Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Small things make a big impact, and nowhere is this more true than when we are discussing attorney and law firm business cards. From graphic design to layout and even paper stock, many lawyers take a lot of time thinking about their business cards and how they will look to the people who receive them. Although this is a good place to start, a great business card is more than just paper and words. A business card needs to be seen as a business-building device. I recently reviewed 60+ business cards from lawyers in Colorado with the specific purpose of finding out who was really nailing this concept and who was not. My findings showed that the best business cards shared vital information, showed unforgettable branding, and incorporated a creative use of the business card as a marketing tool.
Business Cards as a Tool for Sharing Vital Law Firm Information
The first thing I must stress is that a card without the correct information is worse than no card at all. It does not matter how much time, money, or effort you have put into design and printing if there is no clear way for potential clients to contact you. Here are the most crucial pieces of information that I saw on my business card survey:
Law firm name
Position at law firm
Phone (mobile, toll-free, and fax if applicable)
Practice areas or legal services provided
Other pieces of information you could incorporate include items such as:
Multiple offices or locations and driving directions
Social media handles
Languages you speak
Whether you are an author, expert, or consultant in addition to being an attorney
Established year of law firm (i.e. “serving clients since 1997”)
Whether you serve clients in different industries (list industries)
Two sentence biography
How to hire you
Of course, including all of this information on a tiny 2x3 inch card would be an overwhelming task for anyone.
The goal is to create an idea of the types of people who will receive your law firm’s business card and ensure that the information they would most engage with is included. For example, if you are primarily in estate planning, including your Instagram account handle might be wasting your space, but including bullet points to provide an overview of your services might help your potential clients feel comfortable trusting you with their business.
Using Attorney Business Cards as a “Snapshot” Marketing Space
Think of your business card as a physical “snapshot” of your brand. It is like a 30-second commercial that potential clients and colleagues can hold in their hand and keep on their desk to refer to later. So what is your commercial saying? Is it engaging? Does it reflect who you are and what you can do as a lawyer that is different or relevant to a person needing legal services?
The business cards that really work are the ones that reflect the audience of exactly who they will be going to and how an attorney can support that person’s potential legal needs.
Think about it: many different types of people will see the law firm business card you share, from potential clients to potential employees to referral sources. Your business card needs to do more than simply share contact information. It needs to cut through the marketing static and provide a clear, lasting image about your personality and brand.
Attorneys who really understand this work in a couple of core marketing concepts on their cards:
Tagline, marketing message, or motto. Create a short, simple, and memorable phrase that defines what you do and how you help a person needing your specific services. A pneumatic phrase or acronym goes a long way to helping someone remember these key marketing messages.
Call to action. This is a direct phrase that explains exactly what a person should do in order to hire you (i.e. “When you are ready to make a clean break, call Scott Klene, divorce attorney.”). This will give them a clear direction to contact you and make the first steps towards using your services.
QR code. Especially if you are working with a technology-friendly group of potential clients, this is a great way to maximize space and literally put marketing information right on your card.
Creative Graphic Design and Presentation for Unforgettable Lawyers
This is the area where attorneys often are not quite sure whether to make a bold decision. After reviewing 60+ legal business cards, I can honestly say that a creative, unique graphic design and presentation style is incredibly effective at setting a Colorado law firm apart from competitors.
Some of the areas a firm can customize include:
Color to set off different text
Embossing or debossing
Vertical or horizontal layout
Paper shape (rounded corners or square versus a standard rectangle)
It is important to note that not all customization choices are right for all firms. The key to creative uses of paper, font, size, and shape all stem from that big-picture impression that you want to leave with your target audience.
General design tips: Choose a simple, elegant style with a simple color scheme and streamlined look. You can play with graphic elements, but keep them sleek and understated. The goal is to make you look competent, professional, and reliable. Choose a paper stock that is heavier, matte, or embossed for one or two key elements.
Bolder design tips: Choose something that differentiates you from your competitors. One of my favorites was a serrated, two-part business card for a divorce attorney with complete contact information on both halves. Or, for contract law, I have seen a unique business card that uses the space to present a mock contract that incorporates valuable contact information, mini-bio, and call to action.
Artistic design tips: This might be helpful for lawyers that work in unique spaces such as technology, copyright law, or with specific kinds of clients (artists, musicians, etc.). Use shape and size to your advantage, and incorporate technological or artistic elements. The more creative your clientele, the more creative they will demand you to be, so do not hold back.
The goal of a law firm business card is to do more than just share vital information, although that is the first and foremost goal. Instead, consider your business card as a small bit of marketing that potential clients and referral sources will choose to keep or toss based on its usefulness.
If you think of it in that light, you will realize that there might be better, more engaging way to share your brand “snapshot” through your business card.
Meranda M. Vieyra
Meranda M. Vieyra is the owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. She is one of the most visible legal professionals in Colorado law with over 20 years of service in the Denver legal community. Her award-winning marketing firm has earned a strong reputation as the go-to for impactful, cost-effective legal marketing strategies. She has helped her clients secure coverage by well-known publications and has obtained local, national, and international awards on their behalf. Meranda enjoys working with solo practitioners and small law firms helping them attract recognition, promotion, and visibility to their practices. She also advises medium-sized and national law firms on business development and marketing strategy. Meranda is a lecturer and author on issues related to marketing including how lawyers can use LinkedIn effectively, how to develop a personal brand, and the promotion of legal services through community service. In 2018, she was honored to be named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Denver Business Journal and to be given the 10 Under 10 Award by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni Association (top 10 alum of the decade). In 2019, Meranda was named in the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce and in the Top 100 young professionals in Colorado through the Gen XYZ Awards published by ColoradoBiz Magazine.
For more information, go to www.DenverLegalMarketing.com