Business cards range from photo quality images with a logo and name on it to veritable books, though both of these extremes are inappropriate for most business cards. What are the key elements of the modern business card? What must the business card have, and what elements are optional?
Your Contact Information
If nothing else, your business card must include all of the necessary contact information. This includes your name, business name, phone number and business address at a minimum. For sole service providers, you might be able to drop the physical address and use an email address and phone number instead. For creative types like photographers, an email and phone number are appropriate. Try to have a business related email address, and you’ll get extra points if the email address is based off your web domain.
Social media profiles are a nice to have but often distract from the core content. On the other hand, putting your website on the business card is generally a plus. Note that this could be done by putting dot-com after the business name if that’s your domain. And know that the business’ local search optimization is boosted by having the exact same NAP (name, address phone number) information down to the format on the website as you have on your card.
Your Visual Representation
Business cards should contain a visual representation of your business. After all, humans are a visual species. Your business logo on the back of the business card and in the corner of the business card beside your contact information is one approach. Having a stylized image that quickly communicates the service you provide is another. For example, wedding photographers can have a light outline of a bride and groom on the business card. Family portrait artists could show a sketch of a happy family without having to worry about having a great and universally appealing family portrait on the back of the business card. If you take photos of models for their portfolio, hint at this with the decorative elements on your business card instead of showing off other people’s head shots.
The Relevant Extras
Once you have the core elements of the business card in place, you can start to consider the relevant extras. For example, if you meet the first two requirements, you consider having a QR code on the back of the business card others can scan to take them to your online portfolio. Your logo or stylized images should communicate what you offer to people in addition to your business name or job title. If you have space and time, then you can add a tag line or a short list of services you provide. Just don’t turn it into a laundry list of 15 items; that clutters the business card and hurts your image with prospective clients.
Consider repeating the message on the front and back of the business card in different ways to reinforce the main message. For example, have your logo, business name and web domain on the back of the business card while the front resembles a standard business card.