Friday, February 13, 2009

On Your 'Must Bring' List: Business Cards

By Laura Christianson
Author, Professional Blogger

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met at conferences who moan, “Ohhh, I forgot to get business cards made!”

They smack themselves upside the head for not having the foresight to bring along those tiny–yet essential—pieces of cardstock to exchange with everyone they meet.

If you’re just starting out and can’t afford fancy-dancy, custom-designed business cards, create your own. Microsoft provides free, downloadable templates for the design-challenged.

Buy business card stock at your local office supply store, and print those puppies on your own inkjet or laser printer.

Or head to VistaPrint and customize a card using one of their many templates. They’ll even print ‘em and mail ‘em to you.

What info should you include on your business card?

Some people prescribe to the “less is better” method; others like the “more is better” method. Just remember, whatever information you print on your card, it has to look cool and be easy to read (please, no 6-point type!)

Laura Christianson LogoItems you can include:
  • Graphic logo that brands you/your business (I recommend spending a little extra to include a colorful, eye-catching logo; I hired a graphic designer to create my logo)

  • Business name

  • Business tagline

  • Your name

  • Your title (or a descriptor of what you do)

  • Your photo

  • Website(s)

  • Business address

  • Phone number(s)

  • Fax

  • e-mail address
And on the back...

You don’t have to squish everything on one side of your card – it usually doesn’t cost much extra to get cards printed on both sides. The back of your card can include any of the above info, or:
  • Images of your product(s)

  • Bulleted list of your primary services

  • Yearly calendar

  • Photo of you (make sure it’s professional-quality)

  • Inspiring thoughts
Card Sizes and Shapes
  • Print your business cards the standard size. From time to time, people give me oversized cards, and I can’t fit them in my business card pages without folding them. This is irritating, and I usually end up throwing them away.

  • Print the copy horizontally, instead of vertically. It’s okay to put a vertical image on the back of your card, but the writing on the front should go horizontally across the long side of the card. Again, for folks who organize their cards in business card pages, or in a Rolodex, it’s much easier to access and read the information when it’s in standard format.

Laura’s Super Secret Strategy for organizing business cards

When I attend conferences, I bring along several sheets of Avery Business Card Pages. Each clear sheet (made to fit in a 3-ring binder) holds 20 standard-sized business cards.

Whenever someone hands me their card, I write notes to myself on the back of the card to remind me of who the person is and where/when we met, and I slip the card immediately into the card page. When I get home, I slip the full card sheets into a binder and label each sheet with the name of the conference.

Whenever I need to contact someone I met, their information is at my fingertips.

This article is reprinted from and is #6 in a series of 10 marketing lessons.

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  1. What a brilliant idea! I have cards from several conferences (six I believe). Each conference's cards are bound by a rubber band. My system is very inefficient--I'll be switching to yours! Thanks

  2. Thanks for your "heads up" and for your suggestions on what to include on the cards. How many cards should I plan to bring? I am making them myself with my printer - there isn't time for anything else now. My lazer printer seems to be resistant to card stock paper so this is a pain! It wants to streak and speckle the cards.

  3. I would bring 20-50 business cards. Better to have too many than to run out.


  4. Thanks! Knowing that is a big help.


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