By E. Brown
Business cards — those tiny 2×3.5″ brands in the palm of your hand. You gotta love them. Yet, with all the business cards you have in your collection (I cannot say Rolodex because I do not know of many who use them any more), what gives them staying power? What makes them memorable? Why do we still use them?
Why Business Cards Prevail
You find yourself at a conference, restaurant outing, social event, networking event, recreational outing, or simply traveling and someone asks your name and what you do. You’re gracious and tell them about yourself and a bit about your company. If you’re aggressive you start to mine for potential business opportunities. Regardless, once the conversation or event is over, how will you be remembered?
“Um, wait a second, let me write your email on a slip of paper…or my hand…or this napkin and I’ll send you my contact information.” Then you say, “Uh, by the way, do you have a pen or pencil?”
More than likely you will have your wallet or purse available and so you present the new acquaintance with your business card.
Business cards are cheap and easy ways to tell people about yourself, what you do, and what you have to offer.
Now, That is Memorable
OK, you’ve been to an event and you have a dozen cards in your pocket. You get back to your room, home, or office and start to scrutinize them more deliberately. What are you looking for? Typically, you’re looking for one of three things:
1) The contact information
You have met the person, heard about what they do and about their company. You might already be familiar with the company and its reputation and this person is someone with whom you want to do business or get to know better.
2) The services provided
You have just met the person for the first time. After hearing about what they do you realize you have need of their services. Some of their companies additional services are spelled out on the card as well — a bonus in your book!
3) The quality of professional presentation
You have just met the person or heard about the business for the first time. You do not know much, other than what you have just heard (and maybe what you recall hearing from a peer or reading in a trade publication). Nevertheless, the card has caught your attention because of the creative design or clever way in which it was handed to you.
This last point is what catches your attention and is often what keeps you hanging onto the business card long after you have pitched others. This may prompt you to re-evaluate your own company cards.
“Now,” you may be wondering, “where can I get some ideas for my new cards?” Help is here! See the Flickr library below for a showcase of many inspirational card ideas and designs.
Flickr Business Card Showcase
Next you may be asking, “What should I put on my business card?” Jacci Howard Bear offers thoughts on this in her article, 11 Parts Of A Business Card, from the site, About.com. Many of the ideas she offers are valid.
Maria Nerius also offers timely suggestions for crafting a Creative Calling Card:
In the Victorian times, a calling card was given to a house servant to announce the arrival and name of a guest. In modern times, we are often handed a business card as a form of introduction. The basic idea is the same. We want to give someone contact information so they can reach us in the future. We need a creative calling card!
Finally, Chuck Green offers innovative ideas and a handy tool for rethinking your business card. His Business Card Checklist will help you think through: people, place, communication, detail, and orientation of your new card.
Enjoy these tips and ideas, and after you have created your inspirational card, send me a copy.