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Creative Designs That Are Innovating the Ways We Use Business Cards (With Free Templates)

When you think of a business card, your first thought is probably of the traditional, contact info centered design that pretty much all businesses are using in one form or another. They’re perfect for trading contact info on the fly and providing a way for prospects met in passing to get in touch with you in the future should they ever need your product or service at a later date.

The traditional business card design is an extremely efficient and effective use for such a small product format (usually a 3.5” x 2” flat piece on thicker stock).

While size may seem to be a limiting factor for this format at first, a creative approach to its design allows us to imagine new possibilities that open the branding and marketing opportunities it offers.

Here are 12 of the most creative and innovative designs for business card sized products out there, along with some design elements to help you get started designing your own today:

1. Event Tickets

One of the many possible uses for a business card sized product is as an event ticket. Whether they’re for an athletics event, a school prom or a dramatic production, business card-sized tickets are the best and most versatile option.

Unlike other traditional ticket printers, a commercial printer allows anyone printing business card-sized tickets to submit their own design, enabling them to print tickets that adhere to their visual brand standards.

Variable data printing adds an extra layer of customization, allowing a customer to provide a pre-determined set of important ticket details such as event time/date, seat number or ticket number.

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2. Raffle Entry Slips/Tickets

Raffles are some of the most commonly used marketing tools for events and tradeshows in which a business allows people (either with or without specific qualifications) to submit their business card or a name (usually along with contact information like that found on business cards) into a drawing that will be held later in the event or afterwards.

Since business card raffles would exclude anyone who doesn’t have a business card on them, it’s important to provide some alternative method for entering in the contest so no one feels left out. This is where the business-card sized raffle ticket comes in handy.

For raffles and other contest drawings, it is essential to have a well-designed entry slip or form, so entrants understand what they are entering a drawing for, what information they need to provide you with to be qualified, and what the relevant rules and procedures of the drawing are.

In the process of gathering participants, a business is also gathering a contact list of entrants who were present at the event at one point or another. This list can be used for marketing purposes or any other follow-up communication a business might wish to have with their entrants. Since the entrants would most likely be people from the same industry or prospective customers, it would be everything a business could desire in a marketing list.

Raffles are a great marketing tactic, and in the end, they keep costs low since they only cost you as much as your prizes and ticket printing cost.

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3. Customer Loyalty Cards

Customer loyalty programs come in many shapes and sizes across almost all industries. Not only are they important for encouraging customers to come back in the future, but they can also be a vital part of any business’ strategy for retaining and grooming their existing loyal customers. By providing perks for being a repeat customer, a business encourages customers to keep coming back while offering benefits that demonstrate their gratitude for their customers repeat patronage.

This can lead to especially strong loyalty if the customer finds the benefits to be of value, or if they think your product is good enough to come back for more.

Whether you use stickers, a uniquely shaped hole-punch, or a blacklight/invisible ink marker, be sure to make your method of checking your customers’ boxes unique and difficult to impossible for your customers to reproduce on their own.

The more creative you are with your authentication methods for checking off boxes, the more your customers will notice and be even more intrigued about your program.

Customer loyalty programs are fantastic for growing your business, and by using business cards to print your loyalty cards for customers, you can save tons of money on print and perforation and still get a well-branded, beautiful loyalty program card in the end.

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4. Short Survey Forms

For many businesses or organizations, surveys that provide customer feedback are vital for informing their efforts to improve their products or services. These surveys can take on a variety of formats, from digital pop-ups on their websites to mailed multi-page business reply surveys.

While these surveys all seek to accomplish the same thing, they aren’t all equally effective at gathering information on the opinions and feelings of your customers. Research shows that surveys need to stay short to increase the probability that a customer will follow through with submitting the information requested.

What better way to present short surveys to your customers than in one of the shortest printed formats? Business cards provide the excellent canvas for presenting a few short answer or multiple choice survey questions to customers.

Then, all you need to provide for a customer to submit their feedback is a writing utensil and some sort of receptacle for collecting responses.

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5. Request for Info Form

In many situations, a customer may wish to either be contacted by you in the future or be added to a contact list for a certain product or service you offer. Whether they would like to request a demonstration of a particular product you offer or would like to subscribe for your weekly blog email list, a short-form request for info form may be the easiest way to sign up.

By simply asking for some basic contact information and providing a multiple-choice format for customers to indicate what they want to receive information about in the future, you’ve created a basic request for information sheet that will help your interested customers self-identify and receive the product demonstrations they need to make a purchasing decision.

While a person may be in a rush or unable to speak with you at a conference or trade show, they can easily submit requests for follow-up information or demonstrations using this super convenient request for information form.

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6. Price Tags or Hangtags

Whether they’re used to indicate the price of the item they’re appended to or used as a decorative branding opportunity to thank the customer for their purchase, hangtags and price tags are excellent examples of a creative design that repurposes the business card format.

Printing your very own hangtags could be as simple as printing a one-sided business card with your logo and location info and drilling a hole towards the left or right side of the card so you can attach it to your given product. Using this super basic version of a hangtag, you’d need only print specific bar codes or prices on your own labels and stick them to the blank side of the hangtags you ordered similar to how many large-scale retailers do.

Another option would be to provide your product names, prices and barcodes in a spreadsheet, so it can be processed as variable data printing for your given design. You’ll most likely need to get in touch with your printer to let them know that you’re interested in variably printing business cards/tags, but it’s a fairly simple, inexpensive thing to do if you choose a printer like Conquest Graphics to handle your variable data printing.

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7. Nameplate Cards for Office or Other Nametag Holders

Many nameplates that go outside office doors or on desk cubicles are the same size as a business card (3.5” x 2”) and easily allow you to insert a card with your desired information on it thorough a little slot on the side.

There are also a number of clear name tag pins or lanyards that take business card-sized slips of paper to change out the name information. Many businesses print nearly empty business cards with their personalized logo and a frame as a way of ensuring all the labels going in nameplates have a consistent design.

These kinds of nameplate placeholders can then be easily written or printed upon with a new office/cubicle holder.

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8. Appointment Reminder Cards

If you’ve ever scheduled an appointment with a doctor, dentist or therapist in person, you’ve probably received one of these before. Appointment reminder cards are excellent for giving to customers as a way of reminding them of their next scheduled appointment in a convenient, portable format.

Patients can then conveniently place their appointment reminder in their wallet so they won’t lose it before their scheduled visit.

Simply including the name of the doctor/dentist/therapist, the address and two blank spots for you to write the date and time are all you need to give your patients or customers a convenient reminder of their next appointment and ensure they’re not a no-show in the future.

Outside of the medical and psychological services industry, there are a number of other businesses that are based on clients meeting with them at scheduled times to deliver a service or good. Mechanics could use a business card to create appointment reminders for drivers to ensure they know the mileage at which they should next get their oil changed.

Appointment reminders could also be good for salespeople, recruiters or, more generally speaking, anyone that regularly makes appointments with their clients and customers.

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9. Mini Bookmarks

Business card sized pieces of paper are the perfect size for using as a bookmark. In this case, the design can be anything you desire. Whether you utilize this space as advertising space to promote your business or remind customers of your offerings, business cards are the perfect size for using as a business card that you can either pre-insert into materials for your customer or hand out individually as a freebie.

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10. Referral Cards

Referral cards are similar to customer loyalty programs, only they provide a certain deal for anyone that refers a friend or someone other than themselves to use your product or service. For example, you could offer an existing customer a special deal if they refer a friend and that friend has made their first purchase as a result.

Programs like these are highly effective, and they ensure that people talk about your product or service with at least one other person. To refer a friend, a customer also has to have a certain level of knowledge about your business to be able to pitch it well to their friend.

Printing business cards with space for customers to write in the necessary information for your referral system to work is one simple way run an offline version of a referral system. This is perfect for businesses where you’re already collecting a customer’s email address or at least their phone number when they make a purchase since this gives you an easy way to track which customers are repeat customers and which are new ones who have been referred by existing ones.

Referral programs come in an wide array of variations, so making sure your printed referral cards match your information requirements for someone to participate in your program is key.

Making sure the visual branding of the referral card is all that’s left to make sure you have a fantastic, on-brand referral card to give to customers when they make purchases.

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11. Coupons

Our final creative adaptation of the business card format is a coupon. While coupons are typically thought of as those super thin ones you receive in school or the mail, it’s possible to make your own high-quality coupons by printing them on a business card sized piece of card stock.

Heavier papers give the feeling of the coupon as being higher quality and maybe worthier of being kept.

When you publish coupons and give them to customers or mail them to people as inserts in another mailer you’re already sending them, it’s key to include an expiration date so your customers actually feel the need to come in sooner to make use of their coupon.

Using barcodes or special variably printed codes is one way to ensure your coupons are unique and that none of them are attempted more than once.

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12. Valet and Coat Check Stubs

If your organization or business regularly holds large scale events during which your event staff provide car valet parking and/or coat check services, it might seem hard to justify ordering a set of 5,000 specialized forms that don’t even have your branding or messaging on them.

Instead, order a small set of business cards with the necessary fields available and visual branding that enhances the visitor’s experience of your event.

Designing your own valet slips or coat check stubs allows you to have full control over the final design and format without costing as much as a specialized valet ticket printer would for customizing their printed ticket formats.

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Bonus: Folded Business Card Options

One of the surprising things that many people don’t even know about business cards is that you can get one that’s “double sized” and fold it in half so it folds to the same size as a basic business card.

These business cards can hold twice the amount of information inside their “inside fold” section. For example, a business may decide to include a pricing chart or a list of the services they offer on the inside portion.

With double the space, there are practically double the possibilities of how you could adapt a card like this to your business’ purposes so it’s more than just a plain old business card. For example, you could use it as a longer-format survey that asks customers for a few more details.

The inside fold could contain a map to your location or it could even just contain a little bit more text, so you can describe more complicated offerings and services in something more than just bullets.

You may also want to use a folded business card as your own personal business card so you can add a little more specific information on the inside than a normal business card would allow.

These double sized folded business cards are usually special order, so you will want to call your printer to place such an order. While it may cost a little extra for double the business cards, it’s worth it to stand out to those you give it to, and it can sometimes help provide answers to any simple questions a person or business may have about you that your normal business card couldn’t.

With each of these business card formats, there are an endless number of possibilities for how customization and unique branding can impact the final design. When it comes to printing your design, be sure to pick a printer that is capable of producing print of the highest quality.

Doing so will ensure that your final printed product is useful and exact to your design files.

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Creative Designs That Are Innovating the Ways We Use Business Cards (With Free Templates)

When you think of a business card, your first thought is probably of the traditional, contact info centered 3.5" x 2" design that pretty much all businesses are using in one form or another. But it's time to think outside of the box. This week, we highlight 12 of the most creative and innovative designs for business card sized products out there, along with some design elements to help you get started designing your own today.

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