions about your business and yourself. Don’t let the exchange of your business card be the end of a conversation, but rather the beginning of one. It should stand out from the crowd and make an impact. Your business card may be the first and last thing a contact or client remembers you by....

6. Quality: Your card should make an impression both to the eye and in the hand. It should feel, as well as look, great A thick, smooth stock or using a recycled, pure stock, with highest quality printing can make a long-lasting impression.

7. Get the details right: Your card should make it easy for someone to follow up and contact you. Ensure you provide the correct contact details in a clear, legible way: don’t over-clutter with unnecessary information (e.g every social network you have ever joined up to), but make sure that a potential client knows how to find you.

8. Up to date: There’s no point in handing out cards with old information, images or product news. If you have a new product or service, showcase it on your cards. If you use them as sales tools, but no longer stock the product or offer the service, make new cards. Order your cards in short, inexpensive runs to make sure you don’t lose money by having piles of out of date cards.

9. Presenting the card: The Japanese have an established, formal etiquette for handing over cards in order to set the right tone. You don’t need to go that far, but do think about how YOU come across when handing out your card. Think about how you take out your card. Rather than dragging them out of a suit pocket or the bottom of your bag, why not carry a smart card holder to keep your cards neat and clean and make a good impression when handing them over.

10. Use them!: There’s no point in making the World’s Most Beautiful Business Cards only to keep them in a dark, desk drawer – get them out there. Keep a stock of cards in your briefcase or bag at all times. When you go to a meeting or event, hand the cards out to anyone and everyone. You never know who will be the person to follow up, so give yourself the best chance possible.


18th August 2009

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