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    March 7, 2014 // 4:00 PM

    How to Create a Business Card That's Actually Useful

    Written by Jeff Coon | @

    contact-usThis post originally appeared on the Insiders section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Insiders.

    Many people would argue that face-to-face introductions leave the longest-lasting mark on the successful positioning of your brand. But networking events are busy places, with lots of names and faces to remember -- and frankly, a lot of business cards that never receive follow-up. (Or worse, business cards that just get thrown in the trash.)

    A great business card isn't going to suddenly turn you into a great networker, but it can help you remind those with whom you spoke 1) who you are, and 2) why they might want to get in touch.

    With that in mind, here are some things to remember when designing your next batch of business cards to make them more useful and memorable.

    1) Include a clear positioning statement.

    What is the one statement that most clearly defines your value and differentiates you from your competitors?

    Creating a compelling positioning statement that establishes an emotional connection with your brand should be a primary focus when laying out new business cards. Some great examples of clear positioning statements include:

    • Volvo: For Life.
    • Harley Davidson: American By Birth. Rebel By Choice.
    • Lowes: Never Stop Improving.
    • Red Cross: The Greatest Tragedy Is Indifference.
    • Disneyland: The Happiest Place On Earth.

    Try to figure out what you want someone to remember about your brand, and think of the most succinct way to communicate that on your business cards.

    2) Keep your card functional.

    Content marketers out there will understand this one: Have you experienced a time when someone wants to say 1,000 words worth of content in 100 words worth of space?

    Unfortunately, 2 pages of content won’t fit in a 3.5” x 2” space.

    Editing, editing, and then editing again can be one of the biggest challenges with developing a remarkable and memorable business card. Questions to consider during the editing process to ensure your business card features the most functional content possible include:

    • Are the details included clear, concise, and relevant?
    • Does your message set you apart from your competition?
    • Are you easy to reach, whether via phone, email, or social media?
    • Does the message on your card encourage another conversation?

    3) Embrace a simple layout.

    Although there's a lot of information you likely want to get across, make sure there's some breathing room on your card so that readers can easily find the information they need.

    Too much content or clutter -- QR codes are a common culprit here -- will prevent important information from standing out and will leave less space for a prospect or client to write a reference note to themselves. Pro Tip: Take advantage of both sides of the card for additional space.

    4) Cater to prospective personas.

    Small acts of kindness can go a long way, and your business card is the perfect opportunity to cater to prospect and client needs. Stand out from every other card on their desk by providing information that directs them to a helpful landing page, web page, or other resource that is specific to their business or industry. For instance, for international clients, you consider printing business cards in different languages.

    Can’t afford to print individual card batches for different persona groups? Include an interactive feature or added value that sets you apart such as a link to a YouTube video that explains more about your product or service, includes a coupon code or special offer, or even your most useful piece of gated content, form-free.

    5) Make it memorable.

    The design and feel of your business card is no different than a firm handshake when it comes to setting a good first impression. Printing your card on 60-lb stock is like holding out your hand, and shaking it like a wet noodle.

    Durability is also a factor when you consider how quickly cards are distributed or how long they sit in your wallet. A professionally designed and printed card will send a stronger sense of credibility. If you're looking for printing options, this resource offers a variety of paper qualities and pricing levels.

    And while your business cards should be functional, don't be afraid to get creative with your design and include features that stand out. Just be sure the design complements the message, and doesn't take your business card from useful to completely non-functional.

    Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorites.

    Business cards are one of the first impressions between you and prospective customers -- and they can turn those first impressions into lasting impressions. Examine the anatomy of your business card. What changes can you make to create a lasting impression with your prospects?

    Topics: Inbound Marketing

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