Like a Horse and Carriage, Business Cards and Websites Go Together

A Blog by Linda Darlene

“Love and marriage!
Love and marriage!
They go together like a horse and carriage.
This, I tell you, brother,
you can’t have one without the other.”
~ Song with lyrics by Sammy Cahn and music by Jimmy Van Heusen.

Just as love and marriage go together as stated in the song from 1954, let’s make a case for websites and business cards being equally yoked. It’s easy to think that a website takes priority over a business card, but let’s consider if this is so.

horse and carriageAfter ten years using the same ole business card, I decided it was time for a change, so I set about designing a new one. I wanted the same branding, of course, like my website and Facebook page, so naturally, I placed my business logo and tagline on the card mockup. Then I struggled to get everything else on that card. I mean, I really struggled. I had all my essential information, such as my logo, tagline, title, unique selling proposition, and contact info, and a design that I found aesthetically pleasing. But, the new business card design ended up being too jam-packed.

My newly designed card looked — well, to be honest, it just looked okay. I told myself that at least it was something fresh and modern looking. Though not totally sold on the design myself, I sent it to my sister to critique. That should have been a clue that something was amiss. When I can’t figure out why I’m not passionate about a design, I tend to send it to someone hoping for some positive feedback. It’s always because I’m not ‘crazy about the design’ myself. When I LOVE something, I don’t particularly care what others think. 🙂

Light BulbWell, my sister’s response set off a light bulb.

She said, “Business cards are supposed to provide the person, phone, and location (web location is fine)…so people know how to reach you quickly. They don’t need a miniature website.”

Duh! My sister isn’t even a designer, but she hit the nail on the head. “They don’t need a miniature website.”

What was I thinking??? Why was I trying to reproduce my website home page on a small 3 1/2 x 2-inch card?

Calling Card 1800sSo what’s the essential difference in usage and design anyway between a business card and a website? Let’s explore some points.

Before the 18th century, the upper class used calling cards when someone visited a home. If the occupant was not present, a calling card with one’s name was left. They were also used as a means of introduction. These cards were truly bare-bones, with just the name of the owner and sometimes an address.

Calling CardCalling cards (also called visiting cards) became business cards in the late 1800s. These were used as a memory aid, containing the business’s relevant contact information and given to potential customers.

Websites, as valuable advertising aids for businesses, didn’t come along until the 1980s and 90s. They were like business cards but in digital form. But in all actuality, websites, do not replace business cards. Business cards are still critical to businesses, providing prospects with a snapshot of the information needed to find you — and your website.

Business Card

“A business card legitimizes who you are, conveys the services you offer, and provides a means for customers to remember you after a first meeting while providing contact information.” [1]

I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have asked service providers for their business card — but they didn’t have one. How can that be? The lack of a business card may send a potential repeat customer or even an initial customer, online to find another provider when that service is next needed.

As small business owners, business cards and websites go hand in hand. In short, one of the primary goals of business cards is to send potential clients to your website. That action of going from business card to website heightens the connection we’ve made with the person we’ve given our business card to. [2]Information TipsAfter learning the hard way, here are some tips I found out about designing business cards.

1. Just as too much text is a bad idea in web design, likewise, too much print is not a good idea on a business card. Simplicity reigns! Include who you are, your company, what you do — and your unique selling proposition, and most importantly, how you can be reached.

2. For brick and mortar businesses, addresses are of course essential. For designers, however, addresses may not be that critical. After all, where we create our designs isn’t especially important. I always leave my address off of my card as I don’t meet clients in my home office anyway. (I use Zoom.) If an address feels vital to you, but you don’t want folks coming to your home, consider getting a mailbox from the UPS store. The advantage of this is that you have an address that appears to be an actual street address.

3. On a business card these days, having your email and web address are more important than a physical address or even a phone number. Many people are accustomed to making their first contact through an email ‘after’ checking out a website. They might also check your social media pages. However, including social media on a business card is not necessary. The two most important features are an email address and a website URL. With the omission of either from your business card, you’re likely to miss out on some business.

4. We don’t want our business cards gathering dust because people don’t recall how our particular service differs from another. To be remembered, it’s a good idea to have that distinctive mark of who you are on your business card, i.e., your unique selling proposition. Make sure it’s written in as few words as possible, but that it makes you stand out.

5. Use your logo or another image to represent and identify your particular business. When someone looks at your business card, can they tell something immediately about you or your business? If not, your card may gather dust.

I hope I’ve made a case for the use of both. Don’t procrastinate placing your next order of business cards. If you’re tempted to wait, maybe the words to my crazy song will come to your mind:

The Horizon

Business cards and websites!
Business cards and websites!
They go together like the sun and twilight.
This I tell you, brother,
You can’t have one without the other.

Business cards and websites!
Business cards and websites!
They’re a resource you just can’t minimize. 
Ask the local gentry
And they will say it’s elementary.

Try, try, try to separate them
It’s an illusion
Try, try, try, and you will only come —
To this conclusion

Business cards and websites!
Business cards and websites!
They go together like the sun and twilight.
Dad was told by mother
You can’t have one; you can’t have none
You can’t have one without the other.

Yea, the song is kinda kooky. That’s the point really so that you don’t forget that business cards and websites work in tandem. You’ve got to have both!  🙂

1. Avoid the 11 Most Common Business Card Mistakes
2. 7 Tips on What Information to Put on Your Business Card
3. Paper Business Cards vs. Digital Business Cards – Pros & Cons
4. Love and Marriage Song

Chinese for Aesthetic