Make your business card work hard for your business

Written by Steve Bridger

Make your business card work hard for your business

If you’re given a rectangular waste of space masquerading as a business card whip out a pair of scissors, neatly shred it into a hundred pieces and throw them up in the air like a thousand missed opportunities.  Finish by staring into the startled eyes of the giver who is still reeling from this grievous, vicious attack on company property.

Explain that his company is guilty of committing one or more of the following crimes against effective communication:

•    Using tiny script that is totally impossible to read
•    Allowing graphic designers to produce a pretty but totally dysfunctional piece of work that’s not fit for purpose – business cards have a job to do for goodness sake!
•    Forgetting to say what your company does
•    Forgetting to say exactly what you do
•    Forgetting to give your name sufficient prominence
•    Using a weird non-standard size and shape that will not fit into anyone’s standard wallet, purse or business card case
•    Overlooking essential contact details that could span landlines, mobile phones, email or website URLs
•    Covering your card in a kind of plastic coating that will not allow anyone to write on the card (more on this below) and will bio-degrade sometime late into the next millennium, being bomb-proof.
•    Not using the back of the card at all – this is a hanging offence.

Back to Front – Total Business Card Communication

Alright, hanging may be a bit harsh.  But, why do only half the job and lose 50% of the impact!  If you’re an active networker, this next idea has two benefits.
Use the flipside of your business card as a networking badge to fit inside a plastic wallet complete with a dinky lapel clip.  The top line of text should shout out what you are for example: Business Coach – Graphic Designer – Lawyer – Electrician – you get the idea. The centre spread is just for you and your name is 20 point type or even bigger.  The lower baseline could be dedicated to your company logo and cell/mobile number big enough to read and for people staring at your chest to scribble down and keep.
If you don’t network, then use the flipside to give more details about your services and benefits.
Both: Whether you network or not, a nice touch is to include a rectangular box or even a simple dotted line for you to write where and when you were given the card.  This will be of enormous help when you get back to the office and want to add these contact details to your email database.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘This guy has not mentioned giving a postal address or snappy slogan’ Do it if you want to.  My feeling is that if you’ve given all the essential digital contact avenues people can get your address from the web. Snappy slogans often make you feel good but make people wince.  Your call.

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