Many real estate people will be traveling to conventions this year- big ones, small ones, technology, real estate, blogging, design, etc. I really enjoy these conferences because they give me a chance to get away, meet some interesting people with interesting ideas, and enjoy a tax-deductible vacation. Sweet!
When I return home I will surely have piles of business cards from all sorts of people from different companies and positions. Some I will want to keep in contact with, and some I will want to remember the conversations we had. And while I am perusing the assortment of cards I will, no doubt, be impressed by some of them and disappointed by others.
I offer my suggestions…
Use a high quality paper– flimsy cards just suck. Spend the extra ten dollars and get good paper.
Use the standard size- when you use a card that is larger or smaller (especially) than normal, people cannot stack or organize it with the others. Smaller cards get lost and become a pain in the ass. Be different by using good imagery or design, not by having an odd shape or size.
No standard clip art– Using images that come from standard clip art makes your card look generic, but even worse, it makes it look like you were trying to not be generic and failed.
Have a credible email address– If your business email is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or even firstname.lastname@example.org you really need to get with a company that will provide you with a company account.
Watch for typos– If you can’t spell your name right you need to go back to school. Pre-school.
Use Color– A bit of color makes the card much more pleasant. Tie-die or rainbows aren’t necessary, but some color can really give your card some punch, or at the very least it won’t be as boring as monochrome.
Have a blank back– When people receive your card they’ll want to write notes on the back about you or your company or your conversation. Or maybe you can write the address to a great local bar so if that person ever makes it to your city they’ll know where to go.
Have a URL– In today’s business world you should have a website to send people to. Whether your business is plumbing or software, have your URL on your card. If you are embarrassed about your current website, or you aren’t totally excited about it, go here.
No fold-overs or tear-offs– Cards that fold over get caught on things and take up extra space in my pants pocket. And if you do some clever thing like a pop-up or tear off tab, once that cute feature has been done, the card now has a flap hanging off of it and it doesn’t fit anywhere. Remember the first rule in marketing, which is my next thought…
Keep it simple– We don’t need to name call here, but keep your message simple and clear. Have a clean design that is easy to understand and makes a statement.
Readable Fonts– Lettering should be easy to read and, with the possible exception of the heading or logo, consistent throughout the card.
Have an actual designer create your card- Don’t jump on to Publisher and draw up a design. You want it to be polished and look good.
No stupid titles– We’ve all seen the start-ups where every employee has some “cool” title like “VP of Fun” or “Director of Computer Stuff”. Having something clever to say is good, lame titles are just lame. And besides, I’m not going to remember every person so if you are the head of technology but your card says “Emperor of Digital Awareness” I won’t know your function and will most likely toss the card.
Think it through. Many of us have heard of Matt (creator of WordPress) Mullenweg’s business cards that simply say: “1. Go to Google. 2. Type ‘Matt.’ 3. Click ‘I feel lucky.’ ” That’s pretty cool until your google ranking crashes, like Matt’s did and now it goes to another Matt.
Have a card that shows your image and has some fun. Good design makes an impact. Well, so does bad design, but good design makes the impact you’ll want.
It is good to get creative with images and show your personality, just remember after the novelty wears off your business card needs to serve its purpose so it is prudent to put good design and imagery over novelty.
Now let’s go have a great year!