Business Cards – Essential Marketing Tools For Your Business

Your business card is one of the most important, cost-effective and versatile marketing tools you have. How come? Because they’re inexpensive, easy to carry with you and easy to get in front of people. Especially for businesses just starting out.

However, your card needs to make a great impression. A well-designed business card can effectively promote your business, but there’s a good chance that if your card looks unprofessional, it may be thrown in the dustbin or just lie in a drawer, collecting dust. Your business card needs to tell people what you and your business is about, instead of only telling people who you are and where to contact you.

Planning, designing and having your cards printed.

For your business card to be the marketing tool it should be, there are a few things you must take into consideration when planning and designing your cards.

Get professional quality business cards printed for you. Sure, you could print them on your laser jet and cut them with scissors. You’ll get what you pay for and worse than that, people will question whether they can trust you with their business if it seems you can’t afford to print full colour business cards.
Pay attention to the finer details on your card. A logo is important, so invest some time and effort in the design of your logo to make it stand out in the crowd.
A thin, flimsy card, pre-made, off the shelf design and small or unreadable text makes a bad impression. Use colour and images for impact and good design principles to make your business card pleasing and easy to read.
Be proactive and keep your information up to date. If any of your contact or other information has changed, you will appear to be disorganized when you have to scratch out and write new information on your card, so throw away those cards and have new, up to date ones printed.
If possible hire a graphic designer to help you. They are professional and know what works and what does’nt.
Maximize the usability of your card. You’re not limited to only the front of your business cards. Use the back of your card for more information. Keep in mind that people often write on business cards, so leaving some white space on the back is generally a good idea.
Your company name or your title tells someone what you have to offer. If it does’nt, add some words to explain what you do. Showing what you do makes you stand out. Let everyone who sees your card know what services you provide.
Avoid making the following mistakes when you have your cards made. It can cost you dearly.

Having a card that doesn’t stand out in the crowd.

Your card must look great, feel sturdy and clearly define what your business does – and you and your card will be remembered.

Technology makes it easier and more affordable than ever to have cards designed and printed that will get someone’s attention and at the same time look businesslike and appealing.

Don’t have a card that’s a mystery to everybody.

You are not going to get many calls if someone looks at your business card and can’t tell immediately what your business does.

A card with information overload.

Too much information printed on your card will make it look too busy and totally unprofessional. Keeping it simple is best. It’s necessary to have your name, your company, what you do, and why you should be used – but supply all your contact details; you want to be easy to reach.

Using too small text.

Using a small font, you may be able to supply more information, but what good is it if people can’t read it? A good guideline is to use a type size no smaller than 7-8 point. Make your company name the largest and your name and maybe your cell number a bit larger than the rest.

Not using colour properly.

Use colour in your cards to brighten them up and make them appealing. Avoid printing a dark colour on a darkish background or a light colour on a light background, for instance printing grey on white to make it look like silver. It just does’nt work.

Strategically distributing your cards to help your marketing campaign.What does it help you to have a box full of business cards if they’re not being used to market and promote your business?

Always keep some of your cards on you wherever you go. Hand a card to someone when appropriate, and while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to give out more than one. Invite people to pass the extras along to others who might need your service. You might be surprised at how often this can result in a referral.

Don’t be afraid to post them on public bulletin boards, stick them in doors or leave them in bowls for free drawings where your target audience might see them.

Ask affiliated businesses to allow you to display your cards, such as a hardware store if you’re a building contractor or a plumber.

Capitalize on natural opportunities to hand them out when you’re talking about your business or someone asks how to contact you.

Keeping in mind all of the above ideas and information, your business card will definitely work for you and attract business – and still at a very affordable price.

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Which Business Card is Best For You?

There are many different types of business cards available for your business needs, and it is important to figure out which type best fits you and your company. You want a card that is representative of what you are offering your customers or clients. Consider how professional you want your card to be, and what message you want it to communicate to the people you give it to. Here are seven different styles of business cards that you must can between before starting your design.

1. Standard: The standard business card is a 3.5″x2″ rectangle with square corners. This is the basic size and style that every printing company prints at a standard price. Due to the ease of printing and cutting standard cards, these are the most affordable option for any business. These are very professional and will show the customer that you are dedicated, qualified and reliable. This is a great option for anyone looking to print a large number of affordable business cards.

2. Round Corners: Round cornered cards are a variation of standard business cards. Once they are printed, a die cut creates round corners to give it a different shape. This can give your business card a softer feel than standard cards and is becoming a popular option for printing. Be prepared to pay a little extra for round corners, but it might be worth it to add a touch of personality to your business cards. Be sure to create your design with round corners in mind so that you do not cut off any of your information.

3. Square: A fast growing trend in business card printing, square cards are a unique take on the standard card. They are smaller than normal, only 2″x2″, but will definitely separate your business card from everyone else. Square cards are fun and will show your customers that you have a good personality and are a creative person. The only thing you need to be careful of is the space you use. Square cards are quite a bit smaller than standard cards, leaving you less room to include all your information. Try square cards for your next printing job and you will definitely be satisfied.

4. Die-Cut: Die-cut business cards are the most unique cards you can have. If you choose to do a die-cut, you can pick from standard die-cuts or pick from one of the die-cuts your printing company may already have. There is also the option of creating your own die-cut, in which you can choose or design any shape for your die-cut that you want to. Depending on the complexity of your design, die cuts can cost anywhere from $50 and up. Your printing company will likely charge you for this die-cut because you will be their only customer to ever use it. This is the most expensive option for business card printing, but it is the best way to have a truly unique card that no one else will have.

5. Fold-Over: Fold-over cards are great for companies that want to include a little more information in their design than a standard 3.5″x2″ will allow. Folded cards are 3.5″x4″, giving you twice as much space as a regular size card. Be creative with your fold-over business cards by using the folded style in your design. Include a die cut on the fold to create a custom shape or die cut one side of the fold. Fold over cards are a unique take on standard cards, but will give you enough edge to stand out from the crowd.

6. Recycled: Recycled business cards are perfect for those companies and businesses trying to “go green.” These are made of 100% post-consumer waste paper and content. Recycled cards look just as amazing as regular cards, but will give you the peace of mind that you are helping save the environment while still using print media. You can print in full color or black and white, and you still receive the same great quality and thickness as a standard card. These are especially perfect for companies that are selling products or services to other businesses to help them “go green.” You can not go wrong with recycled business cards.

7. Portfolio: Portfolio cards are the most unique form of business card printing. Whether you are looking to add a touch of personality to your cards or you just want to showcase a variety of images or products, printing your cards in portfolio style allows you to print multiple different cards with just one order. Keeping all the information uniform on the back of each card, choose a different photograph, background color, product or image for the front of your card. The best number of styles for printing is anything in a multiple of 20, including 4, 5, 10 and 20. Portfolio business cards are great for photographers, bloggers, videographers, or anyone looking to create completely unique cards.

As you can see, there are many different types of business cards available, all of them ranging in price and uniqueness. Make sure you pick the card that best represents your company, but make sure it is still within your budget. Also, double check that your card conveys the message you want it to to your customers to get the best response.

Some other options to consider for your business cards printing include: stock weight and color, size, full color printing or black and white printing, single sided printing or double sided printing, and how many cards you will need. You will never want to run out of cards, so it is important that you order more than you think you will need. It is a bad idea to get caught without your cards.

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Laminated Business Cards – What Are They, and Do I Need Them?

Well presented, quality laminated business cards help you as an owner of a business to create that vital favourable first impression. A poor quality card can reflect badly on your business image so choose a print supplier with a good service on offer and you should be fine.

How do we attempt to correct the ‘quality’ problem by using laminated cards?

The price of laminated business cards differ hugely amongst online print suppliers. The majority of print suppliers offer a design-your-own service whereby the onus is placed on the purchaser to spot and select a relevant design, complete all the other card details and possibly upload a logo before proceeding to the checkout, even before contact has been made. This suits particular business types such as the mobile hairdressing profession, cabbies, electricians etc. where a ‘quality image’ is often not so important to garner work. A plain, neatly presented business card using a quality design is often all that is required in many cases.

A small to medium enterprise however, as well as any blue chip company, will have a desire to create an instantly recognisable quality brand, that can be produced to cover all company marketing materials. In these instances, brand and colour consistency across the full range of business stationery is vital to preserve the company image.

Laminated business cards can be produced as the first step to switching from the plain single colour or two colour business card, to something that smacks of a quality design.

How is a laminated business card produced?

Essentially, it’s produced using 2 sheets of laminate enclosing a plain card front and back. Laminated cards differ from the plastic pouch often used with the typical office laminating machine, which uses a much thicker laminate. Quality card lamination is measured in microns, and is invisible to the eye, the main way to test if the card is laminated is by attempting to rip one in half, or just try rubbing the ink.

Matt lamination, and gloss lamination are the main process offered by suppliers, depending on your design requirement. Some people choose to laminate one side only, and leave the other side of the card plain, but the normal process is to have both sides laminated. Whatever you may hear, it’s actually a fallacy that laminated cards are a problem to write on, just grab a biro and try it! Being able to write on the card has advantages for certain users, such as adding names on membership cards etc.

Laminated cards feel much nicer than the plain non laminated version. Another huge bonus is the laminate process helps to enhance colour and your design, due to its reflectivity.

Are all suppliers laminated business cards similar, or do they differ in any way?

Unfortunately, they can be quite different. If you see prices for laminated cards that seem too good to be true, then it’s possible the supplier may have used a thin card, often not much thicker than paper, and then laminated with a cheaper, thick laminate which feels completely different. At the very least, choose a supplier who’s using 350gsm card, but ideally 400gsm card which will generally give quality results. Where a good quality card has been used, a very thin laminate process will compliment it perfectly.

What’s the main purpose of laminating business cards?

The first reason is one of a production hurdle that has to be overcome.

For instance, a plain business card, without the laminate may just have the contact details and little else, which uses minimal ink in the process. This will cause no problems for the supplier charged with the job of getting the business card produced. To throw a spanner into the works, let’s consider the designer wants the whole of the business card reverse produced in a solid process colour.

One thing to point out at this time is the fact laminated business cards are never produced singly in the lithographic process, but produced in ‘groups’ to keep production costs to a minimum for the supplier. As the business cards are produced and leave the press, they drop into a single stack. As business cards are added to the stack more weight is forced down onto the cards in the bottom section of the stack and if the ink hasn’t dried completely, which will be the case in our scenario due to the reverse being a solid process colour, then it’s possible ink will transfer from one business card to another. This is called ink offset or ink transfer which is bad news for the supplier who will need to start the whole process again.

Although your supplier has other ways to get ink to dry, solid colours are still a problem, particularly on plain, non laminated cards. Did you know? Blue colour inks take longer to dry than other colours. One way to prevent this type of issue is to laminate both sides of the business card before it reaches the stack and before the ink has a chance to touch any other business card in the stack.

My favourite reason for laminating colour business cards is that they look and feel so much better than the equivalent non-laminated version, with a vibrancy to the colours not seen on plain cards.

Any other info you can share about Laminated Business Cards?

Yes, make sure you ask your supplier for printed samples of laminated business cards along with the plain non laminated variety so you can see the results in comparison, before having your own cards produced. Your supplier should do this as a matter of course, however not all suppliers are the same so be sure to make contact.

By the way, laminated cards are produced by a quality four colour process. It’s usually too expensive to laminate spot colour business cards as these cannot be produced alongside four colour cards, and indeed would need a press to be specifically inked-up to print them. However, the benefit of the four colour process (CMYK) is that the sky’s the limit when choosing how many colours to use in your design, so be as creative as you wish with your main design! Also, be sure to not mix in spot colours with four colour process inks as the spot colour details will go missing due to the process being different than the four colour process.

If you own a company that needs laminated business cards produced for more than one member of staff, I’d recommend trying to group together as many names as possible when ordering as this will help to keep costs to a minimum as it’s easier for your supplier to get a batch produced. Contact your supplier for prices and you’ll soon get a feel for how to save money.

I hope you get to discover how having your card supplier produce laminated cards for your company can boost your company image. It’s a process well worth exploring and the results speak for themselves.

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