Business Cards

 Business CardsEveryone has a business card, but few are genuinely eye-catching. Even those that are may not be effective. Matthew Brown looks at how to create an effective business card.

What to include

Before designing a business card, it’s vital to know which details to include. The basics seem obvious:

Company name: This should form the headline of the contact details side of the business card. It should be easily recognisable as the name of your business – perhaps in a slightly bigger font size from the other details.

Your own name: It seems obvious, but some companies do produce business cards for multiple staff to use that don’t include an individual employee’s name. As a small business, you’ll most likely have your own name on there as a matter of course. But regardless of business size, a personal touch is important.

Job title: Including details of what you do for a living is also pretty vital, but consider also including a one-line explanation. Not everyone knows what a virtual assistant can do. Include your specialities, and particular services you may offer.

Telephone number: This can be an office number or a mobile, whichever you use most for business. Whichever you choose, be sure that the number gets through to you – not a secretary, partner, or other employee in the business. Giving out a business card is an invitation to connect. Be sure that the connections are direct.

Email address: If you don’t have a professional work email address, set one up. ‘X_partygirl666_x@stupiddomainname.com’ is fine when you’re 16, but isn’t going to impress any potential clients.

Web address: Including your website address is a great way to get people you meet to take a look at more detailed information about the services you offer.

Logo: A distinctive logo can be an important part of a branding strategy. If you have any artistic flair, you could design one yourself. If not, it may be worth hiring a graphic designer to create one.

Optional extras

Social media usernames: Web addresses for Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other social media sites are increasingly popular inclusions on business cards. If you use a social network often, include your username.

Skype name: If you’re at your computer a lot, include your Skype username. As a virtual assistant you may well use Skype extensively to deal with clients. Add it to your business card, and it can act as a great point of contact.

Address: A business address isn’t as important as it used to be, but including your address on a business card can still be useful if you operate in a specific area or town.

Specialities: If you specialise in any particular skills, or if you’d like to draw attention to specific services, you could include a line under the job title mentioning a selection.

The design

Designing a business card can be tough. A balance has to be found between an eye-catching, memorable design and a design that looks dated, boring or annoying to look at. Simplicity is often the best option. On the reverse side from your contact details, use an appropriate photo, or a bigger version of your logo. If you really wanted, you could use a photo of yourself – but few people seem to take up that option.

Alternatively, you could use the reverse of the card to describe your business. ‘Word cloud’ designs are popular, featuring words related to your business. A motivational quote or a testimonial about your services could be other options, though they may appear pretentious to some.

If you’re not feeling inspired, there are plenty of companies out there that offer customisable designs and cheap printing. Two of the best sites – Moo.com and Vistaprint – have step-by-step card design tools on their websites, along with thousands of different off-the-shelf cards to choose from.

A business card is really a way to remind the people you meet of who you are and what you can offer. Don’t be afraid to put some of your own personality into the card design. Used effectively, a business card can be an important part of your personal marketing – just don’t forget to hand them out when the opportunity arises.

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