Business Cards For Trade Shows

Business cards are no longer something you design once, print thousands and use for several years before ordering new ones. Nowadays, with digital printing allowing for shorter print runs, we can design business cards for specific events. Planning ahead for a trade show or convention? Include a new card to use for the duration of the event among your promotional materials. Have it printed as a short run of perhaps 500 cards and give them all out on the day or use any leftovers for your follow-up mailers.

So why would you want to design a separate business card for a trade show? Wouldn't your regular cards be good enough?

Of course you could use your regular cards, but you'd be missing an opportunity here to tailor your cards to the very specific target market of that particular trade show. You may have a special promotion for the duration of the show, you may have a specific message and tag line that you are using just for the show. For a totally integrated marketing strategy it makes sense to reflect all this in the business cards you are handing out on the day. That card may be the only thing that new contacts take home with them to remind them of your conversation and of your product. So make it very specific to the occasion.

So what elements should you consider when designing a card specifically for a trade show?

Keep sight of your overall branding. You don't need to change everything about your card design; it should still reflect your business brand in style.

Do use your tag line or message developed for your show marketing materials. A snappy message displayed on your banners and promotional materials should also appear on your card to tie it all together.

Make space to feature a special promotion or activity that you are presenting at the show. Use part of the reverse of the card for this, so the front design can still be clean and uncluttered.

Do leave enough white space on your card for people to write notes on. At busy events they may be collecting hundreds of cards and their own hand-written notes may be the only thing that will jog their memory later on and remind them that they wanted to follow up with you.

Don't forget about the long term however - the card may well be kept long after the show is over, so your url should link to your main website, not just to a temporary web page set up for the show.

Take along a supply of your regular business cards to the trade show too. Who knows, you may need even more than your short run of trade show cards; or you may want to give out one of each card to a particularly good prospect, so that they can see both your current trade show promotion and your long term business card style.

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