Author Topic: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?  (Read 1818 times)

Syonyk

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I need to order myself some business cards for some side work I do (drone photography, small electronics design, off grid solar consulting... stuff like that).

Business cards range from "Super duper cheap print it yourself with perforations visible" to "You spent... how much on this engraved metal set of lockpicks?"

At this point in my life (well established professional branching out), I'd like to avoid the cheap end, because they're just tacky.  Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.  But I'm pretty sure there's no real gain to going with super high end exotic cards (moo has been trying to get my business recently, and while their stuff is amazing, I'm not sure it's actually worth it).

My goal is something professional, a bit unique, that won't be trivially tossed away - but also not breaking the bank to do it.  $5/card is not likely to ever pay off.

Suggestions/thoughts/what you've found worked/what's impressed you?
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Guide2003

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 09:11:54 PM »
No advice to give since I'm not in a profession or position to need cards, but the first thing that came to mind was that maybe you should get two different options depending on the client? Once to impress and one to pin on the bulletin board at waffle house. That way you could justify nicer ones for the occasions you need them for?

I've never judged business cards very critically, but it seems like a simple, uncluttered layout on decent cardstock with perhaps a little gold embossing comes across as pretty classy.
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koshtra

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 09:15:44 PM »
Entirely different line of work -- but I don't actually use business cards any more. I put those resources into making sure that when people google me they find me. (But I never was much good at in-person networking: even when I had cards I seldom ended up handing one to anyone.)

Syonyk

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 09:55:17 PM »
No advice to give since I'm not in a profession or position to need cards, but the first thing that came to mind was that maybe you should get two different options depending on the client? Once to impress and one to pin on the bulletin board at waffle house. That way you could justify nicer ones for the occasions you need them for?

That's not a bad idea at all - I didn't even think about that!  I'm used to ordering one item for all my needs, but doing some cheaper cards for the boards (which are totally a thing here) is a really good idea!

Quote
I've never judged business cards very critically, but it seems like a simple, uncluttered layout on decent cardstock with perhaps a little gold embossing comes across as pretty classy.

My goal is something that isn't immediately thrown away.  The advantage of metal cards or otherwise "really weird" cards is that people don't generally immediately throw them away.

Entirely different line of work -- but I don't actually use business cards any more. I put those resources into making sure that when people google me they find me. (But I never was much good at in-person networking: even when I had cards I seldom ended up handing one to anyone.)

I'm Googleable for an awful lot of my side gigs (search for electric bike battery rebuilding, you'll probably find me, and an awful lot of terms find me as the #1 hit), but I'm trying to expand locally, and this is a non-internet chunk of the country.  You literally can't even find out about town festivals on the internet half the time - I've shown up at the end of a celebration because I had the wrong year's Facebook post as data.  It's... pretty laid back and rural out here.

The problem is that while I service all of North America for some of my stuff, I want to focus more on local work for a lot of areas, and that's not something I can do via the internet.  That's something you do at the local bars.

I also don't want something that screams "Wow, fancy coastal type with his fancy business cards" - so the laser cut acrylic stuff is probably out.

Just a hard balance to strike, but going with a few grades does solve that problem neatly...
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Papa bear

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 10:05:39 PM »
I think we went through FedEx for business cards. 20-30$ for a box of 500 or so.  I changed addresses and I'm still trying to get through that first batch with an old address...




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SC93

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2017, 11:10:01 PM »
Just ordered more business cards about 24 hours ago. Like someone above said, I have 2 different types for 2 different purposes. One I give when someone buys from me, the other are more for marketing to get someone to call me in the first place. Up until last night I only had the kind for when people buy from me. And as good luck would have it (I use Vista Print), they now offer rounded corners (Which I always love) for just $5 extra. I get the glossy, better stock and print on the back.

Now I never order too many at once because I'm the type of guy that gets them and wants to change something. I asked the little woman last night if I should get 500 or just 250.... she said 250 because you know in a month you will want to change something on them; and she is correct.

So I ordered 250 business cards with rounded corners and after using the promo code it cost right around $18 or something like that. I could have added more cards for a much better discount but that's not a good fit for me. I've used Vista Print in the past and have always been very satisfied. I actually get compliments on my cards.

B_M

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 04:18:55 AM »
I'd say a decent design cheaply printed is way better than a bad design expensively printed.

Do you have any friends that could do a quick layout for you? I'd avoid logos unless they're really good (hardly anyone uses logos now or 'graphic devices' as stand alones - presumably as it's so expensive to get any recognition on them and you'd be better having the name in there if you're going to do that) and just go with a chosen typeface for your company name and keep it simple.

I'm sure what you do is good enough to get business so the card just acts as a reminder. Don't remind them you're a cheapskate or visually illiterate.

Good luck.


Moonwaves

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 09:11:53 AM »
I use Vistaprint and have been happy with them. Just have a minimum amount of quite basic business cards but it's handy to have since I never know when I might meet another potential client for my freelance work.

My top tip (having worked as a secretary for a long time for the kind of place where business cards are important and used all the time) is to not go for anything weird and wonderful. Stick to a standard size, don't go for square (was kind of the fashion here a few years back) or otherwise unusual sizing. For people who collect business cards and actually use them, they probably use some kind of a box or plastic inserts for binders that standard cards fit exactly right into. Weird sizes are just a nuisance. For a similar reason I wouldn't agree with you about metal cards. But maybe depends on the industry and type of person you're handing out cards to. In my old company that kind of thing was generally laughed about in a kind of "nice that they have money to waste" kind of way.

Liberty Stache

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 09:22:23 AM »
Don't bother with business cards. If you find yourself in a situation where you would want to hand one out (because someone is usually handing you one), just tell them that you recently ran out but if they give you their email address you'll send then a follow up email with all of your contact info.
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Syonyk

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2017, 09:47:23 AM »
My top tip (having worked as a secretary for a long time for the kind of place where business cards are important and used all the time) is to not go for anything weird and wonderful. Stick to a standard size, don't go for square (was kind of the fashion here a few years back) or otherwise unusual sizing. For people who collect business cards and actually use them, they probably use some kind of a box or plastic inserts for binders that standard cards fit exactly right into. Weird sizes are just a nuisance.

That's a really valid point - I hadn't thought about the card holders and binders and such.

Don't bother with business cards. If you find yourself in a situation where you would want to hand one out (because someone is usually handing you one), just tell them that you recently ran out but if they give you their email address you'll send then a follow up email with all of your contact info.

Email isn't a great option out here.  Not everyone has it (the guy who poured my foundation looked at me like I'd grown a second head when I asked him for his email address), and those who have it often don't use it.  It's still a "phone call" culture for a lot of the guys I'd like to do work for.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Missy B

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2017, 08:09:42 PM »
Vistaprint all the way. Low cost for quality cards, and ample choices in templates means you don't need to pay extra for layout. Given the discounts for larger orders, I don't see much if any value in getting two different cards - getting 500 'good' ones will be cheaper than getting 250 'good' and 250 'cheap'. And you don't need to pay any attention to whether you're giving someone the right card, or to always have enough of both on you.

HipGnosis

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2017, 09:07:37 PM »
Related question;  Do you folks who have business cards have 'the card' in some form of a file that you can take to a printer?  If so, what is the file format?

SC93

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2017, 11:16:43 PM »
Liberty Stache, For 20 years I was on your bandwagon and I think for those 20 years we were correct.... but this is a different world. I get about 25 texts from every 100 cards I pass out. I think the reason may be that I don't have a bunch of mumbo-jumbo on them. I don't have a useless logo... I have information they want and that is why they text. Actually email is kind of ancient. Texts have kind of replaced email. If you don't accept texts, you are missing out. 98% of the people text me, I have it on my card that I accept texts. I'd rather text, it helps me keep track of what I said and when I said it. I think a text is the best thing since electricity.

2 cards for me plays in to my marketing and it has paid off time and again. When I was out of the one cards that I give to potential customers, I saw the texts fall 80%. But if I gave that same card to someone that has already bought from me, it wouldn't make any sense to them because of what it says on it. Starting this weekend I will have the cards with the rounded corners and I want to see if it makes a difference one way or the other. But I can tell you that the 2 different cards does make a difference if you plan your marketing towards them. I'd say it depends on your business. If you are in sales you can really make 2 cards work for you.

I do not have them on pdf, I just go to Vista Print. Every time I've tried to use local printers they have sky high prices and long wait times so I stopped asking around.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 11:19:14 PM by SC93 »

llorona

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 09:16:29 PM »
I'm not a fan of Vista Print for business cards. This may have changed in the past several years, but while the quality was decent, the business cards were smaller than standard size. 

For me, Moo.com strikes the right balance. I've got the plain "original" business cards - they're double-sided with vibrant colors and printed on a nice quality premium paper that really feels good to the touch. They're a little pricey, but you might be able to find a promo code.

Rural

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 10:18:41 PM »
I'm not a fan of Vista Print for business cards. This may have changed in the past several years, but while the quality was decent, the business cards were smaller than standard size. 

For me, Moo.com strikes the right balance. I've got the plain "original" business cards - they're double-sided with vibrant colors and printed on a nice quality premium paper that really feels good to the touch. They're a little pricey, but you might be able to find a promo code.


Vistaprint cards are standard size.

SC93

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2017, 01:39:21 AM »
I'd say in the last few years Vista Print has stepped it up a notch. I ordered from them 15 years ago and it was junk. I should get the rounded corner ones in the mail tomorrow (today actually 2:38am local).

2Cent

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2017, 04:30:29 AM »
Plain and simple cards with information are good for giving details. Instead of luxury cards for extra attention, just get some nicknack. Maybe a bottle opener, or a mini wrench, or led flashlight with your name and number on it. People will keep and remember those much more.

Snow

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2017, 07:06:20 AM »
Plain and simple cards with information are good for giving details. Instead of luxury cards for extra attention, just get some nicknack. Maybe a bottle opener, or a mini wrench, or led flashlight with your name and number on it. People will keep and remember those much more.

On the other side of that coin, I really dislike it when businesses do that. Give me a nice, flat, easily organizable piece of paper I can put in with the rest any time, instead of more plastic junk (that I am more likely to refuse in the first place) that doesn't stack well and just adds up to the pile of stuff I don't really need. If I need a bottle opener, I buy one. And I will research even such a small purchase to make sure I end up with one that will last me a lifetime and is sustainable.

iHerb does this every single time. There is always some useless shit with their name on it along with what I actually ordered. It is making me increasingly reluctant to order from them in the first place. I already know your name, I ordered from you!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 07:08:21 AM by Snow »

SC93

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2017, 11:21:38 AM »
Just so happens I mentioned this yesterday on another site.

In the 90's I was at an antique store in Lincoln, Nebraska and saw the owners business card and it still stands out in my mind. The front only had the name of the store and phone number (before emails). On the back it said this, "I hope I die in my sleep like my grandfather and not like the people screaming in the back seat of his car".

At first I was like... WTF?? But all these years later it must have been a great card for me to remember it about 25 years later. lol Funny thing is, this card made him a sale. In 2012 we were up in Lincoln and we stopped in because I remembered the place. My wife bought 3 necklaces from the guy.

HipGnosis

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2017, 04:38:35 PM »
Plain and simple cards with information are good for giving details. Instead of luxury cards for extra attention, just get some nicknack. Maybe a bottle opener, or a mini wrench, or led flashlight with your name and number on it. People will keep and remember those much more.

On the other side of that coin, I really dislike it when businesses do that. Give me a nice, flat, easily organizable piece of paper I can put in with the rest any time, instead of more plastic junk (that I am more likely to refuse in the first place) that doesn't stack well and just adds up to the pile of stuff I don't really need. If I need a bottle opener, I buy one. And I will research even such a small purchase to make sure I end up with one that will last me a lifetime and is sustainable.

iHerb does this every single time. There is always some useless shit with their name on it along with what I actually ordered. It is making me increasingly reluctant to order from them in the first place. I already know your name, I ordered from you!
I think it really depends on your product and target market.  I think refrigerator magnets are really good for local product or service, esp. if it's something people might want or need in a hurry someday.  I have one on my fridge with the signs of heart attack and what to do and some Co. name and number under it.  Though I just realized; if I ever NEED what that Co. sells, I won't think to look at my fridge...

SC93

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2017, 10:30:25 PM »
Business card got me another sale today! $0.08 to make $500.00, I'd say a pretty good investment. :)

cchrissyy

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2017, 10:41:32 PM »
when i had a job that needed cards, I used Overnight Prints because the quality was much better than VistaPrint. They looked and felt so much nicer. When we shipped packages we always included a business card if mailing somewhere far away and a brochure if local. I also had business cards with my personal info to hand out at trade shows (to B2B contacts not end customers).

anyway, I fall on the side of emailing or making yourself easily found online. I can't possibly guess show many business cards I tossed directly into recycling that came in the mail or walk-ins to my office. in about a decade as CEO I can only think of a couple business cards I ever wanted or ever kept and the rest went instantly into the paper recycling bin. seriously. I feel a bit bad for everybody who put money or effort into getting them in my sight, it was completely wasted.  honestly though the same thing goes to anybody who left voicemails or email trying to sell me something. instantly deleted.

Imma

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Re: How important (and how much do you spend) on business cards?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2017, 10:31:56 AM »
It also depends on the business you're in.

I keep business cards from tradespeople we've done business with. For those kind of business cards, I prefer a card of universal size that has all the necessary information. I don't care much what the business card of a plumber looks like, as long as it has his phone number on it so I can reach him. Those are also the type of cards you need to leave on bulletin boards. All the information people need and not much more.

On the other hand, if your card is meant to sell some sort of product, it should look in line with the product you're selling. I once received a very badly designed business card from someone I knew from school and bumped into years later. The guy was a website designer ...  I also remember a clear plastic business card from a solicitor in a fancy line of work - sales of luxury properties. Years later, I remember the card, but I also remember you could barely read the business info on it and I remember thinking 'if you are using these type of business cards, you are certainly overcharging your customers'. Your card should be well designed and of good quality, but classy, not flashy.

For that reason I'm not sure about plastic nicknacks either: while they certainly make people think about your company every time they use it, plastic junk is generally thrash and you don't want that association with your company. If you're in a more high end business, handing out luxury pens with your company name might be a better idea than cheap plastic pens. I received a branded Parker metal pen from a business relation years ago and still use it. You don't throw a pen like that away and you don't damage your reputation by spreading plastic junk.