10 golden rules for designing your business cards

Watch the 1 minute video for 5 quick tips

Handing off a business card can be the first marketing activity towards a potential partner or customer. It’s also one of the best ways to let people know you run your own business. Choose your design carefully and your business card will make you look professional, build trust and set your company apart from others in your field.

If you’re at a conference or business event, handing out your business card can be an ice-breaker and can help make networking a bit easier.

When talking to a potential customer, giving them your business card says you care and that you are there to answer any of their questions.

What’s the worst mistake you can make with a business card? Not having one.

Here are 10 guidelines to keep in mind when designing your own business card:

1. Make sure the contact details on your business card are correct.

We cannot stress enough the importance of clear contact details, correct spelling and choosing a legible font in a readable size. Apart from your name and job title, make sure to mention your business, telephone number, website, email and even social media handles. Make it easy for your customers to contact you in the way they feel most comfortable with.

2. First impressions count.

Your business card says a lot about you and your company. The choice of design colour or paper stock can let your customers know whether your company is the most affordable solution around – or that maybe you offer upscale services. You can also reveal whether you’re a fresh and fun new company or a well-respected business that’s been around for decades.

3. Choose a design that fits you.

Choose colours and design elements that are easily associated with your business to make your card easy to recognise. We’ve seen fashion and hairstyle businesses even leaving space for their customers to doodle their own designs. Make it memorable.

4. Use the same design as your website and other promotional materials.

This way, it will be easier for your customers to remember and recognise you. If you don’t have a website or other marketing materials, but your business has an established logo or is well known for something in particular (be it your banner, the building, the uniforms of your staff etc.), try to integrate that into your business card design.

5. Give your business card the wow factor.

Use special finishes, such as embossing, raised print, metallic finishes or choose a catchy card shape. Your customers will notice the difference.

6. Give your business card additional uses.

Use the reverse side on your card for appointment reminders, loyalty stamps or even a handy calendar. Think creatively, don’t just use a basic calendar template, try to mark important dates for your customers, depending on what your business is offering them.

For a landscaping company, for example, it might be useful to mark the best moments of the year to trim or fertilise plants on your calendar – while a beautician might mark the days on which their business is offering a cheaper rate or free samples. If you run a food-related business, write short recipes on the back of your card; or use your card as a tag if you sell art or handmade objects.

7. Make your business card sticky.

Forget marmalade fingers, by ‘sticky’ we mean how long your card will be in a place where your customer can see it. We’ve seen magnetic cards work very well for businesses offering recurring services like plumbing, house painting, gardening, pet sitting, hairdressing, car services, etc. People put them on the fridge to refer back to at a later date.

8. Hand out more than one business card at a time.

When you’re giving your card to a satisfied customer, consider handing them a few more cards to give to family and friends. If there’s a discount for new customers who are referred by your current customers, mention it on the card.

9. Use your business card to promote partner businesses.

Maybe one of the best things a small business can do is partner with similar-sized, complementary businesses. If you run a B&B, for example, partner with a local restaurant and use the reverse side of your card to recommend their place. If you have a hair salon and there’s a great nail place around the corner, talk to the owner and use the reverse side of your card to offer a discount for the other business. Think outside the box!

10. Keep your business cards up to date and well stored.

Giving out a wrinkled, stained or outdated business card (or worse, a business card with the old name crossed out) will make the same impression on your customer: that your business is disorganised and outdated.

We asked business owners at The Business Show in London to show us their card and share what they think are design essentials.

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