The humble business card is still very much a part of the corporate landscape. Those few square inches are prime real estate, and it’s vitally important to treat that space with care. The goal is to get your most important information out there… but there’s the rub. What falls into that category of “most important”?
Some folks consider everything “most important”, and they end up with a card that’s barely legible for all the information. Some folks swing to the other extreme (a la “Hitch“), and leave off some (potentially) vital information.
So what’s the balance? Stick to these basics, and you’ll stay in the safe zone:
1. Name (+ Title?)
Your name should be a no-brainer, but what about your title? This is a common question, and there are endless opinions on the matter. For what it’s worth, here’s my stance:
- If you’re running a company of just one or two people, tacking on titles is a bit bloated, and is probably quite unnecessary.
- If your company involves a wide variety of departments, each offering different services, then titles serve a valuable purpose – to wit, informing the recipient. For example: Rudy Kipling, Account Manager
Simply put, everything on your card should serve a clear purpose. If you can find no useful reason for including a title, leave it off.
2. Contact info… But how much?
How you want people to get in touch? A problem I often encounter is a card so chock-full of phone numbers that I really don’t know which one to use. Here again, think about purpose, and leave off anything that doesn’t prove useful.
- An email address is a must. Preferably one that reflects the domain of your business (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Your primary phone number should be included. This would be the number that you use during all business hours – whether it’s your office phone (plus extension), or your cell phone.
- Additional phone numbers can be included, but with care. Ideally, you should have no more than two personal contact numbers listed.
- DUMP THE FAX NUMBER. Including a fax number makes your company look outdated and out of touch. Folks will very rarely need to send you a fax – if ever – so there’s no need to include it on your card.
Now, your physical address is another issue altogether, but we can bring it back around to the “is it useful” rule. Unless customers will be visiting you in person, there’s no reason to include your physical address.
If you have a company website, you should absolutely include it. I would caution you, however, to stick to one website. I’ve seen cards with multiple sites listed, and (like multiple phone numbers), this just gets confusing.
But what about all of those social media links? Once you get started down that route, it doesn’t take long before your business is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and more. Should you really put all of those social media links on your business card?
Once again, I’ll point you back to my repeated maxim: is it useful? In most cases, it’s best to avoid social media links on your card at all. If you’re already pointing people to your website, you can put all of your social links there – where real estate isn’t quite so precious. If you feel you must have social links, limit yourself to the one or two primary platforms that your customers actually use.
I’m sure you’ve received one of those cards that includes a crazy list of “services offered.” While some business do benefit from listing their services, I suggest that you do so sparingly. For example, a yard service company may choose to list the general services they offer (e.g. lawn care, landscaping, xeriscaping, hardscaping). They don’t necessarily need to go into all the finer details of each service (e.g. mowing, hedge trimming, tree trimming, etc.).
A business card is a useful tool, but it’s up to you to manage that real estate properly. In choosing what to include on your card, keep asking yourself “is it useful?” By cutting out the unnecessary information, you’ll end up with a card that communicates clearly and reflects well on your business.
Tie that all together with a polished business card design, and you’re well on your way to success!