I wish I could say I’ve seen my last card from Kinko’s, but truth is, I expect people will keep using the quick and cheap method. I know money can be a problem, especially if you’re just starting out in business or going through a rough patch financially. But what most people don’t realize is how much the perception of a business card matters. We might wish we lived in a world where our expertise and enthusiasm were most important, but for whatever it’s worth, people start sizing you up from the minute you hand them a card.
So to help you make a better first impression, here are some tips for a better business card:
1) Don’t be so quick to save money. I wouldn’t let a high school kid design my logo and card layout. Get someone with experience and a sense of professionalism. Find a graphic designer who knows what’s working today, and get their advice.
2) Be appropriate to you business. Your picture on the card might work if you’re selling real estate, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a lawyer. Get a sense of the style of other professionals in your particular business.
3) Be careful with creativity. Your purpose is to convey important information, not use it as a demo reel or portfolio. Don’t distract from the essential purpose.
4) PLEASE make it normal size! I use a business card holder and when I get a square, round, or other abnormal card it doesn’t make a positive impression. If it doesn’t fit my holder, I usually toss it in the trash.
5) Don’t forget the backside. More information, a logo, a compelling visual, a mission statement – use the back of the card and don’t waste the real estate.
6) Stretch a little when it comes to your title or qualifications. Be honest, but don’t be modest. Make sure you have an impressive title, and shoot high. For your particular business, it might also be important to include a graduate degree if you have one.
7) Buy a domain name for you or your company. A Yahoo, Google, or Hotmail email address doesn’t make a strong impression – because every high school kid in America has one of those. A domain name is only about $10-$20 a year from a source like godaddy.com, so purchase you or your company’s name, or at least something that is unique and expresses your brand identity.
8) Don’t use the same card for everything. If you freelance on the side, make a specific card for that business. Use specific information for each role or job you have, and use those cards appropriately.
Any other good suggestions to add?