When I was younger, I used to collect baseball cards. I took great pride in sorting through them, organizing them by number and year, protecting the most valuable in plastic sleeves and memorizing all of the details printed on the back of the cards. I had a pretty large collection for a kid, and I spent a lot of time on them.
However, time has slipped somehow, and I no longer have my old dirt bike to ride to the store for a pack of baseball cards.
Instead, I have found a new hobby! The REAL reason I go to Affiliate Summits is to further my addiction to BUSINESS CARD COLLECTING.
It was quite a natural progression, actually. The cards are similar in size, and I can still use the same plastic sleeves and binders I used for the baseball cards.
SO. What better way for me to prepare for my next round of Card Gathering than to share with you some of my collection?
Business cards are usually pretty standard. They’re typically 3.5 inches wide, 2 inches tall, printed horizontally with basic contact info and a logo. HOWEVER … there are some standouts in my collection! I’ll tell you a little about what makes some of them stand out …
1: Use of QR Code
QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are those strange square images that have a unique black and white pattern inside. When “scanned” (I use my iPhone’s Qrafter app, though I’ve also used RedLaser) it will provide a data response, whether a website or an email, or a person’s basic contact information.
Here are a couple of examples of QR Codes being used on cards …
Dave Cupples had a great panel at the last Affiliate Summit, but on his business card (Fat Cow Business) his QR Code is so DENSE, it took me two minutes of trying to get the reader to scan it. If I were a normal person, I would have given up. However, Tim Wisner’s card (his title is “race car driver”, by the way – very clever) beings you right to their URL for mediamagnetic.com. It took a split second to scan it. And then Stefanie Amini’s card (nicely made for adstract.com) has a simple script font subtly telling you what to do. That’s good – people need to be told what to do. And I bet she has a better response because of it.
2: Die cut cards.
This is a technique that can be used to great effect. It’s when the card is cut in a way that is custom to the elements on the card. For example, it could be a logo, like Has Offers or ClickNKids … this is a way to make your cards stand out. Though of course it depends on the image you are trying to present. If you’re an attorney, you might not want a cutely trick on your card. You would want a more somber, elegant presentation.
3: Print styles
I am a big fan of Spot UV and metallics. It’s impressive how a card can stand out due to just parts of it being emphasized with the glossy UV coating, and the rest of it staying matte. Or part of it printing with metallic inks … wow, that can really make it pop. John Rampton from Maple North has a great looking card using the spot UV. Adam Mai from Rate Special also used spot UV effectively with card sprinted through Gotham Press … a little can go a long way, and their simple use was just right.
Also, the use of rounded corners … I approve, depending on the company.
4: Great Art
I met Jen Goode last year at the buy.at party in New York, and spent way too much time just looking at the creative talent displayed on her card. It’s great … as an artist, she really did a great job presenting herself. Plus, it has a fairly traditional flip side, so you can still get her contact information easily.
5: Make Me an Offer
I like what Jill Swartwout did with her card for checksaffiliates.com. Along with having the info clearly presented with the branding for her check offers, the backside of her card had a specific action … “Sign Up” etc.
Now, there were also a few cards that I figured I would include as an illustration of what I did NOT like …
First of all, don’t make your cards to be just a LITTLE taller than everyone else’s. That’s annoying … like a card equivalent of a pop-up ad. Make yourself stand out on your own merits – not because your card sticks up a little higher. Makes me want to throw those out.
Most importantly … INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION! The point of a card is to share your contact information, right? Make sure to do this! I’m not going throw him under the bus, but there is one guy I had the pleasure of meeting who I think had a lot going for him, but he had to handwrite his email address on his business card. He had his website printed on it, as well as biographical information, but no phone or email.
Oops – I almost forgot the most important aspect of business cards … they almost always have phone numbers and emails of the people you meet! How cool is that. So USE them. Organize them, make notes on who you meet, and get back in touch with them quickly via email if possible.
SO! I can’t wait to get to the summit and see what cards I get to add to my collection. It’s even possible I will use some of them for their intended purpose.