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Business Cards – The First Impression

Your Business Card may be your first impressionBusiness Cards

For less than 10¢ a piece, Business Cards can be the least expensive (and possibly the First Impression) form of advertising and marketing you have! So why do people starting out in business try and skimp on this?

I remember the days that thermographed/raised printing business cards were the only way to show your professionalism. Of course, the layout of the card also made a difference. To challenge them, stationery stores were selling business card templates that allowed you to design your own cards, then print them on die cut sheets using inkjet printers. You then tore out the individual cards along the perforations. Really?

So now you’re handing out your business card. On plain white stock. A thin stock. With jagged edges all around due to the perforations used to easily tear apart the cards. And with the advent of color inkjets, wow, now you had people throwing in every color of the rainbow – just because they could! The business card design and printing business went down. But so did business for those trying to express the quality of their company with the amateurish quality of their advertising.

Today, we have the ability to go full color, very inexpensively. But now, there are online printers offering great deals on cheap quality stock and printing. And you can choose from hundreds of templates! Wow, what a bargain? No, not really. We had a client once tell us that the organization he represented wanted to know why he came to us for the non-profit’s business cards instead of the online printer who offered cards for less. When he asked if they liked the personal, creative, professional design of the layout and they said yes, he then asked how do you get that when you can only deal with your order through your keyboard online? Enough said.

You want your clients to treat you as a professional. So wouldn’t you want your cards to represent that?

In our office, we have a Business Card wall. There, we have dozens and dozens of cards we’ve designed over the years. When our clients visit our showroom, they stand in front of this wall, not only admiring the creatives, but also walking away with a few of the business cards because they want to use the services that are offered. That in itself speaks volumes to the importance of a quality designed and printed cards.

Some quick tips:

  • Make sure the cards are printed on a nice stock – we’ve heard clients react to the feel of our cards, even before they look at the printing
    • Gloss makes photos and graphics appear sharper
    • Matte is great if you plan on writing on your cards
  • Hint: You can print gloss on the front to show off your logo and matte on the back so you can write on it
    • Silk finishes feel fantastic and accentuate the sense of touch when handing out a card
  • Is the printer you’re using a professional?
  • Most print houses want your artwork created as a Press Quality, CMYK based PDF
    • If your designer or printer doesn’t know what that is…you might want to look elsewhere
  • Go ahead and bleed your artwork and background colors, this really adds a professional look and feel to the design
  • Anything but white – if you can, don’t go with an all white background
    • Look at your desk, it’s probably filled with mostly white paper – and your card will get lost among all that
  • Brand your logo and colors
    • If you don’t have a professional logo, you should start there first
  • Make sure you have all your information on it
    • Having an address – even a Post Office Box – adds legitimacy to your business
    • Is the phone number correct
  • Don’t put the word “Phone” or “email” in front of the respective listing, it just takes up valuable real estate on the card and makes it crowded – your client should know what a phone or email address looks like
  • Refrain from using a gmail, Verizon, Comcast, Yahoo and especially an AOL or similar email account
    • You’re a professional, you should have a professional email using the domain name of your website: John@YourDomain.com

Look at other business cards from fellow business people or even your competition. See what you like and what your potential clients think.

For less than 10¢ a piece, although inexpensive in cost, don’t show you’re cheap!

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