Quick question for you: How many business cards from other people do you have on your desk at this very moment? If you’re like most people, it’s probably not very many.
In the past, business cards were meticulously collected and cultivated. A standard feature on office desks was a Rolodex or a holder to house business cards from vendors, colleagues, and other contacts. (If you’re not sure what a Rolodex is, you’re not alone — if interested, read up on the history of the Rolodex).
But now, contact information is stored electronically on phones and computers. So a business card tends to be a temporary solution and will get tossed after someone decides whether to add you to the contacts on their phone. And often, business cards aren’t even exchanged. Instead, contact information is pulled from emails or airdropped at networking events.
Since people don’t usually keep them, you may be wondering, are business cards still relevant? Should you bother spending any time or money making them look cool? In a word: Absolutely.
Creative business cards remain an incredible way to differentiate your brand and forge connections. Read on to learn about the big benefits of business cards and making a memorable first impression.
How Do Business Cards Make a Difference?
The best business cards accomplish the following:
- They’re actionable. A business card is a call to action (CTA). By providing your contact information on a business card, you offer an opportunity to learn more about your company.
- They’re memorable. If you’re networking or exhibiting at a conference or a show, it can be challenging to make a lasting impression. People are more likely to remember you if you have a distinctive card.
- They’re conversation starters. If you hand out an unusual card, it will catch a person’s attention. They may even ask you about your card, giving you a chance to make a stronger first impression.
- They’re shared. If a business card is cool enough, people hang on to it. They may even share it with someone else, allowing more eyes on your brand.
What Should You Include on a Business Card?
The first step in creating an effective business card is ensuring it has your essential information and positions you in the best possible light. If your unique value isn’t immediately apparent, your card might immediately end up in the garbage — even before someone pulls off your contact information.
Business Card Basics
- Your name
- Job title
- Company name
- A link to your website
- Social feeds, if related to your job
Back of Business Card Ideas
- Split focus. In this situation, you split the vital information between the front and the back of the card. For example, you may put your personal details on the card’s front and the company information on the back.
- Iconography or design. Flood color on the back of the card with a simple iconography or eye-catching design can often be enough to keep your card from getting ignored.
- Space for reminders or notes. An obvious application is using the back of the business card to list upcoming reminders. But there are options too. For example, if you primarily use your card for networking, you could have lines on the back under the heading, “What we talked about.”
- Skills spotlight. You can list your skills or awards or provide a sample of your work. Photographs, illustrations and engineering drawings look great on the back of business cards.
- Your photograph. If you’re using your cards at networking events, including a photo can help people connect the card to a face.
- QR code. Using business cards can be a fantastic part of a QR code marketing strategy. And since you can easily change the destination at any time, you can always provide contacts with the most timely and relevant information about you or your brand.
- Promotional offer. Everybody likes a deal. If you include a good one on the back of your card, a prospect may be more likely to hang onto your card until they’ve looked into your business a bit more.
- Personal branding. Consider adding something that captures your essence, such as your favorite quote or personal mantra. This splash of personality can also be related to your job. For example, if you’re a restaurant critic, you might list your three favorite foods.
Sometimes, you can pique interest by what’s not on the business card. On this stark black and white business card, the back of the business card includes a QR code as the only possible way to take action.
Cool Business Card Ideas
Close your eyes and imagine a business card. Chances are something very specific comes to mind — a flat white rectangle 3.5″ wide x 2″ tall. In the past, there was a reason for this sameness. You needed a standard size to fit into wallets or desktop business cardholders. But, as mentioned earlier, many people don’t save business cards. Altering your card’s size, shape, and materials can help you distinguish your brand. It may even be a reason people hang on your card for a while! Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Try a Different Perspective
- Change the ratio. Try a square or vertical card instead of one that’s horizontal. If you want to be incredibly daring, try for a circle.
- Bonus content. If you have a 4″ tall card folded in half, so it’s 2″ tall, you have extra space in the center to expand upon your value proposition. Plus, it literally stands apart from other cards since it sits like a tent on a flat surface.
- Go big. Imagine if your card was 25% larger than other people’s cards? Wouldn’t that attract some attention?
An unexpected die-cut and quote on an eye-catching business card is a way to share your personal or company brand.
Shape Up with Die-Cuts
- Break on through to the other side. Using die-cuts can be a fabulous way to encourage people to engage with your card. For example, you could have a card with circular cutouts for fingers. You could print a torso on the card so that when a person put their fingers through the holes, they look like legs, ready to dance and jump.
- Live on the edge. You can also use the outer edge of your card to add some flair. Rounding some or all of the corners is a nice choice. Or, you could add square cutouts along the bottom. The options are endless.
Freshen Up the Finish
- Put a spotlight on your brand. You don’t have to choose between a shiny and a flat finish. Spot gloss business cards have both! There are a lot of ways to use a spot gloss coating. For example, on your logo or the back of your card.
- Raise the standards. Raised ink business cards are another way to set your card apart. With this printing technique, called thermography, the ink looks like it sits on top of the card, giving it a three-dimensional effect.
- Keep it shiny. Foil-stamped business cards are the epitome of classy. Metallic inks are another great option to give your card a premium appearance.
- Add a little mystery. People like opening presents. So, it’s no wonder that including your card in a paper enclosure is a fun way to make the exchange of contact information a little more mysterious and fun.
Switch Up the Surface
Embossing or debossing is an easy way to give your card some depth. But, if you want your cards to make an even bigger impact, consider what you’re printing your cards on — it doesn’t have to be paper. Other possible options for printed or engraved business cards include:
- Plastic in a rainbow of colors, black and clear
- Abrasive materials like sandpaper or nail files
- Rubbery or flexible materials like yoga mats
- Natural materials like wood and cork
- Different types of metals (laser engraved aluminum business cards are so stylish)
Double Duty “Business Cards”
Branded promotional items can also serve as business cards. In fact, some promotional items are even business card-shaped. Some options include mini metal rulers, flash drives and bottle opener business cards.
Since promo items provide added value, the recipient may hang onto them longer. But keep in mind that people can be picky about what they’ll keep on their desk, fridge, or counter, so promo items shouldn’t just be functional but also attractive.
Strike Up More Business with Creative Business Cards
Business cards remain relevant as a way to share contact information and increase visibility for your brand. There are thousands of ways to create stellar business cards that make a lasting impression — and we’re ready to support them all.