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The logo and graphic elements that you include on your business card are quite important, but having the right text and contact information on the card is equally important. Here are our tips about the elements to include:
Your name - Consider whether you want to include your middle name or initial, degrees or professional credentials that are unique to your field.
Title - Including a title on your card will help your potential clients to identify your position within your company. Including a title can also make your company seem larger. A reason to not include a title would be if you're a consultant, and want to market your solo nature as a benefit to your clients.
Address - Always include an address on your business card, even if you are operating a business out of your home. Including your address greatly increases your credibility and makes your business appear established. If you're concerned about privacy, a post office box is a great way to go. When signing up for a post office box, consider using a commercial mailbox vendor (such as the UPS Store) instead of a box at the United States Post Office. At a mailbox store, you are given a street address instead of the typical "P.O. Box". The store also accepts shipped packages from UPS, FedEx, and other carriers, so you won't need to give out your home address as a shipping address.
Phone number (and toll-free number) - Include your phone number and, if you do business long distance, consider including an 800 or toll-free number as well, as an amenity for your clients.
Cell phone number - This is an option to consider if you'd like to make your services available to your clients around the clock, or if your business often takes you on the road. If you'd like to keep your cell phone number private, you can do that tactfully by offering to make your cell phone number available to clients once they have signed up for your services - then your clients will feel special and know that you're taking good care of them.
Fax number - If you have a fax number you should include it on your card. If you rarely receive a fax, or if you don't know if faxes will be useful in your business, you can try using efax (www.efax.com). This is an online service that can provide you with a free fax number that will email all of your faxes to your email account. They also offer a paid service that is available as an upgrade if the number of faxed pages you receive per month exceeds their free offering. That enables you to upgrade if needed, without changing your fax number and reprinting your cards.
Email address - Your email address is an often-overlooked opportunity to brand your business. Instead of using a generic email address such as "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "email@example.com", purchase your own branded domain name to use as your email - firstname.lastname@example.org. It's inexpensive and easy to set up, especially if you use GoDaddy.com to register your name and set up the new email address to forward to your existing account. This makes your business look larger and more professional.
Website address - A website is a must in today's business world, even if it's a simple, one-page site that gives a few paragraphs of information about your business offerings and your contact information. A website offers potential clients an easy, no-pressure way to both learn more about your business, or to refer you to new clients. This is also another way to take advantage of the branded domain name that you set up to use for your email address - using it for your website URL will extend your business brand further.
Tagline - If you have a tagline, including it on your business card will contribute to your branding and memorability, and a graphic treatment of the tagline (font, color and any graphic effects used) can add visual interest to the card as well.
License Numbers - Include your license number if you are required to display them by your industry regulations (i.e., insurance or contractors), or if your being licensed is a benefit that you offer to your clients, or if it differentiates you from your competition.
If you have room on the front, or would like to create a two-sided card, consider adding:
A few bullet points about your business offerings - This provides you with an opportunity to further explain what you do. This is most helpful when your business name is not specific, so potential clients can identify what you can do for them.
Your photo - The people you meet while networking will remember who you are. Putting a face to your business also makes your cards more personal for potential clients. However, we recommend that you do this only if it's appropriate, or somewhat standard, in your industry (for example, with certain types of coaching, or real estate).
A "next appointment" area - If you often make appointments with clients (for massage therapy or health care, for example), consider printing a line or two on your business cards to make them into appointment cards as well. This makes a lot of sense from a printing standpoint - you'll be able to print a dual-purpose card for the same price as printing one card design
About the Author
Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo and marketing material designs for over a decade. elf design offers the comprehensive graphic and web design services of a large agency, with the one- on-one, personalized attention of an independent design specialist. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable - and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, please visit: Logo design at http://www.elf-design.com