Methods of designing effective business cards for business professionals


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Effective Business Cards

Small but Mighty! Business Cards Pack a Wallop!

by Lillian D. Bjorseth
The author is a Lisle, Illinois, based people-skills speaker, trainer and author of Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last, 52 Ways to Break the Ice & Target Your Market and the Nothing Happens Until We Communicate CD and workbook series.

They measure about 2in x 3 1/2in.
They weigh less than 1/4 of an ounce.
They cost about a nickel or a dime.
And, they pack a powerful punch!

They are business cards, and they are your most effective, least expensive form of advertising. You can carry them with you day and night, on the ground and in the air, and they are always in a presentable format.

Because business cards frequently create your first impression and because they also have permanence, you need to design them with as much detail as you give to your personal image. After all, they represent your corporate image.

The initial image people consciously and unconsciously conjure up about your business card and other printed materials are based primarily on design, colors and stock type and weight.

Use the following guidelines in designing your business card:

1. Make it attractive and pleasing to the eye. While computers and software packages can make desktop publishers out of almost anybody, there’s real merit in hiring an experienced graphic designer to give your card a professional look. It can become your winning edge!

2. Include the necessary information. Today, that translates into a lot of verbiage. It means your name, company name, title, phone, fax and pager numbers, e-mail and web addresses. This alone often calls for professional talent since so much information has to be arranged in an easily read and understandable manner. Most people will automatically call the first number you have listed; therefore, make sure it is your phone number.

3. Use a heavy card stock. Unless you are using parchment paper, stay away from lightweight stock, especially the kind that will easily run through your printer. My research has shown that people say lightweight cards leave an impression of a business that is temporary and cheap ... certainly not building blocks for a new undertaking!

4. Use additional information if your company name is not descriptive of your business. Since Duoforce Enterprises, Inc., for example, does not describe my training and speaking business, I added the phrase, "the impetus for personal and professional growth" to my card.

5. Use the back of the card, if appropriate. A doctor, dentist or therapist may want to use it for appointment listings. A motivational speaker can print an inspirational message. A health club can use it as an invitation for a free visit. Anyone can use it as a calendar or as a discount on products or services. Don’t, however, put information there that is vital to your business like your web site address or e-mail, which I have seen done ... ineffectively.

6. Use the front as an enhanced marketing tool. A photographer friend of mine turns his original creations into four-colour business cards. A gift-basket owner does the same with baskets she has created. Professional speakers and Realtors often include their photos to increase recognition.

7. Stick to the standard size. Cylinder desk-top business card holders are pass. Avoid fancy cut-outs. Make sure yours fit the vinyl cardholders most people use. Spend the extra money on design.

Now, share your business card with someone and ask them these questions:

  • Does it make a positive first impression?
  • Does it tell them the nature of your business?
  • Does it clearly tell them how to reach you?
  • Does it pack a wallop?

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