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Misuse of Business Cards

It seems amazing to me how poorly designed many business cards are. No email addresses, no physical addresses, and no idea of what service or product is being offered.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts I would like to share. (Understand that these are my opinions, so there is certainly a lot of room for discussion).

To begin, I think the most important concept of creating a business card is to KEEP THE RECIPIENT IN MIND! You may be very impressed and excited about the look and feel of your business card, and that’s wonderful. Just bear in mind that, in most cases, the recipient couldn’t care less. All they want is your information, and they want it to be easy:

1) EMAIL ADDRESS: Email is now the most common form of contact, so every card should have an email address. Personally, if I receive a card without an email address, I generally won’t try to make any sort of contact unless, of course, it’s from a potential client.

2) PHYSICAL ADDRESS: It’s understandable that small business owners who work out of their home may not want to publish their home address. However, every business card should have a mailing address for contact – even if just a post office box. Unless I know the person, I tend to be suspicious of people who seem to avoid letting me know how I can reach them.

3) PROFESSIONAL PRINTING: The last image you want to portray is that you are an amateur! How do you feel about a business that gives out cards that are dirty, ugly or printed on perforated paper with spelling errors? Although most word processing programs make it easy to create business cards, and business card stock is available at most office supply stores, it doesn’t mean you should print them out on your home printer. Using these tools to create some ideas to share with a printer is great, but the difference in quality is usually very noticeable. A professional printer might also be able to help you avoid common mistakes. Interestingly, it’s often less expensive to have cards printed in volumes of 500-1000 cards than it is to print them yourself.

4) WHAT DO YOU DO? If the name of your business makes it clear about the product or service you offer, then there’s no problem. If it’s not obvious, then try to include a clear statement about the service you offer. For instance, in our situation, “Daybreak Virtual Office” can mean anything from renting temporary office space to office related software; neither of which is what we do. For clarification, we add “Off-Site Office Support” and “Virtual Personal Assistants” to the card so the recipient will at least have a clue.

5) TAGLINE: Is there a tagline that will help people remember your product or service? If there is, be sure to include it on the business card. For instance, we use “The Office Redefined” as our tagline to help people remember what we do.

6) GLOSSY CARDS: When sharing business cards, especially at a live networking event, it’s very helpful to write notes on the back of a card. This way a potential client can be taking some notes about your conversation. This is virtually impossible with glossy cards.

7) USE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CARD? There are mixed opinions about this. On the one hand, that other side is valuable real estate to add more information about your product or service. On the other hand, you are taking away space that a prospective client could use to write some notes about you to consider later. You have to make that decision.

8) FANCY GRAPHICS & FONTS: It’s becoming very popular to scan business card so they can be imported directly into contact managers. Unfortunately, most scanners cannot interpret fancy graphics or fonts, which means the person has to make a lot of manual corrections. If you want someone to have your information available (and that’s generally why we all hand out business cards), minimize the graphics and fonts to make it easy for the recipient to save your information.

This is obviously a very quick, basic overview; mostly representing my own pet peeves. There is a lot of information about how to create successful business cards on the internet.

I hope you found this information to be informative. If you have other thoughts or if you disagree, leave a comment and we can start a conversation to see what works and what doesn’t.

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming events.

Jeff Mehl