The look, the feel and the message on a business card helps people determine how they view you and more importantly, if they will even remember you. When you leave a conversation and the other party has your business card, your identity is that piece of paper.
At a recent networking event, I did an experiment. We each stapled our business card to an A4 sheet of paper and passed it to the next table. Everyone at each table then wrote anonymous comments on what they thought of each business card. The A4 sheets were then returned to their owners.
People were shocked by some of the comments as they assumed nothing was wrong with their card. I’ve summarised the results of this exercise by grouping the comments into four categories:
What do they do?
This was by far the most common comment. So often people assume that everyone instinctively knows what they do, just by reading their business name or job title. ‘Business Trainer’ doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Don’t leave yourself open to misunderstandings. Make it explicit. List your services and what makes you different from everyone else. If space is an issue use the reverse of your business card.
Is this a real business?
Granny tried. She did. She taught you to ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Well, guess what? Everybody does. Your business card is no different. If it looks cheap, flimsy or poorly printed, people will assume that your business is just starting up or just run on a temporary basis. Potential customers will be frightened off if they don’t think the business is sound. The inference being, if no money has been invested in the business then it can’t be a going concern.
I once heard of an electrical contractor who was chuffed with his business cards which he’d got online and had ‘Printed for free’Â on the back. You know the ones. He tendered for a shopping centre contract and got laughed out of their offices “come back when you’ve got some proper business card” he was told. Truth.
Don’t like the colour, typeface etc…
Poor design can make business cards unreadable and unappealing. Business cards that people remember are well designed and have had careful attention paid to the choice of colour, typeface, proximity and alignment.
Colours have meaning, e.g. red = danger, so choose them wisely and if you’re using more than one make sure they complement each other.
There’s a huge variety of typefaces out there â?? each with a different voice. Choose one that best represents who you are and make sure it’s easy to read.
A professional designer at your local printing.com store can advise on colour, typeface and explain the importance of proximity and alignment.
Is the business as boring as the card?
If your business card doesn’t stand out in a pile filled with other cards, then the chances are people won’t remember you by looking at your business card. Your card needs to be unique and sell you and your business. So, for example, add colour, photographs, shape the card or put a hole in it!
The design of your business card may not be the top priority for your business. As it’s something that can so easily be fixed by printing.com, why not make sure you get a card that works for your business as hard as you do?
TELL TALE SIGNS YOU’RE FAKING IT…
Free email addresses, e.g. yahoo or hotmail accounts. Your own website domain name and corresponding email address adds enormous credibility to any business.
No postal address. If potential customers know you have a trading address, it builds confidence. These days, people don’t mind if it’s residential. If you don’t want to be restricted geographically just say so on the card!
No landline telephone number.
If you’ve only given a mobile number it gives the impression that this is not your sole occupation â?? are you taking calls while doing another job? Think about renting a freephone number and diverting it to your mobile.
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