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Types of Business Cards

Most people assume that their business card is merely a means of providing a prospect with their contact details and to serve as a reminder of what it is that they do – hopefully impressing the prospect in the process.

But, the goal of the card can and should determine the appearance, choice of material, and the type and amount of details that go on it. You must give thought to whether your business card is there to sell:

  • yourself
  • your company
  • a specific product or service
  • or maybe it must combine a number of communication goals.

Consideration also needs to be given to how the business card will usually be distributed. Will it go merely to prospects, or suppliers as well? What will the overall impression need to be? For example, if you offer a “serious” service such as counseling, you certainly don’t want a glitzy card. Something plain and simple can still be very stately.

At the end of the day you might discover that you need more than one type and style of card for your business.

The purpose of the business card could be to promote:

  • Yourself: a realtor, even if part of a franchise, might want to promote his or her own personality. A photo of the individual could then be used. If you’re dealing with mainly serious individuals who don’t want to waste much time, then opt for a basic yet neat card with minimal graphics and just the bare contact essentials.
  • A trade: a screenprinter might use plastic as the material for his business card, making it highly relevant, noticeable and memorable. Someone in the cardboard trade could have their business cards printed on cardboard. Such tactile cards could be die cut into unusual shapes and folds, but they are obviously a great deal more expensive. This can be worth it for someone selling very costly capital equipment where the return is high. Else, print something relevant on the back of the card, like business card stock weights for a printer.
  • Corporate card: here it is primarily the corporation that is being sold, usually with string graphics, with the individual’s name of secondary importance. In these cases it is the title of the person and name of the department or division they represent which become important.
  • Marketing or General business card: this business card sells not only the company or product, but also the person. It’s the type used by most small and medium businesses.
  • Appointment Cards: used by doctors, dentists, hair dressers and beauty or health professionals, these are normally double-sided with the firm’s name and contact details on the front and space for the time and date of the next appointment on the rear.
  • Personal business cards: these are used for social contacts and can be as creative as the type of personality you wish to convey. Many retired people who travel a great deal use these to hand out to people they meet along the way.
  • Fold-over cards: these become mini brochures and work well when there is a lot of product information to be conveyed. They can include photographs, and are often used by accommodation establishments.
  • Special Purpose cards: these could be a discount coupon, a discount card, even a special event. Or it could basically be an advertisement with a short lifespan.

In the final analysis, it remains a case of what you want to achieve with your card or cards. But do it well … or every contact might become a lost marketing opportunity.

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