Avoid the 10 Most Common
Business Card Blunders

by Patricia Schaefer

Your business card is your calling card. It should be a tool that will get people to remember you and contact your for business. But if your business card is poorly designed, has important contact information in unreadable fonts, or looks unprofessional it will be useless. Be sure your card works hard for you by avoiding these 10 common business card mistakes.

business card mistakes
Image source: BigStockPhoto.com

A business card is one of the most important and cost-effective marketing tools a business has. It helps people remember you after they get home from a meeting, and it gives them a way to contact you in the future. Scanning applications for smart phones let your customers scan your card and transfer your contact to their phone, too. Yet too often, small busineses miss the opportunity to make a great impression with their card. There's a good chance that if the look and quality of your card is shoddy or unprofessional, it may be thrown into the trash.

You don't need to be a professional designer to come up with a good business card. You can make it an effective marketing tool by avoiding these common business card mistakes. 

Blunder #1: Having a Card that Blends in with All the Rest
The great majority of business cards out there leave no real impression and soon become a faint memory. Leave someone with a card that looks great, feels great and clearly defines what your business does -- and you and your card won't soon be forgotten.

There is absolutely no excuse today for an unattractive or unprofessional-looking business card. Use the many software templates and examples of sample business cards that are available online today to help guide your decisions about what should go on your card. Among the many places to look for free business card templates are online printing companies, Avery.com, and Brother Industries (manufacturers of printers among other things), and other sites online.

Blunder #2: Presentation of a Poor-Quality Card
An acquaintance of mine just printed up some "home-made" business cards. She spent five dollars for an Ink Jet business card kit to print 150 business cards. I was very impressed initially with her card: great use of colors, fonts, and the layout was pleasing to the eye. Then I held the card in my hand: it was feather-light and I could feel the perforations around the sides which were already peeling. There was also a fine white line running through the red ink of the company name.

Lesson: Don't skimp on money when it comes to business card. You want to have good stock paper, print that doesn't bleed from a drop of water, an embossed logo, and the card should feel substantial and pleasing to the touch.

A poor quality card implies a business that will have poor quality products and services. Rather than attracting business, this type of card would most likely repel prospective customers.

Blunder #3: Having a "Mystery" Business Card
When someone looks at your business card, can they tell immediately what your business does? If not, you're not likely to get as many calls or referrals.

In addition, your logo should have some connection to what your business does or what you are selling. For example, UPS (United Parcel Service) for 43 years had a logo on their business cards that showed a string-wrapped parcel sitting above the carrier's shield.

Blunder #4: Not Providing a Unique Selling Proposition
Many businesses miss the golden opportunity of utilizing their business card to its full marketing potential. Your card should state at least one very powerful reason a customer should do business with you; i.e., An auto service center's business card I have reads in part, "complete automotive repairs" and "all work fully guaranteed."

Blunder #5: Using an Oversized Card
Common sense dictates the use of the traditional and standard 3.5 by 2-inch business card. Anything bigger will not fit in wallets or most business card holders. Chances are it will end up being filed in the trash bin.

Blunder #6: Print that is too Small
Does your business card have a font size so small that you need to hand out a magnifying glass in order for it to be read? Beware of this practice. You may be able to cram more information onto the card with a small font, but what good is it if people can't read it? Since 95 percent of the population aged 35 or older need reading glasses, a good guideline is to use a type size no smaller than 7-8 point. Your name point can be a little larger; i.e., 9 point, and the company name usually looks good at about 12-15 point.

Blunder #7: A Cluttered Card
An appealing business card does not contain the print content of a novella. Too much print looks busy and terribly unprofessional: Simple is best. Sort out the information and keep only what's totally necessary for someone to know your name, your company, what you do, and why they should use you -- but don't skimp on your contact information; you want to be easy to reach.

Blunder #8: Inadequate or Poor Use of Color
Spice up your business cards with a little splash of color; you'd be surprised what a difference it makes; for example, Just as restaurateurs use the color red for its appetizing quality, the judicious use of red in a business card is very visually appealing. Avoid the common mistake of grey print on a white background; it lacks contrast and the print is difficult to read.

On the flip side, don't make the mistake of color-overload. Too many colors that don't complement one another will make the card look busy and will detract from the content of your card.

Blunder #9: Not including email address and website on your business card. Many people use email instead of making phone calls. And people who want more information about your business often want to learn more without a sales pitch. So they go to your website and read about you there. They also will look there for any social media presence you have listed, and then look at those pages. If your email address and website are missing from your card, you are likely to miss out on some business.

Blunder #10: Cards that don't get Distributed
What good is having a box full of business cards if they're just sitting there collecting dust? It would serve you and your business better to apply the old axiom, "Use it or lose it." What can you lose? Business.

Always have a supply of your cards wherever you go. Give them out when appropriate, and while you're at it, don't hesitate to give out more than one. Invite people to pass the extras along to others who might need your service. You might be surprised at how often this can result in a referral.

Copyright 2016 Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author:
Patricia Schaefer is a staff writer for Business Know-How. She can be reached by email at pschaefer@businessknowhow.com 


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