Business Card Design: We Can Do Better People!

For every sleek, professionally designed business card I come across I encounter twice as many poorly constructed, clip-art riddled cards that just need to be put out of their misery! Now I have to admit that I have wanted to write on this topic for a while, but the catalyst for this blog came from a friend who recently gave me his card, as I wanted to refer his business.

My friend, we’ll call him John Smith, owns a very well established roofing company in the area. His company is highly regarded in the community and I know he does good work. So when John handed me his card my expectation was that it would reflect those traits in his company – boy was I mistaken!

The text on the card might as well have been a word jumble and the lack of contrast between the graphics and information made for a lackluster card at best. So upon critiquing the card, I said “John, you have a great company, but this card does not do it justice”. We continued to discuss the card and by the end of the conversation I had a few suggestions for him as to how he could spruce up the card and make it more organized.

With that being said, below I have outlined some of the basics to help you make sure your business card is something you’ll be proud to hand out at your next client meeting, networking function, or whatever the case may be:

Layout:

Your business card is composed of two primary elements – text and graphics. The way that these two elements interact with one another goes a long way in determining the overall success or failure of the design.  Here are a few things to remember when looking at the layout of the card:

Alignment: As a rule of thumb, it is best to use one type of alignment for text (left, center, or right justified). This helps the reader focus on the information and keeps the design cleaner and more readable.

Rule of Thirds: The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental technique applied in photography and design, and these principles can definitely be applied to your card’s layout. The Rule of Thirds dictates that if your layout is divided into nine equal parts, the graphic elements are placed along the intersecting lines of the grid. This creates balance within the design and gives more prominent graphics better visual impact.

Color/Contrast:

The contrast that is created between the color of type and graphic elements is very important in a business card. The type’s color compared to other colors/graphics should create a strong contrast. Color schemes that are too similar again make it difficult for the reader to focus on the information.

Consider Figures 1A and 1B and notice the difference in readability and overall appeal between the two. Figure 1A displays noticeable contrast between the text and the other graphics, whereas with Figure 1B the text does not distinguish itself from the rest of the design.

So how does my card stack up?

If you’d like to get a second opinion on your current card’s design or are looking for a few tips as to how you can really make yours stand out from the crowd feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

pgarcher@c-3group.com

It’s Not Too Late to Determine Your 2012 Marketing Budget

One of the most overlooked components of a small business budget for a given year is often the marketing spend – especially in a time of recession. A common school of thought is that marketing should be the first thing to go, but in reality you must adhere to the old adage “you must spend money to make money.”

Your marketing budget should be looked at as an investment in your company, not an expense. Creating a marketing budget is important as it serves as a guide to ensure that you are staying on target with estimated costs vs. the actual costs, preventing the risk of overspending.

Clients often ask how much they should allot for marketing while finalizing their budget for the coming fiscal year. A common guideline to follow is allocating 2-10% of your annual sales, though this amount will vary based on factors such as the type of industry your company is in and whether your business is new or established.

A more few tips to help you get started are:

  • Develop a marketing plan. One of the best ways to determine your budget is to draft a marketing plan for the next year based on the needs of your business. Are you positioned correctly in your industry? Are there areas of your business you would like to grow? Answering questions such as these will help ensure your marketing dollars align with your company goals.
  • Don’t commit your budget to just one or two activities. Test different strategies to see how you can best reach your target audience. In addition, utilizing multiple techniques can help you reach a wider audience. Determine what works best for YOU.
  • If something is working, stick to it. Many companies make the mistake of ditching a technique that is working for them as they get bored with it. You can always test new messages or a fresh creative without altogether abandoning a proven tactic.  If it’s not broken, why fix it?
  • Remember the 6:1 rule—it takes six times as many dollars to bring in a new customer as it takes to retain a current customer. Don’t forget to invest in campaigns or initiatives for current customers. Allocate your budget accordingly.

With a little creativity and planning, you can turn a few dollars into a lot of exposure for your company. If you would like more information about preparing an efficient SMB marketing budget, contact us with your questions: apollock@c-3group.com