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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Do You Need a Business Card Makeover?

Although COVID-19 makes public gatherings a little difficult these days, there's nothing wrong with being prepared when an opportunity comes a-knockin'.  If you've been a freelancer for a minute, then you know this happens when least expected.  If you keep your business cards in a purse or carrier that you switch up to match your outfit, then you know this happens when you've got the wrong bag in your possession.

If your business card game isn't bringing many returns...or your find people still ask 'Are you on social media?', 'Do you have a direct email address', then it may be time to address some often-overlooked factors.  For those of us who chose the simplest design at the stationery store or did the DIY thing, there's a lot that can be left out.  It happens to the best of us.
Many years ago, mine was using my cool mononym against a psychedelic background.  While I managed to squeeze in contact information and this was before social media, I got hit with questions.  Back then, my problem was not knowing what an elevator pitch was.  Although I knew how to fake it, prospects were still less than impressed.

Be Different or Practical?
As you can tell, I wasn't practical but I knew the downfalls of adding too much information.  You know the ones...they contain a scripture (and it's not a religious business...in fact, they may have cursed you for making a slow payment) or a "witty" quote.  Then they must share EVERY social media logo they belong to (even if they seldom post or share).

Now, below are some pretty awesome business card designs. 


Many of these are functional and I can even see some being big lead generators on their own (HINT: Two fingers).  However, before you run out to find a craftsperson who can place your likeness or logo on a mini-saw, think about branding.  While my attempt to bring back 1960s cool met a cold reception, those who read my first blog got the message.  Ironically, my writings generated more revenue than my artwork or crafts, which in comparison to my branding, weren't as compatible as I'd imagined.


Should You Really Spend a Lot of Money?

My answer is yes...and no.  A business card that serves the purpose will pay off, even if it looks like the sample card below.  However, if your operation relies on colors or symbols, it can't hurt to go the distance and stand out from the crowd.  If you choose the latter, be ready to have a secondary elevator pitch in your head.  Not so much a direct sell but since you've got a conversation piece to give away, supplementing with an interesting story about the design or some other engaging tell should turn inquiries into prospects!

Oh yeah...that other thing.  A few years before sustainable living became the norm (or was openly taught) for the masses, you could buy perforated business cards.  Now, I know Tarjay and other office supply stores still sell these but back then, you had your choice of colors, styles, and even perforation types.  Now, there were some brands that were great for handing out at outdoor markets (where no one cares if you use linen or the score marks are visible).  The premium brands had "fine scoring" that was allegedly hard to detect and I believe the cardstock was of better quality.

Now that I've got my layout game down packed, my problem has been finding a good online vendor.  One refused my cancellation less than 15 minutes after placing the order.  The other printing company that offered better rates and service didn't deliver the product I'd hoped for.  Maybe I'll visit a company auction and see if I can get a standalone color printer for the same cost as a gourmet burger.  You don't know if you don't ask...right?

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