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10 Features of a Memorable Business Card

As I look over my stack of business cards from a recent speed networking event, I am consistently reminded of one thing.

That is.. there has always been one group of professionals that have understood the concept of personal branding.

REALTORS!

Do you agree?

Have you ever received business cards from realtors that didn’t have their personal pictures on them??

Out of the 40 cards I collected this week, only 2 had pictures on them.  And yes, they were from realtors.

One of the realtor’s cards, Erin Barton, also displayed her social media connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  Perfect!

Don’t miss out folks on how important this is.

I learned my lesson late last year, and threw out all my old business cards.

Here are 10 features of a memorable business card:

1. Your Picture

It is very easy to upload a profile picture into a business card.  I use an online service, and recommend your picture match your professional photo on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

2. Your Website

I met an interior designer this week who was just starting her business. I asked if she had a website (since it wasn’t on her card) and she said she was still working on it.

My recommendation: Lock in a website domain and add it to your card even before you go live.  Chances are, someone in the future will ask if I know any interior designers.  I’ll find her card and still not know her website address.

3. Your Social Networks

As I continue to network, I connect with people across different platforms. Some people have clear preferences.  If you are a job seeker, LinkedIn is a must. If you are in business, I’d add Facebook and Twitter.

4. Traditional Contact Info

Make sure people can get in touch with you the old fashioned way.  I recommend a mailing address, direct phone number, fax number, and email address.

5. Your Logo

Most businesses have a distinct logo.  If you do, use it.  If you don’t have one for your startup, make it happen. I used an art student at VCU to design my logo and now it is trademarked.

6. Your Tagline

I’ve seen great taglines on business cards from job seekers. Make your personal branding statement stick.  It is going to be more memorable than your name.

7. Use Color

Black font on white (or off-white) business cards get lost in a stack.  The extra printing costs for color fonts and logos are worth it.

8. Print on Both Sides

Never leave a blank side to a business card when you consider most cards get turned around in people’s pockets, and then end up in a stack of cards with the back side facing.

9. Allow for White Space

It is critical to leave space on at least one side of a business card for someone else to write a quick note about you.  For example, I try to write where I met someone on every card.

The only reason I can’t write an important note on the card is the last feature…

10. Avoid a Glossy Finish

Glossy business cards look good, but they are near impossible to write on with a pen.  Go with a matte finish every time.  Please.

I will add an 11th feature that I feel will become commonplace on business cards in the near future.

And that is, Quick Response (QR) codes.

Flash your smart phone over someone’s QR code and you can quickly exchange contact information, make a social networking connection, or play an informational video about a person or company.

Personal QR codes are apparently big in Japan and I’m sure some parts of our country already.

So for now and for further reference,  here are my business card proofs:

What other features do you recommend for personal branding?

Thanks!

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About the Author

Brent Peterson, PMP, MS, MBA, is the founder of Interview Angel Inc, a company that offers a comprehensive guide and toolkit for job seekers to use in interviews.

Brent’s first customer was a father who purchased Interview Angel as a graduation gift for his daughter.  Since then, clients have included government workforce centers, university programs, and Goodwill Industries.  The product has also been used as an affordable outplacement solution for businesses going through layoffs.

The full Interview Angel toolkit is available for $59.95 and shipped nationwide. A digital version is also available for immediate download for $19.95.

Stay connected with Brent via LinkedIn, subscription to this Interview Angel professional blog, and through his personal blog on faith and living.

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  • Pingback: Anonymous

  • Karen Bice

    Great post, Brent. New biz cards are on my to do list so I really appreciate this post!

  • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

    Thanks Karen. I’ve been happy with the ease of business card setup with VistaPrint. Their shipping costs are a bit steep, but I guess that’s where they make their margins.

    Brent

    • kim

      you can always use the tv promo code tv250 and get 250 for $10 and no shipping costs. also check out retailmenot for other promocodes

  • http://suewhitebizhelp.com Sue

    Brent – I especially agree with the no glossy finish. I often make a quick note on the business card for future followup. When the card is glossy I am unable to do this and I lose track of a possible referral or key contact.

  • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

    Thanks Sue. In fact, I am struggling to make notes on a handful of glossy business cards right now. Agh!

  • http://twitter.com/KimbaGreen Kimba Green

    Every job search group or class or workforce development class tells you not to put your picture on your card. I don’t get it. Why would you want people to remember you? We use our picture on our profiles and I think our business cards should be an extension of our brand. Heck! I am my brand!

    • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

      Kimba – That sounds odd indeed. Any insight into why they are telling people not to use their picture?

    • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

      Kimba – That sounds odd indeed. Any insight into why they are telling people not to use their picture?

    • http://www.IgniteSpeedNetworking.com Mike Ogilvie

      As I’m thinking about all these points, the picture on the card is the only one my mind is resisting. There’s something about it that makes me hesitate. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why! Maybe it’s just the “stigma” that people might think I’m a real estate agent. (Nothing wrong with being one, just that I’m not one.)

      • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

        Mike – You’re too old school, my friend :). I think real estate agents have understood personal branding before the concept ever caught on. I encourage every professional to have a matching picture on their business card, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Oh, and Disqus (for leaving comments on blogs :).

  • http://www.pace-it.com Columbia Jones

    Thanks Brent! Great point about the glossy finish and white space.

  • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

    Thanks Columbia. What are other people’s thoughts on using a color background? For the purpose of taking notes, it should be a light color. Any recommendations other than white?

  • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

    Thanks Columbia. What are other people’s thoughts on using a color background? For the purpose of taking notes, it should be a light color. Any recommendations other than white?

  • http://twitter.com/BluKatDesign ArtisanJewelry

    I like my gloss; I’ll keep it on the front an have more white space and matt on the back! Thanks for the tips!

    • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

      Great idea! Glossy on the front (to make it stand out) and matte on the back (to allow for notes).

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKXQSK5XTL63TPNJWTHBYAWKHI Jamys Trauss

    Job search class or workforce development class tells you not to put your account on your card. I don’t get it. Why would you wish humans to bethink you? We use our account on our profiles and I anticipate our business cards should be an extension of our brand.
    business cards

  • Anonymous

    Awesome article. I guess I break the rule on #9 and #10, but here’s my card: https://www.meet-meme.com/

  • Nate Ezell

    The picture is a great idea! I love using QR codes for the techies out there. I then have the rest of the info you mention. I will have to add my picture to my next set

    What do you think about using SMS business cards?I have a text message one. You can text NATE to 41242 to get my info. Makes for a great “green” option

  • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

    Nate Ezell

    T
    hanks Nate. Nice SMS text option. I just gave it a try. Works great. I know there is a way to exchange contact info via blackberry. Is there an app for the iPhone too? (my next phone :)

    • Nate Ezell

      There are several options on the iPhone. I use camcard to take a pic of a business card and then it will create the contact info and give you the option to save it into your iPhone contact list. There are several apps out there though. Oh, camcard can read QR codes also

      Hey, I’d love to write a little blog post for you on SMS business cards if you are looking for guest posts

      • http://www.interviewangel.com Brent Peterson

        Sounds good. I’d welcome the guest post. Thanks.

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  • http://twitter.com/ed_han ed han

    Brent, excellent advice re: business cards, esp your observation re: pictures. That isn’t something I’ve ever considered doing before.

  • http://www.recruitinganimal.com RecruitingANIMAL

    f you have a free landing page on http://about.me or http://DooID.com you only need one URL on your card. The landing page will provide links to everything else.

    As for the URL you can buy one for $10 at http://GoDaddy.com and forward it to the landing page.

    • http://interviewangel.com Brent

      Good advice on a single URL. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.printingwales.com/cheap_business_cards.htm Cheap Business Cards

    I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing your views on Business Cards

  • Never Late Printing

    Thanks for sharing about Memorable Business Card. These are thing one should have to keep it in mind.

    Print Business Cards

  • http://twitter.com/steveqshannon steveqshannon

    Have a lot of the magic 11 and now vowed to re-do soon. Thanks to Tim Kinzler, World Class South Florida Realtor, my face for radio is “on the card.” Thanks for the pithy reminder. Spot on!  sQs  Delray Beach FL

  • http://www.lovemyvouchers.co.uk vouchers

    Flash animated cards are offered today by almost all major e-card publishers and are consequently the most common format used.

  • http://www.dealsbell.com/store/vistaprint/ vistaprint coupon code

    Printing QR codes on business card is really good idea. This days most of people are use smartphone’s which can easily read QR code information.

  • http://www.vip-consulting.com.au/ Find a Real Estate Agent

    with everything it’ll be a perfect card

  • http://coveprint.com.au/ printers adelaide

    I agree with you. There are some people who would let someone create their business card but forgot to highlight very essential details which are indeed needed so when you about to give it to someone, that person won’t have any question in mind.

  • http://www.capitalhomesestates.co.uk/ Holiday rentals in paphos

    Hmm  i think  thats the best idea for a real estate investor ,the occupation of purchasing, promoting, or leasing area, structures, or real estate.

  • http://www.middletonteam.com/category/san-diego-real-estate/university-heights-real-estate/ university heights real estate

    well for me,
    leave the designing to the proffesionals. They know the best. 

  • Anonymous

    Business card does not need picture but its good to put your picture

    Plastic Cards
    Plastic Business Cards
    Scratch Cards 

  • http://www.printcentric.com/index1.html Business Card Design

    Logos should be at least 600 pixels in height and width. Logos smaller than that will look pixelated. For best results, your logo should be on a white background. 

  • http://gruber-law.com/ auto injury attorney milwaukee

    According to me thats the best idea for a property buyer ,the profession of buying, advertising, or renting area, components, or property.

  • Ruellesmith

    We all know that having a business card must be formal and looks professional but it depends on what you are marketing to. Those posts that you have made are all useful for those who wants to have a business card and those who wants to improve their business card.

  • Linda

    Thanks for the 10 tips for business cards!! I am going to follow your advice and get a snappy card made up! Best wishes.

    • http://interviewangel.com/home-blog/ Brent Peterson

      Thank you Linda. My next blog post will be titled 12 Features of a Better Business Card, and will add to (and delete from) this list. 

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/heikeheemann Heike Heemann

    I agree with most of your list. Here are five additional points to add:

    * Avoid unusual sizes of the card itself. Though a round or square card may stand out, they don’t fit into rolodexes or card sleeves and are therefore more likely to get lost or discarded.

    * Avoid vertical formats. They are inconvenient when someone is looking through a stack of cards to find information as they always have to be turned.

    * Keep all contact information on one side of the card even if you print on both sides. For instance, avoid having your name and company name on one side and the phone number on the other.

    * Actually have a physical card. Even though more and more people have smart phones that allow for instant e-mailing or other forms of transmitting information, there are plenty of people who don’t have this technology or prefer to use hard copies (e.g. to take notes on when & where they met someone). Along those lines: Make sure you actually have a large enough quantity of your cards with you when you go to an event.

    In terms of the photograph a word of caution: they need to be updated regularly. I have met more than one realtor whom I would not have recognized based on their photograph as the picture was out of date (think hairstyle, aging, glasses or not, beard or not,…) or so staged that it was useless.

    Heike

    • http://interviewangel.com/home-blog/ Brent Peterson

      Great feedback Heike. Thank you for sharing! I concur with your additional points. I’ve received my share of odd shaped business cards and it always ended up thrown out (at least by accident).

  • http://cardsofwoods.com/ wooden card

    I agree with most of your list.

  • plastic card printing

    All the cards are stunning. Thanks for sharing all those adorable creations.

  • http://www.thedsmgroup.com/ Jason Diller

    use moo cards… check out their lux card. its amazing

  • Stacey Beck

    Thanks for all the advice! I’ll have to design something including all of this and then get printing in Vancouver. I feel so official being able to hand out my own business cards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002807425535 Facebook User

    I designed my own card and edited it using this list! Thanks for reminding me to put my tag line on there – I nearly sent it to the printers without it!! What do you think? http://sami-photo.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=175192592

    • http://standandinspire.com/ Brent Peterson

      Looks great! Thanks for sharing your new business card.

  • http://www.beanprint.com/ Business Cards

    I would say that we should give proper contact details while creating business card. Because, it’s helps for quick network. This features seems that we should must include them on our business card.

  • http://www.puremetalcards.com/usa/standard.html Prism Brass Gold Business Card

    I really appreciate your views Brent on business cards. Yes I agree that tagline plays an important role in creating personal branding statement.

  • john smith

    Lawyer business cards simple and neat helps give your card a professional look and feel. The simplicity and neatness of the design won’t make the card look boring as long as you use the right combination of colors and typography.

  • Jannik Bjørn Løkke

    If you want a memorable business card (in a good way), then please do NOT use any of the websites where you can choose your own, from a mio. different pre-designed cards. These aren’t memorable, and they will not make you look professional in any way!

    Use a graphic designer for work like this. If you want something to look professional, then USE a professional! We educate ourselves for years, and though you might think you can make something that looks professional, there definitely is a difference between a “home-made” business card, and one made by a pro.

    Even the simple things like choosing the right fonts, colours and materials, takes a lot of work. It’s not just using a font “you like”. Have you ever thought about what that font tells about your business (Is it playful, modern, classic, etc.. Is it suitable for use on business cards and logos? How small can you make it without losing the readability)? And how about the colour? Do you know what the different colours symbolizes? And do you know which kind of paper best fits the needs of your business? Did you know that you can make a business card from paper made with different kinds of beer? Or stone? You can also make a business card in all metal.

    So just to summarize: Use a professional!

    And to the author: Your “Trademark” logo is full of mistakes a professional wouldn’t make! NEVER use any kind of “glow” on your logo. And I’ll bet that your logo isn’t in vector graphics. To explain: If your logo was made in vector graphics, you would be able to expand it as much as you like. And then you would have the option to make t-shirts, banners and poster, etc., with it, without it getting pixelated.

    I hope that all of you people, that like me reads this article, will read this and think twice before making their own business card. At least if you want to stand out from the crowd, with a customized and professional business card, logo, or whatever you might need to get designed!

    Have a good day to all of you

    Best regards
    Jannik Bjørn Løkke

  • Kim

    What about license numbers?? I am an LSW in NJ and am conflicted on whether or not to include my license numbers for each state I’m licensed in.

  • Mikemorgan

    Thanks for sharing about Memorable Business Card. These are thing one should have to keep it in mind.
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    I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
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  • http://OwlGames24.com/ Tom Neil

    Very useful! I just make a business card about my website http://Owlgames24.com/ and i’m very happy that i haven’t miss any from tips you gave :)

  • Gary Puntman

    I agree with all of these. There are a lot of things to take into consideration with creating a business card. You want to make sure they look as great as possible. It can make a good impression on future customers. http://www.businesscardking.net/products.php