Business Card and Brochure Checklist

by Debbie Allen

Are Your Business Cards Hurting or Helping You? Very few business cards or marketing materials have an effective message that describes the business clearly. If a prospective customer views the business image as unprofessional or confusing they will simply walk away. Use this checklist to rate and improve your marketing materials.

If You Want More Business – Improve Your Image
While presenting marketing seminars to thousands of business owners, managers and sales people, I discovered that most had a poorly marketed business image, starting with their business cards.

After leaving my presentations I would pull out the attendees' business cards to learn more about what their business was all about. What I discovered was shocking. Many presented a poor and unprofessional image of the business at first glance. Very few business cards or marketing materials had an effective message that described the business clearly. Most lacked a strong visual logo that defined the business and had no branded image or catch praise that set them apart from their competition.

With this newfound discovery, I began to ask members of the audience to stay after the presentation to receive a free business card evaluation. This intrigued attendees, and many waited for up to an hour to have a chance to talk in person and to get feedback on how to improve.

Another discovery! Many owners and managers are so close to their businesses that they don't see the most obvious mistakes. The reason for this is that they don't look at their business through their customers' eyes. They view it from a very narrow focus, their own eyesight. This can be disastrous for a company's image.

Just as people judge individuals at first glance, so they judge a business image the same way. If a prospective customer views the business image as unprofessional or confusing they will simply walk away. That prospective customer will be lost to a competitor that does a better job at marketing their company's image, brand and uniqueness.

The goal of an organization should be to create a strong, immediate message that clearly defines their business. The message must connect an emotional bond with their customers both verbally and visually. This same image and message must be coherent on all marketing materials ranging from a company's business card, through advertising, packaging and signage to its website.



25 Ways To Boost Your Business Image
Once companies recognize the need, it can be easy to make the changes needed to update and improve their professional image. The solution is often a small investment in a graphic artist and a marketing consultant. The following tips will also help.

  1. Start to see your business through your customers' eyes.
  2. Keep a strong focus on your customer base.
  3. Create a unique brand identity, logo and image that are recognizable.
  4. Choose your overall image and remain consistent throughout.
  5. Create unique marketing that sets you apart from the rest of the world.
  6. Develop a strong visual and verbal brand that clearly defines your business.
  7. Pay attention to details and present your best image at all times.
  8. Improve and update all marketing materials.
  9. Create marketing materials that connect with customers emotionally.
  10. Use the back of business cards for additional information and/or tips.
  11. Ask customers for testimonials and use them in your marketing.
  12. Use professional signage and graphics to best represent your image.
  13. Update and/or remodel your location a minimum every seven years.
  14. Hire professionals who can bring out the best in all areas.
  15. Be organized so you don't become overwhelmed.
  16. Improve your listening and telephone skills.
  17. Display products professionally and make them visually exciting.
  18. Embrace the latest technology and take it to the next level.
  19. Become known as the expert by writing articles for publications.
  20. Develop great follow up and follow through in everything you do.
  21. Stay ahead of your industry by becoming a life long learner.
  22. Stay confident and aware but don't worry about the competition.
  23. Don't take things too seriously or too personally.
  24. Continue to be aware and improve your professional image everyday.
  25. Network like a pro and support your local communities.

Where do I start?
A great place to start is to take a close look at your business card as if you were a prospective customer. First compare it with the list of top 10 mistakes below, then take the ranking test.

10 Common Business Card Mistakes

  1. Scrambles messages with inconsistent design elements.
  2. Does not clearly define your business services and/or products.
  3. Does not make you memorable (in a good way).
  4. Indicates unflattering things about your business.
  5. Does not generate additional business.
  6. Creates a cluttered impression.
  7. Omits essential information, or is filled with non-essential information.
  8. Looks out of date, or information no longer applies.
  9. Is hard to read or confusing to the eye.
  10. Lacks a point of interest, image or theme.

Is your card guilty of any of these?

How Does You Card Rank?
Take the following test to see how well your card ranks.

Presents a positive, interesting and professional image
__yes __no

Features an attention grabbing and professionally designed logo that is unique to your business
__yes __no

The logo 'visually' defines what you sell at a glance
__yes __no

Benefits and features are described in branded catch praise
__yes __no

Typeface and text size is easy to read
__yes __no

No more than two typefaces are used in the design
__yes __no

Good use of color to present the image of your business
__yes __no

Color design is consistent with other marketing materials
__yes __no

E-mail and website address are featured
__yes __no

Card has been updated and improved within the past year
__yes __no

Back of card is used for additional information
__yes __no

Features all services you offer to your customers
__yes __no

Each staff member has his or her own personalized business cards
__yes __no

You act upon every opportunity to present your business card
__yes __no

You receive comments from others such as, "What a great card!"
__yes __no

Others often ask more about the business after viewing your card
__yes __no

Count all the ‘yes’ answers above, and then see how your card ranks below:

16 to 13 ‘yes’ answers. You have a professional and effective card.  You should be proud to present it!

12 to 9 ‘yes’ answers: Your business card needs some work.
Redesign your card for effectiveness.

8 or less ‘yes’ answers. Get to work! Start out by re-evaluating and completely re-designing your business card for effectiveness and increased business.


Debbie Allen is an international professional speaker, business consultant and author of Confessions of Shameless series of books. As a marketing and retail business expert, Debbie has presented to thousands from around the world. For more information or to sign up for Debbie’s free newsletter, visit her web site at at www.DebbieAllen.com.

 
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