- "You should use the back of your business card (so it's not wasted)."
I'm not sure where this advice originated. But it is gets repeated all the time. I guess it sounds good.
But if you've ever exchanged business cards with someone, attended a networking event, or sorted through business cards you've collected, then you know that is advice is just silly.
I collect business cards. Just recently I started researching a CRM system so I could upload contacts of various kinds and not have to hit any limits. So I started adding up my "lists" of contacts. 8,200 here. 3,500 there. 4,200 in this one. 3,700 in that one. 1,200 in a related list. etc.
The point is: I've collected a LOT of business cards over the last sixteen years. Some are consultants; some are clients; some are media connections; some are vendors. And so forth.
When I come back to the office with a fist full of business cards, they need to be processed. Processed. What does that mean? It means that I put them into piles. Some I throw away. Some are very important. Some I promised to send a link or an article. A few I promised an email. Some I want to pitch an idea to.
You get the idea.
1) They need to be sorted into appropriate piles
2) Some of them require follow-up
ALL of them need a note about where I met them, the circumstances, and anything interesting about that connection.
Where do I write those notes? On The Back of The Business Card!
Oh, but wait. There's crap all over the back of the card. It's dark colored, or has a graph, or a table, or some list of useless links.
The point is: I can't write on the back of the card if there's no place to write!
Seriously. There are people who collect your business cards and people who don't. The people who don't collect cards don't matter. Period. They will never see the back of your card.
The people who DO collect business cards are pretty consistent in their behavior: They turn it over and write a note about where they met you, when they met you, notes about what they promised you, and other miscellaneous notes.
Now it's up to you: Will you give them a place to write the notes, or will you take it up with self-serving gimmicks that only take up space?
- - - - -
Bonus Extra Pet Peeves
If you print your business cards sideways, 90% of the people who collect business cards will not take you seriously. Some (me included), will simply throw them away.
You don't print your resume or your letterhead in landscape format. Why? Because it's just not done that way. We live in a society where business forms are determined by the norms set down by others.
You might think you're creative or cute. Your marketing adviser might think that sideways printing makes you stand out and be unique. They're wrong. If you want to stand out, wear suspenders and rainbow-striped pants. But print your business cards like a business professional!
There are people who collect your business cards and people who don't. The people who don't collect cards don't matter. The people who collect business cards expect a normal card. Give it to them.
2) Laser Perf
What the heck? If you're a computer consultant, and you have any idea what you're doing, then you charge at least $100 per hour.
Don't use laser perf business cards.
"Free" cards from Vista Print with a logo on the back are better than laser perf.
There are approximately 9,422,871 digital printers that will sell you a small stack of business cards for almost nothing. 9,422,871 of them are better than making your own with laser perf cards.
There are people who collect your business cards and people who don't. The people who don't collect cards don't matter. The people who collect business cards will make fun of you if you have a laser perf card.
Okay. Back to the question of writing a note or two on the card. Back or front doesn't matter. If the card is glossy, I can't write anything on it.
99.9% of the time, when I come across a glossy card, I use it to demonstrate the fact that they're stupid and useless. I try to write "I can't write" on the back of the card. It looks like crap. Then I throw it away to conclude the demonstration.
The lesson: Glossy cards are completely useless.
Okay. To be fair, they're useful to people who simply scan cards into a database. And completely useless to the other 95% of the people you hand a card to.
There are people who collect your business cards and people who don't. The people who don't collect cards don't matter. The people who collect business cards will be really disappointed that you have a glossy card.
- - - - -
I'm sorry if this post makes me seem like an arrogant bastard. But this is serious stuff. Most people don't really care about your business card. But those who do have standards! They're not high. In fact, they're amazingly mundane. They're easy to achieve. They are a lot like picking window shades for a rental apartment. The closer to beige, the better!
In other words, the more bland your business card, the better.
It should be useful, not pretentious.
Like everything else, think about your business purpose for your business cards. Drop all the cutesy crap and put more energy into maximizing what your business card is intended to do: The basics.
Check Out the #1 ranked Managed Services book at Amazon:
Managed Services in A Month
by Karl W. Palachuk
Buy it as a printed book, Audio CD, or ebook!