I’m not a fan of Joel Bauer, but he makes some great points about your business card.
Everything you do, everything you stand for in business, everything you have to say is all wrapped up in your business card. Use thin paper, people might think you’re cheap. Low resolution or inkjet print will tell someone that you don’t care that much about your business image. Your business card is your first impression. Unless you plan to wow potential clients in some other way, a cheap business card will get stuck in with all of the rest. Relegated to a pile in the top desk drawer, never to be seen again; forgotten for all eternity.
Or, you can spend a little money, have a high quality card that you can be proud to hand out, and maybe be within the pile that sits on the desk. To stand out, however, you need to have a card that stands out above all the others. You don’t have to spend as much or have as gaudy of a card as Mr. Bauer, but he does make a good point, “My card doesn’t belong in a rolodex.”
At a previous position, I had a business card that received a lot of attention. It was the same size as all of the others, but it was super thick and was clear. I had a vendor print me up some clear plastic business cards. They even had a varnish which allowed someone to write on the back of the card. Every time I handed one out, there was a surprised reaction. They looked at it, flipped it around, and looked like they had never seen something quite like it. I guarantee that it didn’t get thrown away. It stayed on their desk somewhere. If they were flipping through their stack of cards one day, because mine was a hard plastic, it stood out.
Here are some tips to make your card stand out. Don’t skimp on this vital piece of marketing.
- Hire a professional designer to create the card. Unless you are a designer yourself, don’t try to create a card on your own. Also, don’t go online to any of the crowdsourcing sites that are everywhere. You’re not going to get the best service or quality of design. Spend some money and have them done properly. (this is my opinion, don’t crucify me if you use crowdsourcing)
- Avoid the online printer deals. A majority of them don’t always produce consistent quality. 500 cards for $10 aren’t generally on stock that will set you apart. Find a printer that will print on 14pt or 16pt stock. It is very thick stock and it will have a much higher quality feel.
- Use a spot UV/varnish or full coat UV/varnish. It will add that high quality gloss to your card.
- Get it printed in 4 color. You don’t pay extra for extra colors anymore.
- Decide if a photograph is appropriate. A real estate agent or insurance agent has a real market for an image where an accountant might not. Secondarily, if you do want a photograph on your card, please have a headshot done professionally.
- Keep it one sided. If you must have something on the back, do not have a coating on the back and leave room for people to jot quick notes about you to remind themselves later.
- If you have the extra cash, have them printed with rounded edges or have a die-cutout or something else creative to make your initial marketing and impression stand out.
If you make this little 2″x3.5″ billboard a priority to get right, you will see a return quite quickly. A stand out card, combined with proper business networking skills and follow up will increase your chances of getting some business you might not otherwise. Spend the money here and maybe you too will have people saying “My God… it even has a watermark.”