Things have changed a lot this year. With the advent of social distancing, people are more wary of touchable branding like business cards. But even so, and even though some people say they’re going the way of the dinosaur, many movers and shakers still consider business cards to be the height of professionalism and style.
In some countries like Japan, business cards are a time honored tradition and important introduction across all areas of social life. They are also highly valued as a talking point, a way to break the ice when conducting business.
And while it’s a fact that a large number of business cards get thrown in the trash, if designed right they can be a vital way to extend your brand recognition and help you stand out from an ocean of emails or social posts. Kind of like a sleek, well-tailored suit, business cards still have their place in giving you that extra edge when meeting people. Plus if you think outside the box, they are valuable in many other ways.
This guide will take you through the ins and outs of making the most of business cards. From key design tips and innovative ways to use them, to the right business card size and the correct etiquette of handing them out (internationally and during 2021 social distancing).
There are lots of great options to boost your brand profile out in the world, using well designed, custom business cards:
Show your customers a touch of extra class by adding an attractive business card to their shipping parcel. But it’s not just about being elegant. Giving people your Customer Support contact details goes a long way to building brand trust. Paired with asking “How can I help?”, you could insert “Let us know how you like our product” and add a social media link. This could be a useful tool to get more ratings.
If you have a brick and mortar establishment, welcome people back after the lockdown with a stylish mailout that includes business card printing with directions and/ or booking details. You could even use the card as a 10% voucher on their next visit, which is an excellent way to make sure customers keep your card and walk through the door.
Use your business cards as an invite with a registration link, letting people know you’re holding an event at your premises. For example, restaurants could hold a chef competition or wine tasting, and beauty brands could do free makeovers.
Divide the back of your business cards into four or six blocks, and stamp them each time a customer comes in for a purchase or appointment. Giving people a discount when all blocks are stamped is a good incentive to keep them returning. And if you have an online store, you could print a code on the card which people can redeem at checkout.
Another option from our business card ideas is to give out a couple to your best customers, so they can hand them out to suitable people they know. Reward your loyal ambassadors with a good discount for every new person that books an appointment or buys something from your store.
Make sure your customers don’t forget their appointments by writing the date and time on the back of your business card. A practical way to reduce missed bookings.
Bland, samey business cards will quickly be forgotten and tossed. Let’s look at how to make sure they achieve a strong, memorable impact for all the right reasons:
Before we get into design best-practice when you make business cards, here are a few ideas for the details you can include to make them more personalized and interesting:
An added tip is that the text on your business card should sit no further than 5mm from the trim edge, so it doesn’t look squashed or run the risk of getting cut off during printing. There are other intricacies involved — like bleed, dpi (dots per inch), pixels, hex palette, file types, spot colors and the CMYK color model. But with a good quality Business Card Maker, all of this is automatically done for you.
A cheap or amateur-looking business card will do more damage than not having one. This was proved by a study that found that 72% of people judge a person or company based on the quality of their business cards. These are the main things to bear in mind:
Keep It Sleek
Don’t make your business card too busy. A cool logo is a must to instantly differentiate your company and build brand recognition. You’ll of course want to add your most important contact details, like cell number and work email. If you have a social media channel with strong social proof of how skilled you are, that would be good to include too. But don’t add social channels just for the sake of it. The point is that a website or print brochure is for comprehensive information, but a business card is for supplying essential details and making a fast but clear impression.
The worst design mistake you could make would be making business cards packed with so much information that it strains the eye. Also keep it practical with a clear font — while fancy cursive might look stylish, it’s hard to read in small print.
Likewise with going overboard on design and colors. Minimal and understated is the way forward for a classy impression. And always use a good quality paper, which is 16pt cardstock. Anything less will feel cheap.
It’s really important to consistently add your logo and brand colors throughout every customer touchpoint, from your website and social media channels, to your business cards and any other printed touchable branding like tshirts and pens.
You want your business card to instantly convey the right impression of you and your company. So, for example, if you have a Mexican restaurant you’d use vibrant colors, whereas if you’re a consultant or financial expert, you’d keep it toned down in blue, black or gray, which demonstrates serious and reliable professionalism.
Business card exchange, both in modern times and in different countries, is not done any old way if you want to make an excellent impression.
Follow these steps to get your business cards across during the current situation:
If you do all of the above with a smile of good humor and a comment like “what a world we live in right now”, the exchange will be just as effective at breaking the ice as the traditional business card exchange.
Kind of like eating at a fancy restaurant and knowing which knife or fork to pick up first, this is how to exchange business cards with style:
The last thing you’d want on an important business trip in another country is to cause offence, so here’s an overview of etiquette in different parts of the world. The first thing to remember in countries with more formal rules, is to always look at the card given to you before putting it away, preferably in a card holder instead of your pocket:
Without a doubt, business cards continue to have a valid place in the world. They convey established professionalism, added style, and are excellent ice breakers in more formal cultures.
And if you think outside the box using the ideas we outlined in this article, there are many more uses for business cards than meetings. Examples include letting people know your brick and mortar venue is back open for business, highlighting testimonials that boost brand trust, offering loyalty schemes, and helping people find you more easily with a convenient map.
When it comes to face to face exchanges, follow the steps we described to do it with style while making sure everyone feels comfortable in the 2021 world of social distancing. Also keep the international norms we explained in mind, so you don’t find yourself offending people without even knowing it.
Although it’s far easier, faster, and more affordable now to make business cards using a quality app, you also don’t want to forget our Top Two Design Tips. Keep it sleekly classy and use instantly recognizable branding that makes an instantly memorable impression for all the right reasons. In other words, don’t add too many details so that things look squashed, use a clear font, don’t go crazy with colors, and make sure you have a streamlined logo that suits your line of business.
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