A sort of side-hobby I have is collecting business cards. I’ve seen good cards, I’ve seen bad cards, and I’ve seen just plain ugly cards. I’m not a graphic designer, but I do know what looks good.
Whenever I receive a business card, I immediately look for five items. If your business card is missing any of them, then you’re in a heap of trouble.
(Note: I take it as given that your business card has your company’s name or logo on it. If not, back to the drawing board. If yes, good, but don’t rely in it and it alone. See Item 2.)
1.) Your Name
The main problem with this item isn’t that a lot of people don’t include it. The problem is that people often put their name in a place on their card where the eye has difficulty finding it.
I’ve seen people put their name in the middle of a bunch of text and contact information in very small print. A less common mistake is to hide it away in an odd spot like the upper-right-hand corner. Rarely do people not include it at all.
The best business cards have the name in the center, accompanied by a title. That’s a rule of thumb, but a rule nonetheless.
2.) Your Website
Always include a website. If you don’t have a website, you’ll need to get one.
I once ran across this beautifully designed company business card. It had rounded corners, with printing on the front and back. Plus, the cardstock felt perfect.
But it lacked the key to success in today’s wired world: A website.
How am I supposed to find out more if I don’t have the company’s website? Where can I find more information about the company that has this awesome business card? What does the company even do?
(By the way, your business card should give the recipient the ability to find out the answers to all of these questions.)
3.) Your Email
Phone calls depend on both people being near their phone at once. Meetings require a lot of logistical gymnastics and there are plenty of people who say that most of them are a waste of time.
Emails are different, especially with the dawn of the smartphone. You can check your email while you’re on your coffee break, or right when you wake up.
Email is the most widely used form of business communication. Include it.
4.) Your Phone Number
Remember what I said about phones calls being inferior to email? Yeah… about that.
Email is great, but even the most digitally savvy businessmen (and women!) run into the problem of email backlog. My boss gets this problem all the time with his email, and I too am slowly succumbing to the same disease.
In light of all that, phone calls are usually the best option for making initial contact. Emails are better for follow up.
The idea is that if you give people your business card with both your email and your phone number, they’ll call you on the phone, after which you will judge them worthy to correspond with by email.
As for where to include it, that brings us to…
5.) Your Business Mailing Address
A lot of people put this item in a cluster of contact info along with their website, email and phone number near the bottom of the card. That works some times, but I’ve seen it done more creatively.
Ideally, people will go to your website and get your mailing address there. However, depending on what kind of business you’re running, it can’t hurt to have a mailing address of some kind.
For example, if you work for a company that does projects involving warehouses and shipping, you might need an address for your corporate office.
Even if you’re a smaller company, you’ll definitely need an address so your potential customer can easily find you out in the wild blue yonder.
The trick to making good business cards is to make it easy for the recipient to contact you in the simplest way possible. That way you can do business with them with minimal hassle and frustration.
Finally, never, ever, ever, ever forget to work bleeds into your card. Ever.
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.