Two weeks ago, I asked you, the readers, for your input. Thank you so much for filling out the survey! I asked if you were interested in selling your work, and 66% of you answered that yes, you sell your work, or that you would like to start. So, I will be adding some Beading Business posts every now and then. Today, I want to talk about a basic branding & marketing tool: business cards.
As a beader, how are you supposed show people how creative and talented you are without handing them a piece of your work? Peyote-stitched business cards are not the answer, but you can re-vamp your existing business cards to make them work harder for you. Sean D’Souza of Psycho Tactics provided this list and explanation, and I added the beader’s perspective.
How to Maximize the Impact of Your Business Cards
Who Are You And What’s In It For Me?
Design is all very fine in a business card, but what about your positioning? How is your business unique when compared to other businesses? And how does it help the receiver of the card? It’s something you must take the time to think about, because that positioning plays a prominent part in a business card. For instance, we had a client who fixed computers. Now there are a dime a dozen computer people out there, but his business became extremely defined when he positioned himself. It now said XYZ Computer Company-Taking the fat out of computers. That positioning not only defined what he did, but it established his usefulness to them in a very precise manner.
*Think about what makes your beadwork unique and special to you. Use words like customized or original (and their synonyms), or maybe a word that describes the style of your work. The word “you” is one of the most powerful words in the English language, and I would recommend using it as well.
Graphic Design That’s Not National Geographic!
Some people stuff everything into their card design. Your business card is not a map; it’s often the first impression people get of your business. Which is why simplicity pays. Follow the principle of 3. Don’t exceed 3 elements, 3 fonts and preferably 3 colors. People find it hard to concentrate on a large number of elements and your central message gets lost in a mishmash of color and fonts.
*As beaders, we would call the approach the “less is more” approach. It works for craft booths, why wouldn’t it work for business cards? I used this approach to design BeadCircle.com as well.
Sort Out The Information
What do you need? What can you drop? Which number is most important? Which pieces of information do you group together? Do you really need that postal address or can you relegate it to your letterhead (where you have more space). Take hard decisions and keep only what’s totally necessary to get in touch with you.
*Many of us beaders work at home, and its not always a good idea to give out your home address anyways. If you really want to add a postal address, I would suggest renting a P.O. box. I find that the website url, email, and phone number are the most useful to customers.
Give Your Card A Backbone!
Your card has two sides. Make sure you use both. It might just be an explanation of what you do, or some useful information, or even a discount of sorts. You can convey a lot more on the back because you don’t have the restriction of contact details and visuals.
*Beaders, this is where you can show some creativity. Anything from “free shipping” (or other discount codes) to the best photo of your best piece can go here. I’ll leave this one up to you ; )
Coke Does It. Nike Does It. Why Don’t You?
Everyone knows a picture says more than a thousand words, yet they fail to apply it in real life. Visual branding is extremely important. Look at McDonalds–
Their double arc is everywhere, and you know at one glance where to find your next burger. Use the same concept for your business card and spend time and money to develop a strong visual branding image. It pays off in the long run.
*As beaders, we are detail oriented. For a visual brand, I suggest thinking of something more simple and iconic. Open up Microsoft Office and flip through the clip art for ideas. What icon would convey the design of beadwork you make, or even your personality? Bold and daring or simple yet elegant? You could even choose a cool stamp for a logo, and hand-stamp your cards for a personal touch. For the Bead Circle logo, I worked with Erin of EdUB Graphic Art & Design. I highly recommend her!
Who Are You, Mr. Font?
Zillions of fonts float around, yet only some can define the style and mood of your company. Fonts vary from flowery, strong, elegant, to loud and extreme. Be sure to use stark contrast in typography. This can be done by varying type size, weight, color or style or a combination of these. Also, consider the fact that people with spectacles are going to read your information. Make sure your font size is legible enough. It’s no use having all that information, if no one can read it.
*The font you choose should also reflect the personality of you and/or your beadwork. I like how Sean calls it “the mood of your company.” Check out 1001 Free Fonts for ideas.
Now For The Final Run
Always check with your printer before printing. A serif font might not be the best to use in 6 point. If your fonts are going to be really tiny, you’re better off choosing a sans serif. First print it out on your laser or desk-jet printer. Test it on your colleagues. If it doesn’t work with them, it’s never going to work.
*I use VistaPrint, and get a couple free batches of cards. I can tweak my design and get some nicer ones printed after I’m totally satisfied. I like to have a pretty good supply for craft show goody bags etc.
Give out your cards like candy.
Use your cards to get yourself known. The best opportunity to get a card from a potential client is to give yours first. Use it when you’re paying bills, in elevators or just about anywhere. If it’s attractive, informative, well branded and positioned, most people will hold on to it and use it to give or refer business back to you!
*What Sean says I believe to be true, but if the potential customer seems totally uninterested, I would refrain. I do suggest carrying them with you though. I have sold a few necklaces right off my neck, and its great to be able to give them a card as well. Most of your business will come from repeat customers, so they need your information. Do send them along with your orders, and in bags at craft shows.
©2001-2009 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.
*all starred items written by Mandi Ainsworth
What do you think? Has this article helped you with your business card design? What do you plan to do differently? What other bead business topics would you like to see addressed? Please share with us in the comments!