What should be on a business card?

Ever wondered what should be on a business card? Well, let me share some insights into how you can get a better response from your business cards:

what should be on a business card  example 1
Think about what should be on a business card. In this case, what the company actually did would have been handy.

The thing is, it always amuses me that, in all the networking I do, I rarely see a business card that really gets my attention or encourages me to do anything other than put the details into my database and then scrap the card.

It’s become obvious that most folks in business don’t properly appreciate what should be on a business card.

So, let’s have a think about what we all normally see on a business card?

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Phone Number
  • Email address
  • Website address
  • Logo/graphic

Some business cards have social media addresses, others have a little about what the company does or the products that the company sells.

what should be on a business card example 2
I have no idea what this company does from looking at the card.

But have a think for a moment; when was the last time you picked up a business card and it gave you a reason to do anything other than file the card or, even worse, throw it away?

The example on the right is a typical example. In fact, I had to write what the company did on the back of card because it wasn’t written anywhere. Did the company owners really think that just having the company name was going to get them some kind of brand recognition?

You see, most folks in business miss the fact that your business card should be a marketing tool. It should do more than just let people know who you are, it should encourage the holder to get in touch in some way. It should sell and not just tell.

So, how can you do this on a business card?

Well some easy ways are to put some kind of offer on there, could be money off or special information, or a free gift.

You could also make an offer of an appointment that is guaranteed to benefit the person you’re seeing. A good example of this is a sales coach I know who guarantees that your first free appointment with him will give ideas to grow your sales in some way or he’ll pay you for your time. So, what’s to lose with kind of offer?

what should go on a business card example 3
A good example of a benefit-specific call to action on the back of a business card.

The key thing to do is to focus on the benefits of what you’re offering. How can you let the reader of the card know what they’re going to get out of doing business with you? What good reason can you put on your business card that will encourage the person looking at it to respond in some way?

The example on the right is pretty good with a clear benefit and clear call to action. The only thing missing on it is a the phone number, but it’s on the other side of the card so is easy to find.

But the biggest scandal is that this isn’t just confined to business cards, it’s common in many marketing channels. How many times have you taken a look at a website and wondered what the company was all about?

Think about all of those companies who spend loads of time and money on a logo and fancy designs but fail to properly communicate the benefits of giving them a call.

When you run a small business you need to go for marketing response before you can think about branding. You need to get customers far more urgently than you need for everyone to recognise your logo.

OK, rant over.

The overall thing to remember is this: your business card needs to do more than tell, it needs to sell. Your business card can and should be used as a marketing channel as much as your website.

So, next time you’re wondering what should go on a business card think about how you can get a response or make it sell more effectively.

Now I’m expecting to get a bit of flack from the ‘marketing experts’ for this but I’d love to hear your view. So please let me know what you think in the comments below:

13 thoughts on “What should be on a business card?”

  1. Beckie Sanderson

    Great tip to sell not just tell – be careful though not to use too many words as on such a small printed area, as it will look cramped – font size should also be considered, how often I see cards with text too small to read.

    1. Karl Craig-West

      Thanks for the comment Beckie and yes that’s a very good point. Too many words and you’ll make it too small to read or (even worse) lose the message completely.
      Make sure it’s readable.

  2. Jeremy Edwards

    There are some legal requirements as well, which may clutter your card up but stop you falling foul of the Business Names Act/Companies Act 2006 requirements. Whether you would consider a business card to be a “business communication” is moot, but I’d suggest that the correct trading name and ownership information is vital.

    1. Karl Craig-West

      Hi Jeremy,
      that’s a very good point but you also have to take a pragmatic view on this. I think you’d struggle to find many business cards that have information that is fully compliant with Companies Act etc. And I have to say that I doubt that the compliance police are likely to come knocking.
      Having said that, if you’re a heavily regulated industry such as financial services, it’s wise to show some regulatory required information.

  3. Well Karl, you know that my cards sell the sizzle, not the steak. At the moment i’m using a post card size card that has a picture of moi with a compelling headline and sub headline with contact details … On the otherside is an outline on what I do and the type of people it will help … The font size is legible and works like a dream ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Gary, I find this interesting and a dilemma. When receiving business cards I like to be able to scan them in to my database and also if they are of particular interest put them in my card holder for future reference/referral. When I get oversized cards, because they won’t scan into my system and don’t fit standard card holders I tend not to keep them and can end up loosing the contact. I have always had business cards as well as using postcard size marketing material. But am interested to hear that you find using PC’s as your sole BC’s works.

      1. I used to have the same problem with large-sized business cards. On a few occasions I cut them down to business card size, making sure that I kept the important contact information.

  4. I met you this morning and was just looking on fb for contact pages to like and came across your info on the business cards,realised I hadn;t offered an incentive and have just managed to halt my run of 2500 business cards to add it !! Thank God I saw this when I did!!!
    Jane Mason

    1. Hi Jane,
      great to meet you this morning and glad to have helped on your business cards. Hopefully your newer card design will get a much better response and than the old one would have.

  5. Jiten Raikundalia

    Hi Karl,

    Great article and there are many factors that people need to consider other than it being a “contact card.

    Kind regards,


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