Business Cards – What Does Your Card Say About You?
Still the name of the game
In a meeting with a new client or potential business partner, what is the one thing you are most likely to exchange? Business cards are still the name of the game. With all the digital communication mediums available today, your business card might not be your most important networking tool. However, your business card is still out there on the front lines, making impressions on others, and providing them with a means to contact you.
It is known that making a good first impression can be absolutely vital in commerce, and having a nice business card can help put you in a good light. Your business card is a vital part of your networking toolkit, as it provides an early snapshot of you as an individual. But what do others think when they see your business card? Is your card plain or cluttered? It is boring or stimulating? Whatever the design, it is sure to spark some sort of thought from whoever is viewing your card, and you want to assure that the thought is positive.
What does a business card contain?
Name, contact information, position, and employer are basics that almost all business cards emphasize. A company logo and address are also common, along with the user’s/company’s website. Most people use an average card, but, by creating an above average business card, you can help further your professional image and make a better impression on your contacts. During meetings, trade shows, or conventions you may distribute dozens of business cards, and those cards will be one of the only things your contact has to remember you by.
By utilizing your business card to its fullest extent you can:
- shape your identity
- make a good impression
- make yourself easy to contact
Even though creating an impressive business card will increase printing costs, it’s an investment that is worth every penny. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
Business Card Basics – 5 Tips for a Better Card:
1. Don’t overdo it
Although you want your business card to impress and make a good impression, don’t get too complicated. A sleek and simple card design may suffice.
2. Print in color
Unless your business specifically benefits from using only black and white, a full-color business card is much better at catching attention and wowing a contact. Using a glossy finish can help make your card stand out even more, especially if it utilizes a high amount of color. However, certain colors often trigger certain emotions, so be careful when designing your card. For example, reds can convey the ideas of power and strength, while green usually reinforces relaxation or serenity.
3. Include your photo
During the course of business we interact with multiple people from multiple places, and remembering everyone’s name can be a hefty task. By including a professional photo on your business card, you can help solidify your identity with those you meet. Being able to put a name and a face together is a big aspect in creating memory and recall of you as an individual, and having both aspects on your business card helps others make that association.
4. Don’t use a flimsy business card
The type of material your card is printed on and the thickness of your card are important details. When you distribute business cards, you mean business! By using a business card that is too thin or flimsy, others might get the wrong impression of you. Simply using a heavy card stock or increasing the thickness of your card can make a positive difference in how others view you — Do you want your business card to tell others you are firm and solid, or do you want your card to tell others that you fold easily?
5. Utilize the back of your card
The backside of your business card is usually left blank, but the space can be utilized for your benefit. Adding relevant information such as a list of important phone numbers, dates, or locations can make your business card more valuable. A map, calendar, business motto, personal statement, or inspirational quote might also be appropriate. By adding some sort of content (or value) to your business card, you might just save it from the trash can.
On the other hand, leaving the back of your business card blank can be a good idea too. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to use this space to personally connect to your client. For example, if the back of your card is blank, you can write your cell number on it for a client after meeting them, making them feel special because they are getting “privileged” contact information that is not readily available on the front of your card. You could also do the same with a personal email address or other information.
Put it all together
Each of these are small contributions towards creating that “wow” effect that elicits a favorable response from your contact. By controlling these aspects of your business card, you can effectively control the impressions your card will make. If you want to up the ante, you can add a QR code to your business card.
A new element – QR Codes
QR codes have exploded onto the scene the last few years and are becoming increasingly relevant to business professionals. And although QR codes might still be considered a gadget for the younger crowd, people of all ages are beginning to see and accept their usability and functionality.
Originally designed for the automotive industry, QR codes, also known as quick response codes, are small matrix barcodes that appear as a pattern of black and white squares shaped into a larger square (as seen above). To use a QR code, just take a photo of the code with a smartphone QR code application, and the code will automatically route you to a website or landing page. Utilizing a QR code on your business card presents a new opportunity to make yourself visible, and the motion is gaining popularity. LinkedIn profiles and company websites are two common destinations for professionals using QR codes on their business cards.
However, a communication tool called an ANT, or Audible Name Tag, is utilizing QR codes in a new way. An ANT is a virtual business card that contains your contact information, social media links, a photo, and it also pronounces your name, in your own voice. By embedding your ANT into a QR code on your business card, someone can scan your code and immediately have access to your complete contact information. Instead of being limited to the basic contact information on the front of your card, others can quickly connect with you via your social media links such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition, by allowing others to hear your voice that is recorded on your ANT, you make yourself more available and may even seem more approachable. If your name is hard to pronounce like mine is, you could save your contact the embarrassment of mispronouncing your name.
Ultimately, if you remain vigilant about the design and printing of your business card, you can help shape your image in the minds of others and continue to make good impressions. As technology improves and new innovations arise, even business cards are not immune to a facelift in functionality. In times of uncertainty, we need to embrace change and adapt as needed; your business card is no exception.
Jon Visaisouk is the U.S. Western Regional Manager of ANTVibes Inc., creator of the Audible Name Tag. After 8 years of working as Safeway.com Manager of the Seattle Eastside and attaining an Associate’s in Business, he is now in the process of completing his BBA.
While enduring a lifetime of name mispronunciation, Jon came across the Audible Name Tag, or ANT, and is now bringing awareness and dignity to names of all kinds. You can sign up for your free ANT today or learn more about Audible Name Tags on the ANTVibes website, www.antvibes.com. You can also contact Jon directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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