How Brilliant Is Your Business Card Layout?

When was the last time you saw a business card layout that included anything other than a name, a business name, logo, slogan, and contact information? Probably.... ummmm... never!

That's because most businesses basically follow the status-quo when it comes to their business card layout; they don't know how to design it to be a powerful marketing tool.

To use your business card as a great marketing tool, put these tips, tricks, and statistics to work for you. They are not only super easy, but they don't add any extra expense to your business card layout either... brilliant!

  • ALWAYS include an offer to motivate prospects to take action. This is the absolute MOST important aspect of a powerful business card layout. For example: Return This Card for a Free Loaf of Bread, or Contact Us For Your Special Report: Killer Ideas For Marketing Your Business. You can add offers like these to the front of your business card design or on the back; statistically it makes no difference. If you don’t have the budget for double-sided printing, then stamp or even hand-write the phrase on the back of the card. (Sometimes handwriting the offer provides additional advantages because you can change it frequently. When you consider that fact, it's worth considering even if you have the budget to do double-sided printing).

  • MAP or LOCATOR PHRASE If customers physically come to your business, add a locator phrase (for example: 1st and Main), map with major cross streets, or other landmark, to your business card layout. A map not only tells people how to get to your business, but it actually helps prospects remember your business because it creates a type of mental rapport with them. How? The prospect’s mind visualizes the intersection and associates your business with something they are already familiar with... and studies indicate this is the most effective way to remember anything. If customers don’t come to your business but you go to them, include a map of your service area. This works for all the same psychological reasons.


  • COLOR If your budget allows, use at least two colors in your business card design. If your budget does not support two color printing then use one color printed on appropriately colored paper stock. I use the word appropriately because many marketing consultants (or books) will recommend that you use bright colors (specifically orange, yellow, and pink). While it is true that statistically they pull a higher response than other colors, be careful using these bold colors. Depending on your business and your target market, a bold colored business card might do more harm to your credibility, than good to your marketing. For example, I actually went to a chiropractor and he was using a bright pink business card (and I mean BRIGHT!) He selected the color based on the advice of a marketing consultant who told him statistically bright pink pulled a high response... but all it really did in this case was cheapen his image and work against him. So the take away: use common sense when selecting the paper and color for your business cards (and stationery also, as they should match for a consistent company image).


  • INCLUDE the words "Questions Welcome" directly below your phone number or e-mail on your business card layout. This message creates rapport with prospects and customers.

  • 24 hour voice mail for your convenience is another rapport message you should add to your business card layout (as space allows).


  • COLOR BLEEDING If your budget allows, bleed borders or colored ink to the edge of the business card design. This makes your card easy to identify, as well as eye-catching in someone’s business card file.


  • INK TYPE Printers will frequently ask if you want raised ink or flat ink. Many small business owners think that raised ink is the best choice to make their business card layout look more professional. However, (and I learned this the hard way a long time ago), it is the sure sign of a novice, baby business. Therefore always select flat ink for your business card design. It costs no more and it just might spare you some embarrassment.

  • GRAPHICS If possible, include a photo, sketch, or graphic on your business card design. Digital printing technologies make the addition of photographs and other high quality graphics surprisingly affordable. This is especially important in the real estate, mortgage, insurance, or public speaking industries.


  • PAPER STOCK Use 80 lb standard card stock for your business cards.


  • SHAPE AND SIZE Your business card design should not be odd-sized, odd-shaped, or vertical. These types of cards don’t fit in business card holders or wallets well, and consequently, they get tossed more frequently than a standard business card design (shape/size). (I know, they are cool... but you’re not in business to be cool – you’re in business to make sales!)