The Mini-Billboard in your pocket
Well, who'd have thought there was so much
to think about in seven square inches? Your business card can be the
perfect introduction to your business or it can be a boring old
boiler-plate piece of cardboard. And the funny thing is: boring or
brilliant, they cost the same. Even if you hire a professional to
design your card(s) for you...you'll be handing out and passing around so
many, the professional fee for a fantastic card will be a minimal
additional expense. So, if you're ready to graduate from the VistaPrint,
Giggleprint, OvernightPrints look-like-everyone-else designs, let's
explore the mini-billboard in your...and your prospects'... pockets.
your business card and what do you want it to do, really?
Well, we all know what a
business card is. It's a concise introduction to your business, a
way to hand someone information about who you are, what you do,
and how get in touch with you.
Well, kinda wrong. Let's look at your business card another way:
It's what your business is about and why they should
care. Your card is all about why your business should be of
interest to them, and how they can follow through.
Sure, you need to tell them where you are and how you can be
communicated with, but more importantly, you want to pique their
curiosity. You want to intrigue them.
And then, you want them to keep your card. And then,
if you're really a marketeer, you want them to be so amused,
amazed, astounded by its usefulness, that they will ask for
more of your cards to pass on to others, thus spreading your
fame and brilliance far and wide.
Sounds like a lot for one little
3-1/2" by 2" card to do, doesn't it? Fear not. It can be
And they're SO cheap. The world's
best advertising bargain.
So choose every element of
your business card carefully.
element counts. Color, illustration, font, and every single
word. The texture of the paper and the orientation (horizontal or
vertical?) Glossy or matte? Even the shape of your card makes a
Make sure, at a quick glance (the kind that business cards get!)
that it's obvious what your business is. Explore
some great cards.
Think I'm overstating your
card's importance? Here's a test.
There's 958, at last count, business cards in this Flickr
photo pool. Look at some...and see if you get a real feel for
the businesses they represent...and whether that business sounds
like one you'd deal with.
The (boring) basics,
but a place to start your imagination.
You know those "free" (yup, sneer quotes!) business
cards you can get? See what Otis
Casey has done with them.
You are going to LOVE all
these designs... but especially the "secondhand"
Hereís an interesting
thought: do you REALLY want the main message of your business
card, the headline, as it were, to be your shop name?
Oh sure, you want them to think Curious Closet when they think
resale (and not Clothes Closet, your arch-rival!) but what you
really want your mini-billboard to do is get their
attention, intrigue them, and move them to do something.
To do that we need to sock Ďem between the eyes with a customer
You may already have developed and be using a customer benefit
that could be the headline on your mini-billboard: your tag line.
Examples: Easy Street Consignment has for a
tag line "Yummy designer fashions, accessories &
gifts". Wear It Again Sam uses
"Never the same store twice". Wallabies Kids uses
"Where to go as your child grows". To turn these tag
lines into headlines that will catch the reader's eye, just make
the message more compelling: Where do YOU
go when your child grows? or Got
a taste for designer duds? or Shop
quick...it'll be different next time!
A word about the use of quotation marks on your business card (any
store communications, actually): DONíT.
If youíre not using quotation marks as ACTUAL DIALOG (as in, Kate
says, "Never do this!") or to identify a direct
as I have done to indicate that those tag lines are
word-for-word, then they serve as sneer
My favorite misuse of quotation marks on a business card?
MyShop/ The Place for "Quality" Fashions.
"Quality" as in, yeh, right, SHE thinks so, what a
And that's why they are called sneer quotes...
And donít hesitate to
have, and carry, more than one version of your card.
As a resaler, you have two markets to address: those who may buy
(your customers) and those who may bring in items for you to sell
(your consignors, sellers, or donors: letís call these folks
your suppliers.) Are your messages slightly different to these two
audiences? Of course. Do you want to muddy your message by trying
to do it all in one card? Of course not. Business cards are cheap.
Have several versions.
One final word of advice.
Make sure your card can be read without reading glasses. If you're
under 30, show it to someone who's not. This means paying
attention not only to the size of the letters, but the font, the
color contrast, and the background. A card that's illegible is
worse than none at all.