You’re going to a conference so you need to get ready:
- Hotel room booked – check!
- New shoes – check!
- Lunch appointment made with top client – check!
- Business Cards – Oh no!
Business cards are ESSENTIAL to for a business, especially if you’re attending conferences, trade shows, and other networking events. There can be a lot of pressure to make your card stand out from the crowd and be memorable. The creativity of your business card needs to be balanced against its functionality – does it have all the necessary contact information your new contacts need to follow up with you? The point of a business card is to lead to business and follow-up later.
Having worked as both a creative person looking to work with brands and as a brand representative looking for creative businesses to partner with, I have seen all kinds of business cards in literally all shapes and sizes. Here is a collection of my best tips for your to consider when ordering and handing out your cards, whether it’s at a conference, craft fair, or just in general.
- Include all of your contact information – your name, phone, email, website
- Include your logo but also type out your business name
- Include all of your social media information – your handle (@hydrangeahippo for example) or the links spelled out. Don’t just use icons alone – no one can “click” on the icons on your card to find you on Facebook.
- Include your address or location
- Consider matte cards, cards with one matte side, or cards with an area for notes. Slick cards are difficult to write on because ink smears – make it easy for the recipient to add notes about you and your conversation.
- Think hard about add-ons. These are bags of candy, goodies, kits, samples, and any other doodads you have attached to your card. I appreciate the work that goes into making a fancy add-on happen. As a business owner or customer, I find it distracting. If you want to give an add-on as a gift, do it separately from your card.
- Consider your audience. You may have a different set of cards to hand out at conferences than the cards you use at a craft fair to promote your online store because the purpose and content of those should be different for each audience.
- Use color! A colorful card will stand out from the crowd.
- Make sure you share about what your business does. A tagline and images showing what you do are ideal.
- Stick to the classic shape and size. Consider how convenient the size and shape of your card is to the recipient.
- Stick to classic materials. I have received a number of cards in recent years made from delicate materials that get damaged in the bottom of my bag. Card stock or some other rigged material is good and affordable.
One of the cleverest things I’ve ever seen was this business card organizer they passed out at registration:
The organizer consists of these components:
- Single hole punch
- 3” Binder Ring
- Laminated Divider for “Business Contacts”
- Laminated Divider for “Bloggers I Met”
At the end of the conference, my ring was filled with business cards from everyone I met. This is a genius idea that you can replicate and use at any conference you attend. Add more dividers to categorize the different contacts you make, using categories such as “publishers” or “advertisers”.
A few cards did not make it onto my ring. That’s because they were:
- Too thick to punch
- Too bulky – the cards had stuff wrapped around them, like fabric, or they had layers of paper
- Too much stuff or doodads attached
- Too pretty – I did not want to punch a hole in them
There were many of great cards at SNAP Conference but here are some of the ones that best illustrate the points I made above:
- Clean and to the point: I can easily find the contact info and logo on this card. Plus, it has her photo on it so I can identify and reconnect with her during the conference later.
- Colorful communication: This card is from a graphic designer and social media consultant – I can tell her aesthetic immediately and the color really stands out. This is a great way to show your work if you are a graphic designer. Conveys quality and elegance: This simple card is elegant, chic, and on trend. The paper has a shimmer to it. I know when I touch this card and look at it that I am going to get quality work with lots of attention to detail when I work with the owner of this card. The materials and colors you choose for your card
- Conveys quality and elegance: This simple card is elegant, chic, and on trend. The paper has a shimmer to it. I know when I touch this card and look at it that I am going to get quality work with lots of attention to detail when I work with the owner of this card. The materials and colors you choose for your card.
- Shows samples of work. I can tell from this card exactly what this blogger does – sewing, recipes, parties.
- Place for notes on the back: This was genius! I think she could have used some of this space to show her work but the idea is very thoughtful and strategic.
- Unique Yet Convenient Shape: I love this shape and it is memorable, yet this card is still about the same size as a traditional card, making it easy to manage. I also like how she included her photo.
- A Practical DieCut Card: Cricut is in the business of cutting so it makes sense that their business card would have diecut shapes. It folds into a box with the head of their logo popping out 3D style. I appreciated the thought that went into this design – it can be a box but it folds back down to a traditional business card.
Please excuse the holes in the cards – I had all of these on my card ring at the conference!
Next time you’re ready to order new business cards, consider these points. And for your next conference, make a handy dandy cardholder like this one I shared from the SNAP Conference!
By: Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo