A Comprehensive Guide to Using Business Cards for Brand Promotion
Measuring 3.5” x 2”, business cards have long been used as a tool to promote one’s business. Size-wise, they are pretty standard except for some business card printing companies that offer smaller variations. In terms of material used, you can take your pick from paper or plastic custom business cards. The information indicated on the surface of the card is also very common – it should include your business name, your position or the nature of your business, and the complete contact information. If you’re a business owner or if you’re a professional who wants to print business cards, how can you make yours stand out if these promotional tools look pretty much the same? Read on to find out.
Business Card Printing: The Basics
Before scrambling to order business cards, it’s good to understand why printing them is necessary in the first place. Here’s a quick list:
- High-quality business cards project the same image for your brand.
Perhaps the number one reason why you should invest in the best business cards is that they are a reflection of the quality of products or services that you are offering. Imagine giving out flimsy, haphazardly put-together business cards to clients. People are mostly visual so if your cards leave a bad impression, they would think that your products or services are of poor quality as well. The more impressive your custom business cards are, the better.
- When you print business cards, it supports your online presence.
Whether you have a physical office or an online store, having a strong online presence is a must if you want your business to survive these days. If you’re offering a product, for example, the first thing that a new customer would ask is – what’s your website? If prospective clients are checking for the legitimacy of your business, they would look for your business name online. If you don’t have a website, an official Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, you might as well be invisible.
So how does ordering business cards online supplement your actual online presence? The tangible presence of a business card is an advantage by itself. When you hand over custom business cards to a group of millennials, for instance, they would marvel over it and perhaps scan the information. But once they have already looked you up – followed your social media accounts and bookmarked your website – then the business card could be forgotten about or even discarded. That’s totally okay, since you have already turned them into a follower of all your social media accounts. In such cases, a traditional business card has become a supplement to your digital marketing campaign. This is especially effective if you would indicate your website, email address, Instagram handle, Twitter account, or perhaps even a QR code directly linked to your site on the business card itself.
- Old school clients prefer that you have a business card handy at all times.
If your product is marketed towards an audience of different ages, custom business cards would definitely appeal to old school clients. Businesses offering legal assistance, for example, would most likely have clients who have no social media accounts at all. For this, it’s better to stick with business card printing as a way to promote your services.
- The ceremony of handing over business cards leave a lasting impression.
There is an almost ceremonial, traditional touch to handing over a crisp business card to someone. It may be a bit formal, but it does leave a lasting impression and makes your business name leave a mark in the minds of your clients, partners, and prospective customers.
- Business card printing also supplements your print promotional campaign.
Although businesses rely on mostly digital files, there seems to be no getting away with paper. The same thing holds true for using printed materials for your promotional campaign. Aside from business card printing, you should also consider having brochures, letterheads, notepads, flyers, and posters printed out.
How to Effectively Print Business Cards
Now that you already have an idea about how important it is to print business cards, how can you have a batch made for your business? Fortunately, there are many business cards online companies specializing in printing out these promotional materials. Here are a few steps to follow when you print business cards:
- Decide what to put in your business card.
The best business cards are designed in such a way that the text and images do not look crowded against the small space. To maximize the surface area, decide what to put in your business card first. It’s a given that you should include the contact information, but would the logo fit in? What about your email address, website, Instagram handle, or Twitter account names? If you’re an online business, how about printing a scannable QR code at the back? If you’re a real estate agent, should you include your photo or images of the houses you recently sold? If yes, make sure to include non-stock photos which are professionally shot. Again, you have very limited space so make sure that whatever element you decide to include when you order business cards, it’s something that your customers will find useful.
- Make sure that your contact information is correct and up-to-date.
The contact information is the core of your business card’s design – so make sure that it is accurate and updated. If you think that you will change your mobile number of office address soon, do not order too many business cards online.
- Look for a company to order business cards from.
Next, look for a company that can make the best business cards for you. There are business cards online that have a purely online ordering process – which means that you don’t have to visit their office. All transactions are done online and you just need to wait for the custom business cards to be delivered straight to your home. Other printing companies may require that you visit their office so that you will be present during the designing process. The advantage of the latter option is that you can look at and feel what the actual business cards are like. Still, it’s entirely up to you to decide which one to go for.
Here are a few more questions to ask when looking for a company to order business cards from:
- How much does the service cost?
- What is the minimum number of business cards that you print out?
- Aside from business cards, what other printed materials do you produce?
- What is the turnaround time?
- What kind of printing services do you offer?
There are two kinds of printing services available today: digital and offset printing. Digital printing services typically use desktop printers when creating business cards, postcards, flyers, notepads, and similar products. Offset printers, on the other hand, use state-of-the-art printing presses. These are huge machines which can complete complex printing jobs, even with sheer volumes. It may be a bit pricier than digital printing but if you want to have the best business cards produced, offset printing is the better option.
- Decide on the material, paper type, and finish.
Basic, premium, silk, or plastic? When it comes to printing business cards online, these are just some of the things that you need to decide on. It’s good to match the material and finish of the business card with the design – so that you can have a truly impressive card.
Types of Business Cards to Choose From
How about a quick list of the different types of business cards available? Take a look:
- Traditional business cards
If you’re looking for something reliable, classic, or traditional, go with textured linen business cards. These have 10% the thickness of credit cards, but they’re still sturdy because of the dry, textured surface.
If you want something that literally shines and glitters, go for either a pearl metallic finish or a foil-stamped card. Pearl metallic business cards usually have a white to creamy shade that shimmers against the light. The paper is smooth and thick, while the finish is dry and uncoated.
Foil stamped cards are also shimmery, but you can take your pick from different varieties. Gold foil stamped business cards, for example, would work well against an almost all-black design. Copper and colored foils can also be used – and letters can be highlighted in such a way that the design pops out and glitters from afar.
If you want something organic and natural, go for brown kraft business cars. These are usually made from recycled paper so the natural fibers are visible. This kind of material works perfectly with straightforward, mostly black-and-white card designs.
If you’re going for something cool, what if you order business cards which are made from plastic? These have the same thickness as a credit card and come in crystal clear, frosted clear, or solid white varieties. If your business is in the creative field, your colorful logo set against a crystal clear plastic background would make your business cards look very cool.
Those who have a more conservative or fashion-forward clientele can go with specialty business cards like ones made with a soft velvet laminate. After the printing process, these suede business cards would have an almost fabric-like look and feel to them. These thick business cards will definitely leave a lasting impression to clients.
For something very substantial, go with three-layer business cards which have the same thickness as a standard business card so it feels really solid on the hand. These can further be specialized by going for painted edges or rounded corners. Rounded corner business cards is one way to make your brand stand out from the sea of rectangular 3.5” x 2” business cards.
There are also spot gloss business cards which allow you to highlight the letters on the logo of your business, or an outlined shape in a specific area of the card. This is one way to make the design of your business card pop out.
Final Tips to Remember when You Order Business Cards
When ordering business cards, make sure that the company has a good reputation and specializes in printing not just business cards but other promotional materials as well. Check on client testimonials or customer reviews so that you can determine if they delivered good quality products to other clients. If possible, look at an actual card made by the company so that you can feel the material and scrutinize the print quality.
More importantly, know how to effectively distribute business cards. You may have the most expensive, high-quality business cards printed out but if they will simply gather dust on your desk, they will still be useless. Remember that these are printed “promotional” materials, so they need to be distributed to as many people as possible, they need to be out there.
When going out, always keep a business card handy because you’ll never know when you can meet a prospective client, business partner, or customer. Bring a stack of business cards with you when attending trade shows and similar business-related events. Post business cards on bulletin boards or leave a stack of them in your storefront, if you have one.
Business cards are best used as part of a complete print promotional campaign. This means that the design of the card should have the same look and feel as your flyers, banners, posters, postcards, letterheads, brochures, etc. Consistency is also key in making customers remember your business name. If you are sending out postcards to clients who are in the same neighborhood as your place of business, for example, don’t stop at sending them just one postcard. Use the postcard as a way to remind them of upcoming promos, greet them during the holidays, or give them codes that they can use as discounts for your products or services.
Combined with all your other printed promotional materials, having the best business cards made by a reputable printing company is a sure fire way to promote your brand and make your business reach its full growth potential.