It’s pretty much a given that, if you find yourself at an event where business cards are being exchanged, you’ll get absolutely inundated with them. This happened to me recently, and after sifting through the gargantuan pile of business cards that I had amassed, it occurred to me that I was simply skimming past most of the cards in the pile. The ones that were quite literally ‘lost in the shuffle’ tended to have the same things in common; they were making it too difficult to find the essential information. In other words, some peoples’ business cards just weren’t working hard enough for them.
With that in mind, I thought it best to compile a list of ways in which a business card can be put to harder work, and therefore make the dissemination of your skills and details that much easier.
Integrate social media
The proliferation of social media in all aspects of modern life is undeniable, and in this case ensures that you have another easy way for prospective clients or collaborators to get in contact with you. Even if you don’t want prospects contacting you on Facebook and Twitter, professional social networks such as LinkedIn are perfect for professional research, and can display far more career information, in far greater detail, than a business card could alone. Make sure the URL of any social media profiles that you want other professionals are clearly displayed!
Utilise current technology and innovations
While social networking information provides an excellent way for interested parties to quickly establish your professional credentials, there are still faster, easier means of making this information accessible. The faster that someone can get access to your personal details, the more chance they might actually use them; which is where technology like QR codes and NFC chips come into play. Both allow for data to be quickly and easily collected by mobile devices, either by the scanning of a code or from the proximity of the phone to an NFC chip contained within a business card.
Make your business card as business card scanner friendly as possible
While NFC and QR code technology are fairly general in terms of application; with everything from menu distribution to payment transactions being possible through their use, some technologies exist specifically to collect and organise the data found on business cards. Business card scanners and business card scanner mobile applications utilise Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to recognise and record letters and words seen in images, allowing them to quickly analyse and store the text found on photos that are taken of business cards. Once collected, this data can be forwarded onto contact databases, or address books, so it’s important to optimise your business card as much as possible for the usage of OCR technology. Use clear fonts and be sensible with spacing and font size; all of which are useful tips for increasing readability in the first place.
Ensure your business card design is up to scratch
There are plenty of examples of exciting, eye-catching business card designs to be found on the internet, and it’s not a bad idea to use them as inspiration for your own. Anything you can do to make your name, and even better, your area of professional expertise, stick in the minds of readers is well worth doing. Some ideas may be a bit too tacky or gimmicky, so it’s up to you to make the judgement call between ‘memorable’ and ‘over the top’.
Incorporate a strong call-to-action
This may be the simplest tip on this list, but it’s still an extremely effective one. A fully optimised business card, that is, one that can take and hold another professional’s interest, should include a call to action that exemplifies, and succinctly summarises, the intended purpose of the business card. It may sound needlessly patronising to readers, but adding something along the lines of “Contact me today for expert advice on –insert business area here-“ can make all the difference in pushing strangers to remember the purpose of your business card, and act on the information that it contains.