The Basics About Business Cards, the Ever-Important Marketing Tool
In the age of the Palm Pilot, e-mail and teleconferencing, the business card may seem less than glamorous. Some might even wonder how important this pint-sized device is in today’s business world. The answer? Very. In fact, some believe the business card is the single most important marketing tool available.
Business cards are a tangible representation of your business. They often provide potential customers with their first impression of your product or service, and they remain with customers and prospects when you are not. Business cards tell people where to contact you and these tiny powerhouses are frequently passed from person to person, giving them even greater marketing mileage.
With all this in mind, it becomes clear that you should put some thought into your business cards. Make sure they project an appropriate image for your business, keeping in mind everything from content to design to printing. Below are some things to consider.
It may seem that there aren’t many options when it comes to designing a business card. After all, at a minimum, you need to include your name, your business name, and your address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address in a 2-inch by 3 ½-inch space. But there really are a lot of decisions to make. You can print in multiple colors, for example, or have your card embossed for a richer look. If you want your card to stand out from the rest, you can include a photo of yourself, or design the card so it is vertical in orientation rather than horizontal. You can even design a card that is twice the standard size and have it folded in half, giving you more room to print your message.
And don’t forget about the back of the card. Many companies will use this space to print their mission statements, or to print in another language if they do business internationally. Some even use that space for practical information, such as calendars or measuring tables. This gives people greater incentive to keep the cards.
Gone are the days when all business cards were black ink on white paper. Business cards can be printed on virtually any color paper, and in a variety of finishes and weights. You can have textured or smooth cards, glossy or flat. The paper you choose depends on a number of factors, including your budget and the type of image you want to project.
Business cards come in a wide price range. On average, people spend about $50 per thousand on their business cards, but some spend as much as $300 per thousand or more. How much your cards cost depends on several things, such as printing method digital or offset, the type of paper, number of ink colors and special printing features such as embossing or thermography (raised printing). The cost will increase if you print on both sides of the card.
Even on a budget, you can have business cards that tell the world your business is a success. There are ways to cut costs, such as printing multi-color blanks and imprinting them in black when a new staff member needs cards.
When designing business cards, you should first think about the type of image you want to project. Are you in an industry that requires your materials to be very serious and formal, such as accounting, or does your business operate in a more casual environment, such as a music store? Do you already have printed materials, such as brochures or letterhead? If so, your business cards should complement those pieces.
There’s a lot to consider, but you don’t have to do it alone. Consult with your printer or graphic designer to create business cards that leave a lasting impression.