Your business card is your identity in a small format. Because it is typically the first introduction a client has with your company, it is vitally important to have a card that puts across the right message.
Your business card will of course have your company logo, your name, your title (if you want to include it) and your contact information; however, it is often advisable (especially if the company name does not obviously describe what you do or sell) to add a message to help convey what your business is.
Business cards come in many different formats: regular glossy card, UV coated with high shine lamination, satin matte finish, silk lamination, plastic cards, and of course the older style (which lawyers, accountants and doctors tend to use) linen or crest type card stock.
The latter often are finished with thermography (raised lettering) and are typically one or two colors and may be enhanced by embossing or foil stamping a logo. These processes do involve a lot more work than the new quick four color business cards produced at a fraction of the price.
As they are a really cheap marketing tool if you wear different hats in your organization, it is often advisable to print different cards to describe your different functions.
It should always be your goal, when designing the layout and picking the paper finish, to give your card a look and feel that will stand out long after your meeting is finished.
Different businesses dictate different items on cards. Realtors will typically put a head shot of themselves on a card; and medical and legal professionals will often include their qualifications behind their names.
If you have more information than the standard name, title, contact information to put on your card, use the back for product listings or more information. Some business card printers do not charge extra for printing on the back side - even in color. Or you might consider a folded business card which gives you twice the space of a standard business card.
Hopefully you already have a business card, but if you don't you should definitely design one. Business cards are something that we take for granted when we shouldn't. The look, feel, and message on a card help people determine how they view you and more importantly, how they will remember you.
When you leave a conversation and the other party has your business card, your identity is that piece of paper. Because of this representation, your business card should not only state who you work for, your contact information, and what you do, but it should also state something about you. Not in a written sense, but more so on the overall image it creates about you.
Before you hand your business card to someone else, you need to make sure your card has the information it should but also truly says something about you. This will help them remember you and at the very least stay in touch once in a while.