How often are you complimented on your business card? Is the feedback from your clients usually positive? A great business card can make a huge lasting first impression while still being one of the most cost-effective mediums to do so.
We know that a business card is a given in any business relationship – even in today’s digital age. So why are there so many bad ones out there? Why do so many companies tend to drop the ball on such a key piece of branding identity? You’ve probably seen some of these bad boys handed out around town, maybe even by yourself at one point:
1. The Ink Jet Card
Just because there are do-it-yourself kits out there with ready-to-print templates and perforated edges for easy use doesn’t make it a good idea. As comedian Chris Rock says “you could drive a car with your feet if you want to, but that don’t mean it’s to be done.” Any self-respecting business owner should know that you don’t skimp on printing. A poorly printed business card, or one that’s printed on a piece of razor-thin card stock with peeling edges, is a sure-fire way to ensure that your card makes a one-way trip to the landfill. Give your clients and prospects some credit. We can all spot the fake.
2: The El Grande
Who doesn’t want to hand out a business card that stands out from the rest? Unfortunately some businesses take this a little too literally by creating a business card that is slightly bigger than the norm. Cards larger than the traditional 3.5 by 2 inches may not fit in the prospective client’s wallet or business card holder. It’s hard to stick with your prospect if they’ve got nowhere to stick ya.
3. The Life Story Card
Your business card is your quick and easy way for your clients to find you. I’ve never understood why people feel the need to put the whole company history, 12 phone numbers, 8 email addresses and their blood type on a business card.
Not only does a busy card look unprofessional, it makes you look desperate. A good solution is to stick to the basics. Have your name, job title, business name and logo, and most accessible contact information on the card. If you wish to leave a short list of services or products with the client, use the back of the card. Your business card can’t sell you. That’s a job you have to do yourself.
4. The Mystery Card
The inverse effect of having a busy card with way too much information is having one with none at all. Believe it or not there are still business cards floating around out there today that don’t have names on them. They’ll say something like “Plumbing sprung a leak? Call 555-5555”. How shady can you get? They leave no indication of who the client should be talking to. It’s best to identify yourself by leaving your name, work phone, cell phone (if you wish), and email address. If you still do a lot of business via fax then adding a fax number may be a viable option. If the only faxes you’ve received in the last year are for frequent flyer savings to Cancun, then it’s probably not necessary. An email address will surely suffice.
Even in this digital age the lasting impression of your personal brand can often come down to a handy business card. It’s a great way to show your personality and style. Business cards are becoming an almost underrated means of keeping contacts, but they continue to stand the test of time so make sure that what you’re handing out is leaving the best impression possible.