When you make the effort of printing business cards for your small business, the expectation seems to be that you will hand out those cards at each and every event you attend. But your task may not be the only thing you have going these days. The number of small businesses pursuing something on the side is constantly growing. Also, even full-time freelancers seem to wind up with multiple approaches and multiple cards. For instance, a blogger who also does SEO optimists may have a business card for each aspect of his or her business. In this article, we will provide you some useful tips on how to create a business card and why You still need them for your small business
But what does it mean for the rest of us? Just because some of them have multiple business cards does not mean that all of us have to try to remember which card to hand out at which events, right?
A business card is a thing that digital will not fully replace anytime soon.
Here are five reasons why a business card is still important and why you should have a pocket full of them at all times.
When you meet someone that could potentially be a great prospect or connection, don’t you want him or her to walk away with a great first impression? A memorable business card process a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number. A retail store trying to make a great first impression would not create a storefront sign with a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie. A unique business card will fuel the conversation even further.
Networking is about making genuine connections. Sending contact information via text or e-mail on the spot is convenient and easy but it is also extremely impersonal. And actual conversation is how real relationships begin. Two individuals with their heads buried in their phones typing away will not create any kind of significant memory of the encounter. Transferring the information from a business card to your mobile device after the conversation is an easy-going process.
E-mail marketing, search engine optimization, and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still are not as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange. You can confront a potential lead or contact at any time — trade shows, industry conferences, happy hour, airport lounges and arming yourself with business cards at all times will assure that you never miss an opportunity to make a valuable business connection.
Keep some in your pocket, wallet, money clip or laptop bag, so the next time you encounter a prospect you are always prepared.
A business card is a physical object that a potential prospect leaves the encounter with. Your brand stays with them. If you meet a prospect and exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers you each walk away with another contact on your mobile phone, it ends there. If you hand over a creative business card that creates a great impression that a person is likely to show it to other people, putting you and your brand in front of additional prospects.
Have you ever seen someone write his or her contact information on a cocktail napkin and hand it over to you? How about someone that has a mobile phone with a dead battery? It isn’t the most professional approach. If you met two people and one was scrambling to find a pen and something to write on and the other person simply pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business with? Showing that yourself prepared at all times is a great indicator that you are professional.
Business cards are always a key component of branding strategy and constitute a portable and professional form of advertising that you can give to anyone at any time. Experts may disagree as to the role that business cards play in enterprise today. Unless poorly done, however, such cards certainly will not damage your marketing efforts and might provide a boost to your promotional endeavors.
And yes, many business cards will get lost or tossed, but with how simple and inexpensive they are to make, you cannot afford not to have some on hand. Let us consider what type of business card is right for your small business and how to tackle the process of making your own business cards.
There are, in fact, quite a number of software tools as well as online services that can easily help you create professional-looking business cards.
The look and feel of your business card tells your contacts a great deal about your company or organization. With that in mind, we will examine how to make a beautiful and professional business card for your brand or business.
The first step is to decide what information you will print on your business cards. There are certain essential items, like the ones that are given below:
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Keep in mind, though, that the size of a standard business card is 2 x 3.5 inches. So, do not try to squeeze too much information onto one card. Decide which elements are essential for your business and if you need to include loads of information, consider a two-sided card.
Technology has created the actual design of your business card quick and painless. Websites like Canva or PicMonkey provide loads of free templates, though they do require that you sign up for an account and pay for premium feature sets. Select a style you like, fill in the blanks and you are all set.
If you would rather stick with a brand you know, Google offers a Business Card Maker through its search engine. Any of these websites will allow you to print your own designs. If you would like to print your cards at home, Microsoft Word (or any other document writer program) offers business card templates. Under the File menu, choose New and enter “Business Card” into the search box. You should see a variety of templates available for download.
You can also import into Word templates and match the design you have chosen to the appropriate Avery business card paper, which is available at most office supply stores. And these chains also sell their own brand of paper, and the packaging ought to tell you which template style to select from Avery for purposes of compatibility. Avery also provides lucrative printing services at cheap prices, should you find that printing at home doesn’t meet your expectations.
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Your card should reflect the image you wish to portray. Do you seek a design that is clean and classic or whimsical and fun? It depends on the nature of your business. Such questions are similar to those a business owner asks when designing a logo.
If you already have a well-designed logo, take your cues from that graphic and be sure to include it on your card. If you have yet to create a logo, you can hire a freelance designer to draw one for you at very little expense on websites like Fiverr, or pay a bit more for a seasoned professional at places like 99designs. Once you have settled on a symbol that represents your business, do not forget to trademark your business/brand’s logo.
Be consistent with your color scheme across all marketing materials. If you have already designed items like a website, brochures, or stationery, stick with the same hues and general mood for your business card. Keep in mind, though, that if you plan to print at home, you are better off with a white or cream background. Ink is quite expensive and printing a saturated background can tax even the best of machines.
The most crucial aspect of your business card is readability, so choose your font(s) wisely. A complex font may be beautiful but could diminish the purpose of your card: to advertise for your business. We recommend that you use no more than two fonts and that those fonts complement each other. If you use different fonts, your primary concern ought to be whether the name of your company catches the eye.
You might consider a unique size or shape to make your business card noticeable. Remember, however, that this will make your cards more expensive to make and easier to lose. If your card is non-standard, it is less likely to fit nicely into a wallet, card book, or other method of storage that people use for business cards.
Here are some issues to consider when you select a business card paper. These choices are quite relevant whether you print at home or order from a service:
White and cream are the most common colors and the easiest to print on at home. A bright-colored background may help make your card unique. No matter the color, be sure that the text on the card is legible.
Regular card stock is the most affordable option, but a premium or thicker stock will result in a sturdier card. Some card stock is coated in plastic or made from linen, and if you print your own cards, you may have to test whether your machine can handle this special paper.
The average business card is printed on stock that is 14 to 20 points thick (1 point = 1/1,000 of an inch), though you can purchase stock as thick as 32 points. Do not use anything less than 14 point stock. It will make your cards seem chintzy. Spend extra money on thicker paper to make your cards look more professional. If you plan to print on both sides of your card, choose a thicker stock so that you can’t see the other side and so the ink will not bleed through during the printing process. Look for business card stock created specifically for two-sided printing.
You can choose between a glossy (shiny) or matte (non-shiny) finish for your cards. If your card is filled with a lot of images or graphics on your card, a glossy finish will help them pop. If your card is mostly text, a matte finish offers a classic and traditional look to your card.
Another thing to ponder is that a glossy finish is harder to write on than a matte finish. If you plan to hand out your card at events like trade shows or networking get-together becomes quite problematic. Since you meet a lot of people in a short time, many people take notes on the back of business cards to help them recall the conversation. If people cannot write on your cards, it could hinder the chance that they will remember you.
To determine where and how to print your newly created business cards, take the following factors into account: how many cards you need, how soon you need them and if you would like to experiment with a process that may not produce ideal results.
If you only require a few cards and you desire them right away, it makes sense to print them yourself. However, you might find that the quality does not compare with professionally printed cards. If you are able to wait a few days and prefer a large batch of cards, order from an online printer.
To print your own business cards, you will need a high-quality laser or inkjet color printer. If you have a laser printer, select a black and white template for the best results. You will also need to have proper business card paper, either pre-perforated so you can separate each card with ease or a heavier card stock that you can carefully cut apart yourself with a ruler and a utility knife.
Step 1: First, check that the template you have chosen matches the layout of the paper you selected. While most business card paper holds 10 cards per page, they can be arranged differently. Print a test page on regular paper and hold it up to the business card paper to make sure that the design and your paper properly align.
Step 2: Next, set your printer to produce the highest quality results. Double-check that you have selected in your settings the type of card paper you purchased, i.e. the proper size, type of finish, etc. If you are printing on both sides, choose that option as well.
Step 3: Finally, manually feed the business card paper into your printer and print one page of cards. If you like the results, print more, but only a few pages at a time. Multiple pages might jam your printer and you may find that printing cards quickly drain your ink and lowers the quality of the card.
If you have an inkjet printer, let the ink dry before you pull or cut apart the cards, or they might smudge. If you have used pre-perforated paper, carefully fold along the perforated lines before you separate the cards and do so one time. Tear too quickly or disconnect too many cards at once, and you may rip the cards or ruin the edges. If your paper is not perforated, place a ruler along the side of each card, and slowly run the utility knife along the ruler to cleanly cut them apart.
As you can see, printing your own cards is a detailed and time taking process, with much room for error. If you have the time and resources, we want you to order cards from a printing service. Not only will you spare yourself potential headaches, but you will also receive a more polished product.
The complementary design websites mentioned above all provide printing services for an additional fee. Vistaprint, Moo and Overnight Print are also excellent low-cost design and print websites. Most offer expedited delivery, but if you need professional cards in a hurry and cost is not a consideration, consult your nearest FedEx Office, UPS Store, or other local printing shop.
Now that you have learned the various aspects of business card design, you want to be sure that people hold onto them. There are two ways you might accomplish this goal:
(a) Be sure to make your business card a valuable resource in and of itself. For example, you can add something useful to the back of the card that would make individuals desire to keep it. A realtor might supply a table that demonstrates the cost of housing based on down payment amounts or changes in interest rates. A small store can print a coupon or an incentive for return customers. A life coach can list sources of inspiration. A restaurant might provide a guide to tipping. The possibilities are endless.
(b) In addition to having professional business cards for your small business, make yourself a valuable resource, as well. Despite handing someone your card, during your conversation ferret out definitive ways that you might assist the individual. For instance, if you sell insurance and you have learned that your contact has a newborn baby, as you give them your card, you might say something like, “I know how scary it can be to plan for your child’s future. I have helped many families to feel safer and more secure should anything happen to their property or (god forbid) to them. If you are interested, I would be delighted to do the same for you.”
Such specificity and sincerity are likely to have a notable impact, and that person is more apt to touch base in the future when they have a need that you might fill. Combine this recollection with a delightful card and you just might be in business.