I collect business cards as a hobby. My friend, another photographer, got me started on this a long time ago and it’s been useful in so many ways.
Not only do I have a long list of contacts, but I have hundreds of great examples to show students when I teach marketing and building a brand.
Some business cards are amazing. You can tell the effort that goes into them, some are ok and some you have to wonder what they were thinking. I’m specifically looking at one guy I went to university with who insisted in dressing like a piece of bacon. Not only did he hand out bacon business cards but he also had them hickory smoked.
Often when we first start out building our businesses things such business cards have to take a hit, meaning we’ll spend less money on them. There are so many start up costs that we have to balance and budget and we need to spend less on certain things. However, with the advent of the internet, our webpage, Instagram and Facebook channels become our business cards where we display our best work.
Plus business cards can be expensive and socially media is (technically) free.
But if we need business cards, where do we turn to for inspiration if you’re not a hoarder like I am?
The best thing to do is start with some kind of an idea in mind. If you’re drawing blanks, Google business card ideas and you’ll turn up hundreds, if not thousands of samples for you to peruse through. Get some ideas and start there.
Next, figure out your budget. Like it was mentioned before, business cards can get very expensive. If you want some fancy high tech ones be prepared to pay, but also realize that not everyone really cares about fancy and high tech. Most people will politely take your business card and just lose it or place it where they will never look at it again (also known as losing it.)
Then find a place to print and my suggestion is look hard at your options. If you factor in shipping, will that break your budget? Where are they coming from? How long will it take to get them?
Lastly, once you get them, don’t hand them out to everyone. Keep a few samples for yourself safely tucked away for future reference. If you like them, you can use them again, or perhaps you may want to tweak a thing or two.
I once had business cards as well, and they had my photos on the front and information on the back. They are expensive and pretty and not really helpful for picking up clients. Now though, I am simpler. Last year when I was in Japan, I picked up some die-cut cards that are usually used for messages ($1 for a pack of 30) in various animal shapes. Not only are they super cute and inexpensive, they’re also very memorable and I can guarantee that no one will have the same ones I do in my city. I just write any contact info the person needs in the blank spot and it works perfectly.
And as I continue to add to my collection, I’ll add a few of these in as well because when we look back on our careers, it's interesting to see what we did and why.
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