Do you feel confident on how to use business cards at a trade show? If the answer is no; you are not alone. Many people are looking for ways to use business cards more effectively while at a Trade Show.

It’s a great intention. When you hand over your business card at a trade show, you want it to evoke the right response. Here are key Do’s and Don’ts for how to use business cards at trade shows well.

Do’s of Business Card

  • First of all make sure you take way more than you think you’ll need to a trade show. One of the biggest sins you can commit is running out of business cards at a show.
  • Make sure it’s readable.
    Creativity is great, but when it’s no longer readable, that’s an issue. It’s most important that the info can be read.
  • Have multiple ways people can reach you.
    Include a variety of ways to be contacted, like your email, phone number and social media handles (if/as is relevant).
  • Ensure there are no typos.
    Have a second set of eyes go over the business card, too. Typos are very unprofessional, no matter what field you’re in.
  • Use business cards to remember people.
    When you get someone else’s business card, write notes on it after. This will help at the end of a big event, especially when there have been many new connections. Perhaps note:

    • What their business is and why they were interested in your offering.
    • Other non-business things you talked about. (Did they reference having family in the area? That they were excited to try a restaurant after the trade show?) These are great, personalized details to include in post-trade show follow-ups.

Don’ts of Business Cards

  • Do not use super glossy coating.
    Although this type of business card coating may be visually appealing, remember the point from above: Business cards are great for note writing. That glossy coverage will make it hard for anyone getting yours to make notes.
  • Do not hand out business cards too early in a conversation.
    Let the conversation naturally ebb and flow. Wait until they ask for your business card or, as the conversation is ending and feels right, you can either:

    • Ask for their business card. (They may then ask for yours in return.)
    • Offer yours.
  • Do not use random images.
    It’s great to have visuals that showcase your brand and purpose; it’s not helpful to have random ones, like a soaring bird - when that’s not part of your branding.
  • Do not put a phone number on the card unless you actively use it.
    Is this the number for an office that you’re rarely in? If so, don’t include it. It’s better to put fewer ways of being contacted that will actually work for reaching you.
  • Do not overcrowd your business card.
    Include key information, but not every detail of your business. With your email and website on there, they will be able to follow up on the smaller details.

Our Advice for Additional Trade Show Success

The details really do count, both in trade show material (like business cards) and other trade show strategies. If your company wants to make sure their trade show staff nails all the details, which get the leads, have they considered hiring a trade show entertainer?