Naturally, there is a lot that goes into making a success out of a given business. You need to decide what niche you want to fill, as far as your industry goes, and determine what needs you can strive meet as far as your potential customers. Then, of course, there are the practicalities of turning your products, services, and ideas into a booming business model with a healthy bottom line. However, there are other details that can factor into your potential success as well – details that are all too often overlooked altogether, like your choice in business cards.
A fantastic business card that makes the recipient sit up and take notice won’t guarantee that you’ll be successful in all that you do. However, it can definitely help you make the impression you really want to on those with whom you’re looking to create a relationship. Here we’ll explore the importance of having the right business card, discuss the benefits of choosing a more creative option, and take a closer look at some of the most interesting ways people are taking the art of the business card to the next level and beyond.
Why Every Professional Really Needs a Business Card
Many people make the mistake of assuming that business cards are only for stock brokers, or real estate agents, or business executives – the type of people you picture putting on a suit and traveling to a brick and mortar office in order to start their work day. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Every professional – regardless of their field, industry, or professional goals – can benefit from having a business card. Here’s how.
Take a moment to consider the way your impression of a given professional changes when they hand you a business card. If you’re like most, you instantly see the person as more serious about what they’re doing. They suddenly seem more credible, and it becomes easier to consider giving them your business. This is just as much the case for a freelance artist or brick layer, as it is for a lawyer, an attorney, or a doctor.
Being able to hand a potential client your business card after telling them about your services helps legitimize what you do. It also helps to prevent their forgetting about you once they leave your physical presence.
Because business cards are usually quite small, they’re one of the most convenient ways to convey information about you, your products, or your company – especially when it comes to contact information, web addresses where more info can be obtained, and so forth. They fit easily into a purse, pocket, or wallet. They’re simple to tack onto a bulletin board, slip into a folder, or include in a letter.
At the very least, a business card saves you from having to write out your contact information every single time you find yourself talking to someone that might be interested in your professional services.
Of course, everyone has heard the expression that states “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That sentiment applies to any sort of visual, not just literal printed images, art, or photographs. The design of your business card is your chance to say a thousand words about your company or services without ever having to open your lips.
Innovative designs that grab a person’s attention and stand out from the crowd are one of the simplest and easiest ways to make yourself memorable. No, a business card will not sell your products for you or guarantee someone’s business … but they can absolutely make sure that person remembers you.
Is an Outside-the-Box Business Card Design Right for You?
A creative business card design can guarantee you one thing – attention, and plenty of it. However, it can be tough to determine whether or not the design you pick will deliver the type of attention you want.
A creative design that pulls out all the stops could be the right way to go if any of the following apply to you.
You’re Creative for a Living
If you earn your bread and butter by being creative, then an unconventional business card design is a can’t-miss opportunity to show your potential clients what you’re capable of. Good examples include graphic designers, artists, creative writers, web designers, fashion designers, and certain advertising professionals.
You Want to Break the Mold
Still more people work in fields that are highly competitive, and they need a way to stand apart from the rest of the crowd and avoid getting lost in a sea of faces. A creative, innovative business card design can really help you there, as well. After all, there are lots of lawyers, plastic surgeons, or auto body shops out there looking to gain people’s business. Your business card is an excellent opportunity to show people how your company is different and more worthy of serious consideration than the competition’s.
You Want to Make a Splash
If your company is new or still in the development stages, a business card that stands out is a great way to enter the playing field with a splash and get people’s attention right out of the gate. People are always looking for the next big thing or the newest solution to their problems. Take advantage of every possible way to convince people that it’s in their best interest to believe in you.
At the end of the day, there are few businesses in very few industries that can’t benefit from a little innovation. This is especially the case for people who are in business for themselves, looking to establish a reputation and build credibility with a target demographic.
A Look at Some of Today’s Most Innovative Business Card Ideas
It should go without saying that your business card design does need to be appropriate for your industry and your business. For instance, a mortician shouldn’t be handing out business cards printed on Day-Glo paper and covered with cartoony lettering or images. Alternatively, if you’re a graphic designer that specializes in creative album cover design for indie heavy metal bands, a stark, no-nonsense black-and-white design isn’t exactly going to convince your customers that you know where they’re coming from.
Your business card should also help tell the recipient a little bit about your personal style as a professional. It should give them a hint of what it would be like to work with you, so it’s important to be authentic. The right business card design won’t just paint you and your business in a good light, either. It will also be something that you’ll feel proud to hand to people and happy to have out there representing what you do.
Strategically Tearable Business Cards
One of the cleverest, most creative ways to help your business card stand out in an industry where you still want to come across as sensible is to make it tearable in a very strategic way. For instance, a divorce lawyer looking to stand out might want to consider a business card that is black-and-white and which features traditional fonts/imagery, but is perforated in such a way that it can be torn down the middle (with contact info on both sides, of course).
Alternatively, a fitness trainer or weight loss specialist might consider a card that features an image of an overweight man in profile. The perforation could be placed in such a way that the man’s belly falls away when/if the card is torn.
Pull-Out Business Cards
Still other designs place the business card complete with contact information inside a sleeve to help add visual appeal without looking unprofessional or feeling busy. The sleeve could feature colors, designs, or cut-outs related to your industry. Have the card inside designed in such a way that it coordinates with the sleeve in a creative way.
Are you part of an industry where it could really help your business if your potential customer could easily remember your face the next time they see you? Consider making a photograph of your face part of your business card design. Alternatively, there may be iconic imagery associated with your work that would make a great addition to your card as an accent. Picture cards are all about saying more by saying less.
Imagery, typeface, and color aren’t the only ways to help a business card stand out. Sometimes it’s smarter to distinguish your card by changing the way it feels to the touch. For instance, you may wish to consider a card made of a material other than paper – like wood or metal. Alternatively, you can consider an unconventional shape or embossing style that helps add tactile uniqueness.
Some business owners and professionals find cards that do double duty as another type of object to be beneficial. Looking to bring a little more business through the front door? Consider a business card that doubles as a coupon or discount card. Do you run a hotel or an educational establishment? Perhaps a map of your facility would be a good idea for the flip side of your card. Do your clients need to make appointments in order to utilize your services – as with massage therapy, law, medical care, or dentistry? Have your card double as an appointment reminder.
Transparent Business Cards
More and more professionals are opting for transparent business cards. Transparent cards are sleek and versatile, and allow for a lot of creativity, as far as design. They can also be made to “feel” futuristic, edgy, contemporary, or artsy. That’s exactly why they’re so popular among modern artists, tech professionals, computer salesmen, or computer repair companies. Could transparent be the edgy solution you’re looking for?
Business Cards That Aren’t Cards at All
You can even veer away from the business card model altogether if you prefer. Having pens, Lego figures, toys, miniatures, stress balls, seed packets, or candy boxes printed with your business’s contact information could be effective, depending on your industry. Think of objects that would be considered useful, charming, or otherwise save-worthy to the people you hand them out to. And be creative! It often costs more to have items like these made, but, for the right professional, they may more than pay for themselves with the amount of business they bring in.
Generally speaking, the sky’s truly the limit when it comes to what a business card can look like, feel like, or be. Stretch the limits of your imagination!
Enlisting the Right Services
Of course, deciding which of the many business card designs out there is right for you is one thing. Actually deciding which services you’ll use to make your vision into a reality is quite another. Here’s what to consider.
If you’re lucky enough to have the skill and creativity necessary to put your own business card design together, then that’s excellent. If you don’t, then you may want to consider hiring someone or utilizing a service that can help you come up with something innovative that really serves your purpose.
Consider hiring a freelance designer with an excellent portfolio that can help you figure out how to make your vision a reality. Alternatively, you can use an all-in-one print or stationery service that can help with suggestions.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the print service you use, either. It isn’t just design that makes the impression for you when you hand someone a custom-designed business card. It’s also the quality of the card material and the print job itself.
Stick to services that are known for offering high quality services for prices that remain reasonable and affordable, even for those on a budget. The service provider should also be willing to stand behind the work they do for you, as well as be willing to go the extra mile to make sure you are happy with the product you receive.
Getting your hands on business cards that nail the right mixture of professionalism, creativity, and personality is without a doubt one of the most useful ways you can improve your business’s reach. Explore the possibilities today!