Your Business Card is Your First Impression

I’m not a fan of Joel Bauer, but he makes some great points about your business card.

Business Card
photo credit: Michael Kappel via photopin cc

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.”

Jeff Howell

Jeff Howell

Director of Business Development and Marketing at Placement Management Center
Jeff Howell is the Director of Business Development and Marketing for PMC, a recruitment and placement agency based in Flushing, MI. Jeff is a leader in integrated marketing and relational sales techniques. Crazy coffee lover, Red Sox fanatic, and amazingly admits to being a fan of the Detroit Lions.
Jeff Howell
Jeff Howell
Jeff Howell

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13 Comments on "Your Business Card is Your First Impression"

1 year 10 months ago

You are absolutely right. The business card is the first impression. Business cards are the latest hype in the marketing and advertising sector. These amazing little cards are used by many businesses worldwide to reflect different messages in a unique and fun manner.

Chris Berry
2 years 9 days ago

This is very true! I Think when getting or choosing the design of your business card, you have to make sure all the elements are correct and that they fit very well together :)

Albert Qian
2 years 12 days ago

Definitely agree. You have one chance to make a first impression.

Neil Forrest
2 years 15 days ago

Material, layout, choice of Font…..

All part of the quandry to create the perfect business card.

We are a business cards printing comapny in London, and are getting more requests for thicker materials, and some of the old traditional printing methods are on the rise again. Foil Blocking, thermography and edge painting are in big demand again.

It has never been more important to be different, and individualoin our homogenised (spelling?) world of now now now. Stand out and get noticed, as most attention spans are as short as lunch breaks…

We are currently running a 'worst business card you've ever seen' competition on our facebook page. Please feel free to contribute.

2 years 14 days ago

Hi Neil,
Thanks for letting us know and your great insight. Could you post the facebook page here?

Randy Bowden
2 years 15 days ago

Good insight that I agree with totally. In the day and age of digital this and digital that some things remain classic and very professional! You only get one first impression, your advice points that out clearly!

2 years 15 days ago

Hey Randy,
The point is ONE chance. If you screw that up, it's unlikely you'll get another chance. Thanks for commenting.