You don't have to be a Fortune 500 company to have an effective business card that captures attention and inspires someone to want to know more about you and what you offer.
By being aware of these ten common blunders and making sure you avoid them, you'll have a business card that gets noticed and increases your number of referrals and customers.
1. Miniscule print. Have you ever received a card that has a huge graphic taking up half the card and print so small you can't read the phone number? Well, I have. Too many in fact. And after straining my eyes and holding the cards under bright lights, trying to "crack the code," I eventually pitched them into the trash.
Make your name, phone number, web site and address easy to read. Business people are busy and won't spend more than a few seconds trying to decipher your information. Most don't carry magnifying glasses in their back pocket either.
2. No physical address. Perhaps you don't want to give your physical address because you work from home.
Unfortunately, holding back on contact information is harmful and hints that your business is not well established or reputable. Consider getting a post office box or asking a colleague if you may use her business address for your mail. Create a suite number to create an image of professionalism and longstanding.
3. Slick texture. It is often recommended to have a business card that "feels" different from everyone else's so it stands out. The problem that arises with this practice is some of these cards cannot be written on.
Last week at an event, a gentleman gave me his card and struggled to write some additional information onto it because it was made of slippery plastic. He did his best, but by the time I got home, the information was gone.
4. Blank back. The back of your business card is prime real estate. Something that very few people use. Use this valuable space to print a coupon, offer a special report or complementary consult.
Create an offer that inspires action such as, "Present this card for a 25% discount on your first visit." or "Bring this in with you and get a free oil change."
This gives people an added reason to hold onto it.
5. No photo. Placing your picture on your card makes you more memorable and instills a stronger sense of connection. As people look at your card time and again, they begin to feel like they know you and are more apt to get in touch with you.
Imagine collecting 50 to 100 cards at an event then trying to remember who's who. Your picture creates instant recall while others may be quickly forgotten.
6. Incongruence. If you offer a web design service and don't have a web site of your own listed, your card will raise red flags in people's minds. I recall meeting a gentleman who introduced himself as a web designer and gave me his card.
When I asked him why he didn't have his web site listed, he said he didn't have one.
If you want to sell a Ford, drive a Ford. If you want to sell cell phones, have one and make your number available. If you want to sell toll-free service, make sure you have your toll-free number on your card.
You have to walk your talk and demonstrate that you live, eat, breathe and firmly believe that what you offer is of tremendous value to others, starting with yourself.
7. No benefits. A graphic, your name and contact details don't do a whole lot to create a memorable impression, and by the time new contacts get home with your card, they may have forgotten what it is you do.
Create a tagline or something memorable that expresses a benefit and states exactly what business you're in.
For example, a local delivery rep may have "Your important business packages delivered same day or get twice your money back!" That's grabs a person by the eyeballs and makes it very clear what the business does.
8. Not unique. Ninety percent of the cards you collect look the same. After all, how creative can you really get? Well, you'd be surprised ...
- crop a corner or have a stencil cut out
- attach a magnet to the back so it's displayed on a fridge or file cabinet
- include contact details in Braille
- make the back a scratch ticket for a discount
- place a mini map to your location on the back
- make it 3D
- make it look like the product you're selling, i.e. a cell phone
- place it in a protective sleeve
- have a picture of a satisfied client on the front with a testimonial
- if you're a lawn care company, make your card a packet with a few seeds inside
The creative possibilities are endless.
9. Challenging sizes. Although creatively shaped cards and over-sized cards do stand out, they can pose challenges for those who use scanning software to import the cards into electronic storage devices.
And, oversize cards don't make it into the standard business card albums or card holders.
Your card may stand out and stand alone, but it might also become lost or overlooked because it's not stored with others.
10. Home jobs. No matter how hard you try, a home-made business card simply can't compete with professionally printed cards. Perforated and light-weight cards scream "cheap" and "amateur" and will lessen your ability to make an impact.
Professional business cards can be printed inexpensively and go a long way to create an image of professionalism and quality for both you and your business.
Simple, inexpensive changes to your card can make the difference between boom or bust in the number of referrals and new prospects you attract.
Invest in creating an effective, professional card and you will be rewarded many times over.
Copyright 2008 Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source