Monday, November 23, 2009

How to get the "Wow" Factor with Business Cards

Very early on in my career, I experimented with different business cards, trying to find a card that would stand out, a card that would not get thrown away after I handed it to someone. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on cards, but I wanted something that had a classy look and feel, because to me, harp music is classy. I found a wonderful deep burgundy paper that looked almost like velvet.

I printed my information with silver ink on that card, and when I passed it out, people exclaimed in glee, “Ooooo!” I knew I was on to something. They were intrigued about my music and asked me questions about my music, fees, and availability, all because of the look and feel of that little card.

In truth, you’ll want to hear that reaction from all the materials in your promo package. Get this response from your business card, and then design the look and feel of all your other materials around it.

Here are just a few guidelines to having them printed:
1. Stick with the standard business card size (2'' × 3½''). It should fi t into a wallet easily. Avoid having your business cards printed on paper, or other materials, that are too thick.

2. Include your name, area code and phone number, email address and website address. Optional additions to your card may be your cell number, fax number, and mailing address. If you are in a band or ensemble, print the name of the group and the contact name or leader of the group, if it isn’t you.

Don’t forget to include the identity statement and any artwork that also appears on your stationery. Running out of room on your card for all the necessary information? You can also use the back of your card. However, I caution against doing this, only because sometimes people will want to write down notes about you on the back of your business card, and they fi nd that blank space useful.

If you want to include a lot of information on your business cards, consider printing “ tent cards”. These cards fold in half to be the same size as standard business cards. You can print all kinds of extra information inside of the fold. Tent cards can also stand up on tables, which may come in handy for table display in a bridal boutique or at a bridal fair.

3. Be creative with special colors of ink, card stock, and typestyle to match the identity you want to convey. For example, if you specialize in early music, your cardstock could look like parchment paper and you could choose a gothic typestyle. Just be sure you choose a font style and size that is easy to read!

Business cards do not have to be an expensive investment. In fact, if you are just starting out and have few funds for printing promo materials, you can get by with just your business cards and some matching stationery. If you have a laser printer, you can print business cards from your computer. A number of word processing programs come with business card templates, and the card stock can be purchased at an office supply store. If you go this do-it-yourself route, make sure your cards and stationary look as good as if they were designed and printed by a professional print shop. If not, your business cards will send an underlying message to potential clients that you are “cheap”, implying that you are not a professional class act.

If you decide to shop at a discount office supply store, they usually offer business card and letterhead printing services, but their selection of inks, typestyles, and papers may be limited. I have found some very unique online catalogues that sell beautiful matching business cards, stationery, and envelopes. Do a Google search on the terms “business cards” and “stationery”, and you’ll find a number of ready-made designs to have imprinted with your information.

The letterhead you choose should be created around your business card design. Again, think in terms of sending a uniform message to your client about who you are. Be generous when passing out your cards. Business cards, when properly designed to cause the “Ooooo!” response, are your strongest promotional commodity.

Copyright © 2008 by Anne Roos, excerpt from "The Musician's Guide to Brides: How to Make Money Playing Weddings", published by Hal Leonard Books. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced in any form, without written permission, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review.

Hundreds of additional tips, are available for musicians (and all entrepreneurs) in my book, "The Musician's Guide to Brides" available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, Sylvia Woods Harp Center catalog, and of course, at my website at

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