Your business card is one of the most important marketing tools you’ll ever create. You give your business card to prospects and customers so they have your contact information. You tuck your business card inside of presentation folders, drop it in letters, and use it in a myriad of other ways to let people know who you are and what you do.

But, no matter how you use your business card, it won’t be the marketing workhourse it should be unless it looks professional, it is easy to read, and helps customers and prospects remember what you sell and why they should buy from you.

making all that happen on a document that is only 3-1/2″ wide and 2″ tall can be hard, but it can be done. Here are several suggestions to keep in mind before you design or redesign your business card.

Use a logo. Have a professional designer create your logo and make sure it is scalable for use on business cards, letterhead, brochures and your website.

Develop a one-line slogan. If what you do isn’t apparent from your business name, create a one-line slogan that will help people remember what you sell and include it on your business card.

Include your website address and/or email address. Customers and prospects will want to know your website address and your e-mail address.

Make your card readable. Use (or insist your designer uses) font sizes that are big enough to be easily readable without a magnifying glass. be sure the type color stands out against the background of the card, too. Remember, your goal isn’t to produce a work of art, it’s to produce a business card that clearly communicates what you do and how to reach you. If recipients can’t read the contact information you’ll lose sales.

Make your card stand out from the rest of the pack. Yes, your card may wind up stuffed in a desk drawer with a stack of other business cards. Make it stand out from the rest by using bright colors, including your photo or using high gloss card stock.

Have your business cards printed on good card-stock. If you card feels flimsy or looks like you printed it yourself on a cheap printer, it will leave people with the impression that they are dealing with a company that does not feel it is important to create a professional image and invest in their business.

Having your business card professionally typeset and printed will make a much better impression on your potential client and does not need to cost you an arm and a leg.