It’s gotten way too confusing to order business cards online. How do you choose a business card printer when there seem to be millions of them competing for your business?
Shopping for business card printing online is like shopping for any other product – your goal is to find what you what, for a reasonable price, from a reputable dealer. The problem when buying business cards online is making sure you’re comparing apples to apples, as the saying goes.
Finding the Business Cards You Want
Your first task is to find an online business card printer who carries the type of business card you want. Most online business card printers offer full-color business cards in a standard size (3″ by 2.5″), so a simple search for “business cards” or “business card printing” will find those.
You will need to decide whether to use custom artwork for your business card or one of the pre-designed backgrounds or templates offered by many business card printers. Again, many online business card printers allow you to order business cards either way.
Don’t be put off by the idea of using backgrounds that are available to everyone else; odds are slim that any of your direct competitors will find and use the same background. And these are professionally done designs that flat-out make you look good to prospects. (Much better than a homemade business card!)
If you need different cards, such as die-cut business cards or embossed (raised print) business cards, those are also easy to find using your favorite search engine. Many business card printers offer more than one type of card – raised print, one-color or full-color, for example. Some even offer magnetic cards, sticker cards and more.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’re looking for full color business cards.
Paying a Reasonable Price for Business Cards
Business cards are the bargain buy of the marketing world, but comparison-shopping for business cards can be a nightmare. It’s not enough to compare style and price of business cards between printers (say, 1000 full-color cards, printed on one side – 4/0).
Besides the style and price, you also should compare:
the thickness of the card stock (a 14pt card is sturdier than a 10pt card);
whether or not a protective coating is included in the price (and which type – a card can be “glossy” without having the protection of UV coating, and UV coating is generally considered more desirable than aqueous coating);
whether or not there are extra charges, such as a fee to upload your own images;
how many (or how few) business cards you can order at a time;
shipping costs; and, last but not least;
the reputation of the business card printing company.
Finding a Reputable Business Card Printer
Online business card printers who’ve made it to the top of the search engines, and stayed there, are generally okay – but not necessarily.
In fact, one popular, high-ranking business card printer online has such a pattern of complaints that they’ve received an “Unsatisfactory” rating from the Better Business Bureau. (This company’s cards are also of substandard size, although it’s hard to tell unless you directly compare them with another business card.)
So one guideline is to look for a designation such as Better Business Bureau approval or Bizrate certification. If a company has won such a designation, they’ll probably mention it somewhere on their website. Testimonials are another clue – but it isn’t hard to find a dozen happy people out of thousands of customers, so read them with a grain of salt.
Another way to assess a business card printer is to request samples of their business cards – not only will you get to examine actual cards, but you’ll get a feel for their customer service as well.
One Last Complication
Did you know that many, if not most, of the business card printers on the web are dealers for two or three huge wholesale business card printing companies? That’s right – you spend all that time shopping for the right business card printer and you probably don’t realize you’re comparing identical cards.
(You usually can’t tell until you reach the section of the website where you actually choose and edit a business card template or background – the URL will change.)
Now there’s nothing wrong with these online business card dealers, many of whom add value by educating people about business cards, just as I do, and nothing wrong with the business cards. But knowing that many business card printers online offer the exact same cards should save you some comparison time!
Given the affordability, portability and versatility of business cards, it is certainly worth taking time to shop around for the right business card printer for your business. And now that you understand some of the differences, you’ll make a more informed decision when you next go looking for a business card printer on the Internet.