While our main focus is on how a great online presence can help your business thrive, we’re always looking at how what you do offline – in real life – fits into the bigger picture.
We’ve talked about your name and the importance of a good portrait photo. These are the 2 things that will often form a first impression on your peers and potential clients. As wonderful as we all are though, it’s very likely that these people will soon forget our name and our likeness.
So what can you do to remain in their consciousness, long after you’re gone? Leave them with something that represents who you are and what you have to offer.
Yes, this week we’re talking about the humble business card.
It’s small and many of them end up lining the back of cluttered drawers or being taken out with the recycling.
Nonetheless, or rather, to better these fateful odds, we’re encouraging you to devote more love and attention to creating or updating yours. You just never know when one little card will land in the right person’s hands.
To share an example, Lulu recently met with a new client at the start of a big project. She asked how the client had come across her company. It turns out her client had picked up her business card at an event, attracted by its design. Weeks later, when she was looking for a company to create a new website for her organisation, she noticed the colourful card on her shelf and, intrigued, decided to check the company out. The rest is happy history!
Tracy uses her business cards primarily as appointment cards. As they are also displayed in the clinic where she works, she had them designed in a colour that stands out from the other cards on display.
So, let’s start with the easy part – your details
Before you rush off to order 1,000 business cards, we’d like you to take a moment and think about what information you’ll put on your card.
Let’s be honest, very few of us are good at remembering faces, and even fewer are good with names. So what do you include on your card for people to remember who you are and why they should care?
I’m sure that we can all agree that your name must be on your card. If you have a name for your practice, include that too or better yet, use your logo.
Next, have you included what it is you do or what you offer? It’s all well and good somebody picking up your card but, if they can’t recall who you are and what you do, it’s likely they’ll put it right back down. I know this sounds obvious but, because we’re all so close to what we do, it’s easy to overlook the most basic of things. In fact, you might want to rope in a critical (but kind!) friend to give you objective feedback throughout this process.
Your telephone number and email address are the other 2 essentials we’d recommend.
A mobile number is important if you don’t spend a lot of time beside your landline phone which, is the case for more and more of us nowadays. If this is indeed true for you, you may choose to not include your landline number at all.
When it comes to email addresses, think about what yours contributes to the impression of your brand (yes, you are a brand but, more about personal branding in another post). Does your email address convey professionalism? Who would you rather entrust your care in: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
We won’t go into the technical details of domain names and custom emails at this point but, it’s not as daunting as it may seem. When it comes to your own domain name – i.e. your custom web address – one of the most user-friendly sites we’ve come across for registering one is name.com. Once you purchase your domain name, you can then set up a custom email address using your domain name (instructions here).
It used to be common practice to include your postal address on your business card but, nowadays, unless it’s also the address of where people come to see you, there really is no need.
Design it simple
Our best design advice – keep things simple. If you’re ever unsure about a design decision, err on the side of simplicity. You can commission a designer to create your business cards or you can opt to do it yourself. If you go the latter route, we recommend using websites such as MOO that guide you through the process.
Pick a typeface that communicates professionalism and dependability. That means nothing with superfluous flourishes and nothing too idiosyncratic like Comic Sans! Think about how your details feel, written out in your font. Are they TOO SHOUTY or are they P A C I F Y I N G?
When choosing colours, think about what people associate with those colours. Also consider whether there is enough contrast for the tiny letters and numbers to be legible.
Picking visuals/imagery is often where we tend to overthink things and this shows in the final results. Remember, simple is best. If you have a logo, that’s usually enough. If you don’t, consider filling one side of your card with a professional photo of yourself (another way to remind people of who you are).
One final important step
Congratulations on all the thought and care you’ve put into crafting your silent ambassador. Now it’s time to get printing.
It would be a shame for the work you’ve done to be let down by flimsy paper, colour inconsistencies and pixelated text. Pick your printer with the same level of consideration that you’ve put into your cards so far.
Establishing a relationship with a good local printer can bring many benefits to your business, as you evolve and grow. A good printer will share ideas and tips for producing quality materials in the most economical and environmentally-friendly ways possible. We highly recommend the following London-based printers: Azoprint (ask for Dave) and Calverts (ask for Arthur).
There are also online services that you can use to order your cards online and have them mailed to you. We have had some good experiences with MOO.
Now you can sit back and wait for your elegant new business cards to arrive. Might as well start planning networking opportunities to show them off and get them into the hands of your ideal clients!
That’s all for today!
Tracy and Lulu