When you’re working in the world of business, be it a business owner or a company executive, the way you present yourself is vitally important. There’s a reason the suit, tie and trousers is a combo that hasn’t seen the end of its era, and that’s because of the importance of looking smart when you’re trying to win over new clients or customers.
But the suit isn’t just for looking smart when conducting business, it is something that adds to the first impression you give to somebody when meeting them for the first time. Other factors that will have an effect on the first impression you convey is your style, how you talk, the way you address your clients and, very importantly, the business cards you possess.
To tell you the truth, we may have exaggerated the importance of the suit, which isn’t vital in all situations. If you’re a window cleaner looking for new business, people may simply find it odd if you turn up asking for their business wearing an expensive suit. In basic terms, you want to dress in the capacity of which will show your professionalism within your industry.
That means hard-hats for builders, hygienic sterilised clothing for doctors and, yes, the suit for businesspersons and graduate professionals. However, it doesn’t matter what industry you work in or who you work for, if you want to make money, you’ll have to give your customers a way to contact you. This is why contact cards are essential.
Even if you are not fully aware of it, your business card is going to play a major role with regards to winning new business, so a few things you should consider when creating them are:
- What information to include
- Company to purchase from
- Other uses
Make Sure to Include All Your Contact Details
We are well past the days where a simple landline number was the only way to be contacted. Now, there are an abundance of ways people can contact you and, with the advent of the internet, many of those ways are free.
This means you need to think about which contact channels you include on your card carefully; you may have three email addresses, two mobile numbers, a landline, Skype address, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram all set up as ways to be contacted, but you are not going to get them all on to one small yet vital piece of card.
The old rules still apply and by this we mean it’s still expected that your cards will contain your mobile phone number, office phone number (if applicable) and an email address. But with all the channels available for your customers, you might want to consider adding a couple of other ways to be contacted on there, too.
To some extent, what contact details you include may differ depending on your occupation. If you’re the editor of a music magazine, there’s no harm in adding your Facebook profile name to your card. However, generally speaking, services such as Skype and LinkedIn are marketed for professional use as well as social use, so including those pieces of information might be a good idea.
The Best Materials
This is a difficult area when deciding what’s best for a business card, but it should still be remembered that there are different materials to choose from and, as such, you’re going to have to make a choice.
It might all happen subconsciously, but people will take a mental note if they think your business card appears to be made from expensive material, and all that conveys is success.
Obviously the price is going to come into play when you’re choosing a material, so you’ll need to factor in the quantity you require when doing so. Just make sure that the first impression you set with your business card isn’t that of a cheap businessperson looking to cut corners on cost and quality where possible.
Making Sure It Suits Your Style
There’s a reason branding is so important; it helps tell your customers the story of who you are. Five star, traditional hotels use elegant styling and very formal language to let people know that they’re all about sophisticated hospitality. Their contact card’s style will be designed to reflect that idea and this methodology applies to all businesses and individuals.
If you’re working in the flooring industry, you could consider a background that subtly reflected your product. On the other hand, if you are an IT specialist, straight lines around the edges to give off an idea of wiring could subconsciously reflect professionalism within your particular industry.
Not being too ‘loud’ with your design also needs to be factored in. Contact cards should look simplistic given the main purpose is to display your contact details clearly and prominently.
Choosing the Right Person
The above points tell a lot about just how important choosing the right person for your cards is. There are a lot of companies that offer great services, give great advice and offer design ideas, giving you many options to choose from. You’re probably buying a relatively large quantity and on a periodic basis, so finding a reputable supplier to develop a working relationship could be a good idea.
Business cards serve many uses and word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. You’ll need to have them to hand when meeting a client for the first time. Plus, cards provide evidence that you’ve likely hard first hand encounters with people you’ve had conversations with, so current clients can bring you new clients with ease that might be likely to take a great deal of interest. A final idea is to collaborate with businesses within your industry and leave cards on display for clients with similar interests.