7 Tips about business cards

The business card is such a commonplace item, but many people fail to make the most of it to market their business and present a professional image. Here are some tips on getting the best from your business cards.

7th April 2009 at 9:28 am

Don’t get business cards unless you’re going to use them

Millions of business cards are printed every day, but a high proportion of them wind up as pulp because their owners don’t spend any significant time meeting people as part of their day to day business. If you’re running a retail shop, for example, you probably won’t need very many cards – whereas a typical business advisor or consultant will need lots.

Don’t DIY

After you’ve left a meeting or networking event your business card is usually the only tangible reminder people have of your business. If that reminder is obviously home-made or you’ve used a standard template, off the shelf template for your cards (there’s a purple one I’ve seen lots of times handed out by lifecoaches!) then you won’t be remembered as the professional and well prepared person you no doubt are.

Get your message across

Spend some time thinking about the name of your business, your logo and the style of text etc on your card and get professional help with the design. If your name and logo don’t make it obvious what you do – look at adding a strap line to the card to help people remember. For example, if your card says ‘Fred Bloggs Associates’ it would be a good idea to add ‘Business Advice Services’ or ‘Chartered Accountants’ or ‘IT for Small Businesses’ to give potential clients that critical reminder.

Look at your contact details objectively

Little details can give big clues to a client about the nature of your business. ‘Orchard Cottage’ is obviously a residential address, ‘Orchard House’ may not be – a PO Box may be hiding something. Using an email address like fred@btinternet.com looks cheap and unprofessional so why not spend £20 or so on a domain name that matches your business name?

Consider using the back of the card

Many people swear by this – if there’s key information that you think clients would find useful then in theory putting it on the back of your card will make people keep your card rather than throwing it away. I’ve seen rugby fixture dates, tax rates and other information on the bakcs of cards – but bear in mind that if the information goes out of date you’ll need a new set!

Avoid gimmicks

There are quite a lot of ‘different’ kinds if card around – unusual shapes, cards that unfold into brochures or that come in cute little envelopes. This is a personal opinion only but I think anything that doesn’t fit in a standard sized card box (or can be made to fit by removing its container/extras) is probably a waste of money.

Only carry one kind of card

It’s becoming very common for people to run multiple businesses and I have often come away from a networking event with 2 or 3 cards for the same person. While it’s good to have a separate corporate identity for each business I think it’s potentially very confusing for clients if you hand out multiple cards. I think its best to go to any meeting or event with a clear idea of which business you’re promoting and ONLY hand out cards for that.

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Gill Hunt

Gill Hunt is an independent IT and Management consultant and founder/owner of www.skillfair.co.uk Promoting the exchange of expertise, Skillfair offers a unique service for both consultants and clients. Through the on line meeting place clients can invite more than 1200 quality checked consultants and advisors to respond to their requests for expert help. Consultants can access these projects and use the service to find others offering similar or complimentary services to work with them on bids or ongoing projects. http://www.skillfair.co.uk

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