Adapting Printed Marketing Materials to the Web: Business Cards

At a start-up or small company, a business card is your most important piece of printed marketing material. It is generally the first representation of your company (besides yourself) that a person sees. The main exception to this would be if a person finds your website before meeting you (I will talk about this in more detail in a future blog post).

Your business card influences a prospect’s first impressions of your company and may have a lasting effect on them as well. Even to this day, a lot of business cards still wind up in a rolodex or business card binder for later reference. Because of this, it is crucial that you put a lot of effort into your business cards up front, as it will be more than worth it in the long run.

Here are a few pointers to help you along the way:

Don’t Skimp on Quality

Free or cheap business cards are usually not the bargain that they seem to be. People will notice the time and effort expended on a good business card and it will usually have a positive effect on their impressions of you and your company. Conversely, they will also notice a lack of quality and it will only have a negative effect on their impressions. Working with a local designer and print shop are usually your best bets at ending up with a business card that you can be proud of and people will complement you on.

Working with local companies allows you to have a more direct influence in the process and will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Try and think about the long term benefits of good design when looking at the price (don’t go overboard though…good design shouldn’t cost a fortune).

Also, as a sustainable company, it is important that you try and use recycled (and recyclable) or FSC-Certified papers and inks with the least environmental impact. Here is my idea of a sustainable business card that I use for Rationally Creative.

Include Only the Most Important Information

Your business card (and other pieces of marketing materials) shouldn’t be thought of as the only thing linking a person to a sale. Your business card is the first link in a chain (or web) of marketing materials that will lead a person along the path to a sale. As the person grows increasingly interested, they move on to the next piece with more information about your company and product/service offering.

Your business card should only include enough information so people can make the next step to find out more about your company. Some examples of next steps are going to your website, sending you an email, following you on Twitter, etc. It is tempting to fill the card with all kinds of information but make sure to keep it clean and simple and don’t forget to utilize the back of the card as well.

The information that I recommend are your logo, name, website URL, email address, Twitter ID (if you have one), and a few words that remind the person of what your company does. In my opinion, address, phone number and fax are all optional on your business card since they should be easy to find on your website.

Only Use Electronic Business Cards in an Emergency

Electronic business cards seem like a nice sustainable option for business cards as they do not waste any paper. Unfortunately they cannot replace the standard printed business card at this time due to a low adoption rate. You should still create a card on a few different platforms (twitbizcard, SnapDat, Bump to name a few) in case you meet someone who prefers them or run out of printed cards.

Have anything to add or feel like I missed something? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit:  Torri Westmoreland of