Chances are, if you're a consultant or some kind of a professional offering services, you have a business card. If not, you better be planning on getting/making one sooner than later. Business cards are an essential tool of communication, getting a job, setting a good impression, spreading the awareness of your existence, amongst many other things.
Okay, you may be wondering why the heck I'm writing about the importance of business cards because it's all obvious to you, but apparently, some people just don't get it! Business cards can make or break you. Whether you have one or not, or how good or bad it is, sets the first impression on the person you hand it to. Handing your business card to the other person and shaking hands is the first step of you being acknowledged, and creating a connection. More after the jump...
The First Impression
This is probably the single most important aspect of scoring new clients. Say you are a web designer, programmer, illustrator, copywriter, or whatever, when you meet people in person for the first time, you want to have a quick way of exchanging contact info, even if it's just you that's handing over the card. With this, like I said, you not only create a connection between this person and yourself, but you present a mini-resume that shows what you do, and that you're open for work (unless it's a mutual card exchange for the sake of just chatting about something later on).
What Goes Into the Card, and On It
If you're a web or graphic designer, programmer, or some sort of professional where you offer more than one service, the best thing for you to do is not lie. A lot of times, what people do is put every single web development language and terminology to make it seem like they can do anything and everything. There's nothing wrong with that if it's all true, and done right! Generally, you'd want to take the top 2 or 3 things you're best at, and emphasize on those rather than the whole loot. If you're clever, you can figure out a seamless way to emphasize the fact that you can do other things than what's stated on the card.
To many businesses, individuals, design studios, and etc., the business card is the root of all business - considering they don't rely only on web marketing and tactics to gain clientele, but instead, word of mouth and face to face communication. A design studio should probably have a whole "identity" developed where the website, business card, and print material all interrelate. This not only shows professionalism and consistency, but displays the ability to be able to do the same for those in need. Most people keep their cards super simple, while others go over the line and break barriers using crazy shapes and different materials like plastic, metal, and other types of paper, along with unique designs that are catchy and are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Having An Effective Business Card
Yes, even though having a business card is better than not having one at all, but if you're going to have one, why not make it a darn good one? Now now, don't get all shivery and worried about being able to get a good one. There is an unlimited and a half amount of resources and examples available on the web to help you achieve just that!
Here's a link to 18 Smokin' Hot Business Card Designs over at FreelanceSwitch.com, as website that I visit frequently for awesome advice, tips, ideas, and more! I suggest everyone doing the whole freelance thing (or planning on doing so) to bookmark this site.
As you can see in the 18 sample designs, there is everything from bizarre shapes and materials, to simple and sophisticated presentations. There's a freaking fortune cookie for crying out loud! If that doesn't inspire you to create something extraordinary whether it's with an amazing sense of elegance, or a tad bit of creative presentation, then I don't know what will. Notice how almost all of them have awesome logos and/or tag lines. These are the things that help make you stand out.
Overall, I guess I can point out a few things. One thing you want to avoid at all costs is making it hard for the recipient of the card to store/access it later on. If you make the card too small, they might have trouble finding it, or an issue with misplacing it because it doesn't look like a card from one side. If you make it circular, or too big, they may face the same issue. Make sure the card is attractive and interesting enough to make it memorable so that when this person is looking for a designer, or a web developer, they would remember your card. Just be careful with the direction you decide to take when creating your business card, or getting it done for you.
Speaking of business cards, I haven't touched on mine for the longest time! I guess I have a new project for myself, too! Good luck guys, and if you'd care to share your designs, that would be great!