One of my very first designs was a business card. Since 2008, we have designed and printed hundreds if not thousands of business card sets. Aside from the logo, very many startups look to acquire business cards as their first marketing collateral. It is the go-to document for introductions and establishing your very first relationship with your client.
With a history since the establishment of the printing press, business cards have gone by various names. They have been referred to as visiting cards owing to the fact that they were used to introduce one to another during visits. As a way to introduce oneself, they have also been referred to as calling cards. And when they were used in stores they were referred to as trading cards.
Business Cards are part of Professionalism
Professionalising your business is important to growing your brand and its value. The Japanese business card culture has crossed borders and is with almost every professional businessman. They call it a “meishi”. A person is expected to present their meishi upon meeting a new business acquaintance. Meishi should be kept in a smart leather case (business card holder) where they will not become warm or worn, both of which are considered a sign of disrespect or thoughtlessness. The smart leather case can be personalised and/or branded.
A business card is a piece of marketing collateral with a long shelf life (call it a desktop life if you will) compared to other marketing materials such as fliers and brochures. This is especially the case when your business interests cross paths, you are bound to keep the business card for future reference. Always present your card after your meeting. Make it a habit. Don’t be caught pants down without one (at the very least have an eBusiness Card which you can share).
As the primary document of introduction in any professional meeting, your business card should be able to communicate what you do from a glance. Below, I explore some of the important information that should be on your card.
Important Contents for Your Business Card
Your Name & Job Title
Who am I speaking to and what is their hob role in the organisation? This is an important question many have hanging in their heads when meeting someone new for business. Your job title is an easy conversation starter at networking events by simply asking what their job title entails. Think about your job titles carefully as they indicate your relative importance to the organisation. It is also an indicator as to how your organisation prides in its workforce. Don’t be too fancy – consider your market and size of organisation.
Depending on your field, credentials may be vital – consider accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers and other professional fields. It is important to have such credentials as an indicator to your full set of expertise and what you can offer the client. Say for example a doctor, they need credentials as they have very many sub-fields they operate in and you don’t want to be treated by the wrong type of doctor.
Contact Information (Including Social Information)
How do people reach and where can they find you online? Organisations should get into the habit of including two sets of numbers that includes the office phone and personal phone of the card holder – both clearly indicated. This is for the obvious reason that the employee may leave your organisation and one may still require your organisation’s services.
The next important piece of information is your email. Systems should be in place to handle employees who’ve departed the organisation – a simple autoresponder should do, instead of the hard bounces one gets.
What about online? Have a functioning website, not just a fancy URL to display on the card. It is your digital storefront where people can access relevant information about you, your products and services at any time. In today’s age, if you have a social media presence, then this should be indicated as well. Many of these social media channels have flexible brand identities for use in collaborative scenarios such as this.
The physical address may or may not apply to your business. In some instances, it lends credibility to your business when you have a physical address. Well, if you are in the business of receiving old school mail, then a postal address can also be included here.
Your Brand Identity
This is a passion topic for us as we are a branding agency keen on this. Your brand identity (your logo) should be a prominent feature of your business card. This helps in identifying your business as well as build on its brand value. Consistency is key and this is where brand standards come into play. There is no need of business cards looking different from person to person (unless of course it plays creatively and consistently to your branding).
One of the most important things to your business cards is your tagline. This may not necessarily be the one on your brand identity but a unique one-liner that says what you do or what you are about. I have too many business cards to count that don’t identify what the business does nor are there any clues in the branding of the business card itself. Clues can come in the form of qualifications for example. The idea is to have your business card represent you even after you’ve left the networking event for example. There’s nothing fancy about it being mysterious – rarely will people work for that information, so give it to them.
They rose, they fell and rose again, but this time round they may stick around longer. When they were first a novelty, it wouldn’t be my top recommendation as it required one to be a little techie to know what to do. Their ease of use as smartphone cameras have upgraded and their other use cases especially in payment is making QR Codes (quick response codes) ubiquitous.
With its versatility, you can use it for various purposes. It can be a discount code, it can be your contact information, your company profile and so much more; you just have to choose which one to implement.
How Can Your Business Card Stand Out?
Your cards should firstly make business sense in terms of cost. There are so many ways and options to make your card stand out that it all boils down to cost and viability. This should be a case of form and function working together in harmony.
In the digital era, print now becomes the unique medium.
Above, you’ve seen the important content to put on your business card. It may seem like much, and it surely is, but with the right designers, this should be executed beautifully. A clean, concise design is what you should be looking for. It should be designed in context, understanding your needs, printing requirements, your industry and more. when push comes to shove, let it be more functional than anything. I normally criticise designs with tiny fonts all in the name of looking cool, it can look cool but if it is not functional then it hasn’t served its purpose.
From design to print. Here, you have a variety of options. At Pulsar’s Print Division, we offer premium quality paper and finishing options that ensure you stand out from the crowd. Our consistent production methods ensure you maintain quality of the cards even when you reprint with us years to come. The design, however, is what makes the print stand out, it is what makes your brand to stand out. Some of the premium finishes include velvet lamination, unique and heavy card stock material we print on, rounded edges, foil stamping and more.
You can head over to our pricing calculator and find out how much it costs to print a business card with us.
In the digital era, print now becomes the unique medium. Business cards can go a long way in establishing relationships. They are a conversation starter and with the right card, it can be the beginning of an invaluable business relationship. It is part of professionalising your business and this adds value to your brand’s outlook.
Don’t go without one!
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Looking for a Creative Agency to Help You With Your Business Cards?
At Pulsar, we provide creative graphic design & printing services for your business. When you work with us, we partner with you for the long-term providing you with one stop solutions for your brand. Get in touch with us to get started with your marketing collateral requirements.