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Revealed: 6 Tips for Effective Business Cards

Mariah Bliss

You know first impressions count - and that’s exactly why you need effective business cards.

For example, maybe you’ve run into someone at Home Depot who mentioned they could use some handyman help. When you offered your services and they requested a business card, you didn’t have anything to give to them - and you could read the disappointment on their face.

Or maybe you’re a freelance writer and you recently completed a project for a customer who was absolutely thrilled with your work. They were so happy, in fact, that they wanted to pass on your information to their colleague, who had been looking for someone who could create their website content. When they asked you for a business card, you couldn’t provide one. Even though your customer had your number, you didn’t end up hearing from their colleague about the project.

Business cards are not only critical for passing on your information to customers, but they also play an essential role in helping you look more “legitimate”. Think about it from the perspective of your customers: Who would you be more likely to hire - the professional service with a business card, or the business owner who doesn’t have one?

It might seem like a small thing, but to a lot of customers, it really can matter.

Affordable Business Cards Your Customers Will Love

We’ve collected the six best tips for building, designing, and getting your business cards ready to roll. So whether you’re just starting your business or you’re a seasoned pro, you’ll soon have the kind of cards that can turn anyone into a customer!

  1. Keep it simple.

    The most effective business cards are those that keep it simple and straightforward. Convoluted designs, excessive information, and weird logos are pretty distracting - and when your customers are trying to choose between your service and a competitor, you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

    Want to keep your cards as simple yet effective as possible? Avoid these common mistakes:

    • Overloading your business card with too much information
    • Not including a phone number AND an email address
    • Including information that isn’t relevant to your business
    • Including a tagline (unless you already have a memorable one!)
    • Using an odd or poorly designed logo

    Bottom line here is, don’t overload your business card with too much information. You want to keep it clean, simple, and memorable. Too many distractions (like in the form of background images, huge logos, and unnecessary taglines) will make your card look cramped and unprofessional.

  2. Include the essentials.

    Your business card should include the essential information your customers need to reach out to you, including:

    • Your business phone number
    • our email address
    • Your business address
    • Your hours of operation, if relevant

    If you want to take your business card to the next level, you should also ensure that it includes a shoutout about being licensed, insured, and/or bonded, if applicable. These pieces of information are SUPER important for customers, mainly because they want to know that you’re protected in case you end up causing any damage on their property.

    Finally, if you have the space, include any additional information that helps your business stand out. For example, if you offer 24/7 emergency repairs or you have a 20% discount rate for new customers, make sure that info ends up on the card. Just make sure it doesn’t make your business card look too overloaded; remember, you want it to look clean and professional!

  3. Try to avoid free options.

    With so many business card services out there, it’s hard to resist the ones that are willing to offer you a stack of free cards. I know it’s tempting, but try to avoid using the free options. These business cards are typically free because they advertise their own services right on the back or on the bottom of your cards. This doesn’t exactly look 100% professional, especially from the perspective of a customer.

    After all, if another business is advertising their own services on your business cards, your customer might think you’re not as legitimate as another service.

    So if you’re not opting for free business cards, what price range should be considered reasonable?

    Fortunately, these cards are pretty cheap to begin with. Depending on the business card service you opt for, you should expect to start at $20-$30 for 250 cards. They’re prices that won’t break the bank, so spend a little more so you can make the most of that first impression.

    Wondering which vendors are good for ordering business cards? Check out these popular options, each of which have pretty reasonable price ranges to select from:

    Keep in mind that some of these vendors provide you with the option to select a template, while others allow you to build your own custom business card design. I’ll address what you should do here in just a bit.

  4. Provide dedicated contact info.

    If you’re just starting out your business, your phone number might just be your cell number - and that’s okay! Just make sure no one else picks up the phone when a customer is calling your business.

    As previously mentioned, if you have a dedicated number for 24/7 emergency services, you should list this on your business card as well. If possible, this should be a separate number where customers can reach you.

    You should also list an email address that’s 100% just for your business. Whatever you do, avoid using personal email addresses! It might seem like common sense, but a lot of entrepreneurs often use their personal accounts to conduct business, which might not always look 100% professional. If you haven’t already, you can open up a free email account for your business with Google Mail or Yahoo Mail.

  5. Consider including incentives on the card.

    One of the best ways to turn interested people into customers is to hand over a business card that has an incentive for hiring you. For example, you could offer a discount rate to first-time customers, or maybe you could give someone $100 toward their next project if they end up referring you to a friend. These little rewards can add up to serious word-of-mouth marketing - all without having to invest a ton of your own money.

    Make sure you keep track of which incentives manage to find their way back to you. Think of it as conducting a little test with your business cards: Which reward ends up bringing you the most customers? Maybe you find that offering discounts for first-time customers works best, or maybe you’ve been able to build up a huge client base of referred customers. Pay attention to this information, because it’ll help you focus on the rewards that provide the best outcomes.

  6. Hire a pro.

    If you really don’t feel strongly about designing and ordering your business cards, consider hiring a pro to do it for you. It’s a little more expensive than doing it yourself, but it can be worth it if you feel strongly about having professional cards but don’t have the time to do it yourself.

    Here’s where you can find inexpensive pros to help design your business cards:

    • Guru.com: This online freelancing site makes it possible to search out business card designers who can quickly come up with a logo and/or layout for your card. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to set up a project; once you do that, freelancers will bid on your work and you’ll award the project to the successful candidate. You’ll need to fund the project upfront, but your money won’t be paid to the freelancer until you’re happy with your business card.

    • Upwork.com: Upwork is another freelancing site that operates in the same way as Guru. You’ll post a project, award it to a freelancer, and pay the person once you’re happy with the outcome. The main difference between Upwork and Guru is that a lot more freelancers are on Upwork, so you’ll probably have to look through more bids.

    • Fiverr.com: Want to ensure you won’t pay anymore than 5 bucks for business card design? Fiverr is a site where freelance designers bid on your project for as little as $5 - and that can be a real bargain, considering how much professional design services can go for! Just enter “business card design” in the search bar on the home page, then click on the designer who catches your eye.

    Keep in mind that if you hire someone to design your business cards online, they’ll only provide you with the design - not the business card itself. Once you have the design in hand, you can provide it to a printer or upload it to a site like VistaPrint or take it to your local Office Depot or Staples. They should be able to turn around your business cards within the same day.

Remember, business cards aren’t just for introducing yourself to customers! You can also use your cards to write down special discounts for repeat customers, to make note of future appointments, or to give your existing customers cards to pass on to anyone else who’s interested in hiring someone like you.

About the author

Mariah Bliss
Mariah Bliss
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

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