Guest post by Richard Moross
You only get one chance to make a first impression. For nearly 300 years the humble business card has been the primary tool for transferring business information to new contacts or potential clients, in a universal and memorable format.
It’s often surprising how unremarkable people choose to make their cards. They are, after all, the ultimate direct marketing tool — something that your potential customer or client is given in person, takes away, and hopefully keeps forever.
The following 10 tips will help you create remarkable and memorable business cards; cards that will help you and your business stand out in these difficult economic times.
Whether you are having your cards designed by a graphic designer, or creating the look yourself, take some time to plan your cards. Look at the cards you’ve collected over the years to see what elements inspire you, and incorporate them into your own design.
Your card should say something about who you are and what you do. Your card should be personal and be easily recognizable as your card.
- Relevance to recipient
Are you handing your card to an existing client, a headhunter, or a stranger? Tailor your card to the recipients to maximize the effect. Take an interest in who they are and they’ll undoubtedly take more notice of who you are in return.
Are these cards for you to take to meetings, leave on tables or pass out at events or trade shows? The different environments that you might want to use business cards should affect the look and purpose of the card itself.
Your cards should be remarkable. They should spark interest and should prompt further questions about your cards, your business, and yourself. Your business card may be the first and last thing a contact or client remembers you by.
Your card should make an impression both to the eye and in the hand. Impress your contacts by handing over a card that feels great as well as looks great. A thick, smooth stock or using a recycled, pure stock, with highest quality printing can make a long-lasting impression.
- Get the details right
Your card should make it easy for someone to follow up and contact you. Ensure you provide the correct contact details in a clear, legible way: don’t over-clutter with unnecessary information (e.g. every social network you have ever joined), but make sure that a potential client knows how to find you.
- Up to date
There’s no point in handing out cards with old information, images or product news. If you have a new product or service, showcase it on your cards. If you use them as sales tools, but no longer stock the product or offer the service, make new cards. Order your cards in short, inexpensive runs to make sure you don’t lose money by having piles of out of date cards.
- Presenting the card
The Japanese have an established, formal etiquette for handing over cards in order to set the right tone. You don’t need to go that far, but do think about how you come across when handing out your card.
- Use them!
There’s no point in making the World’s most beautiful business cards only to keep them in a dark, desk drawer — get them out there. Keep a stock of cards in your briefcase or bag at all times. You never know who will be the person to follow up, so give yourself the best chance possible.
Richard Moross is CEO of MOO.com