Business Card Do’s and Don’ts

As we mentioned previously, a business card is one of your, or your contact’s, most important pieces of marketing material.  So, with that in mind, here are a few things to remember to help you make a great first, or continued, impression:


  • Have a professionally designed card. Ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward visually.  I will say again, who would take a photographer seriously if they have a poorly designed card, particularly with bad images on it? And make sure it’s consistent with the rest of your marketing material!
  • Make your card as memorable as possible. Good colours, unique die cut, photo of you or a major product, something that will help someone remember who you are after they get home.
  • Keep your cards somewhere where they won’t get damaged – a dog-eared business card is tacky!  Besides, a nice card holder can look very professional!
  • Present your card well.  Don’t just throw it on the table in front of your contact, with your right hand, or both, place it in their hand right side up, facing them.  Some Asian cultures take business cards very seriously and can be offended if the card is presented haphazardly! (Reference Video)
  • Look at someone’s card when you receive it.  Not only does it signify genuine interest in your contact but you could find out something to talk about from the card and have a better connection for it!  Compliments are great too!


  • Print off your cards yourself – if you don’t take yourself seriously enough to have one of the easiest marketing tools look good, what does that say about your company?
  • Have an oddly shaped business card that’s larger by height or width than traditional cards.  Most people have standard storage systems and if your card is too wide, tall, etc, they may not keep your card.  A unique shape can  be memorable to a degree, but be reasonable!
  • Run out of cards!  Ensure you have a generous supply that you can easily re-stock your card holder, suit jacket pocket, purse, etc, from.  And if you’re going to a networking event always bring more than enough.  Someone may bring a guest, extra people come, or maybe you’ll make a great contact that wants to be able to hand out cards for you – you’d want to be able to give him at least half a dozen cards, right?
  • Write on cards you receive in front of the person who gave it to you.  If you must write notes on the card wait until after your meeting, it can be very insulting, particularly in some different cultures.
  • Stuff someone’s card into your pants pocket, particularly rear pockets, as you receive it, particularly in front of them. Put it on the table in front of you or in a business card holder.  If you need a space why not in the back of the card holder you use for your own cards?  You likely just made a space when you gave the person your card anyhow!

Keep these things in mind the next time you go networking – or go grab a coffee – you never know when you’ll run into a great contact.  And a great way to remember how to treat a card well is to treat the card as you would treat the person.

This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Monday, November 8th, 2010 at 7:00 am and is filed under Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.